It’s interesting to explore how a country with a total population of 10 million has become the third largest exporter of music in the world, just behind the US and UK, and has won two times Eurovision in the last 5 years. This Nordic country feels real passion for music and, despite piracy and the economic recession of the last decade, the Swedish music industry has an unstoppable projection. There’s not any specific reason for this miracle, but what is clear is that Swedish people have a special, privileged and innate vision about music.
Even we cannot highlight the reason of why Sweden has become a real referent in the music industry, we can look back and try to find the moment in which this phenomenon started. In 1974, ABBA wins the Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo”. For the first time, the contest was won by a group that was not singing in its mother language. This song became number one in more than 15 and opened the doors of the Swedish music to the rest of the world. ABBA created its own industry around them, and brought an important income to the Swedish music industry, letting it grow and expand.
This was the start, but Sweden has continued growing its music industry with the help of the government, which decided to invest years ago in the creation of music schools and supported making music a compulsory activity in all levels of education. Apart from that, more than 600.000 people around the country sing in chores and the most watched programs on TV are music events as the traditional Melodifestivalen.
This education is probably the reason why Sweden is the cradle of the most important music producers of the whole world as Max Martin or Red One and several DJ’s as Avicii or Swedish House Mafia. On average, every 5 minutes you listen to a song that has been produced, wrote or sing by a Swedish artist. These numbers are also possible because of two important factors: the dark and cold climate of Sweden and the perfect English of its inhabitants.
Artists like Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande or Justin Timberlake have peaked the list of the whole world with Swedish produced tracks. And these tracks are listened every day in Spotify, the largest music streaming service in the world, based also on Stockholm, Sweden. This country anticipated the change in the music industry, something that allowed them to become pioneers in the launching of streaming music services, the main tool used nowadays to listen to music around the world.
There is no doubt that Sweden has given big names to the music universe, and has shown the world that not only US or UK have something to say in today’s music industry. Artist as ABBA, Roxette or the more recent Zara Larsson or Icona Pop managed to put Sweden back in the map, and, with the help of other cultural, political and social factors, have made from music the main business of the country.