Photo: Martina Huber / Regeringskansliet
Max Martin, one of the world’s most successful producers and songwriters, was awarded the Swedish Government’s 2014 Music Export Prize at a ceremony on 19 March.
You are bound to have heard Britney Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time’, Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’ or Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it off’ – but what do all these mega hits have in common? Max Martin is the songwriter behind them all. All told, he has had 19 US Billboard number one hits; only The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon have had more (32 and 26 respectively).
When Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Mikael Damberg, introduced the winner and read the nomination at the prize ceremony, he was effusive in his praise.
– “For over 15 years, this pop music genius has given the world songs, tunes and productions that have topped every possible chart around the world. He has an exceptional feeling and creativity for harmonies and detail that makes every superstar today want to work with him,” says Mr Damberg.
When the media-shy prize winner who rarely makes public statements stepped on stage to accept the Swedish Music Export Prize, Håkan Hjort from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs managed to get him to say a little more about his future plans:
– “I would like to bring new young talent into the music industry. One good way is to make sure that young people feel that it’s doable, that it’s possible, that it won’t take an eternity to get their music out there. And there should be more girls on the technical side, not just singers and artists. We think this is important and we’ll try to promote it,” said Max Martin.
The prize winner was also awarded this year’s Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music. This is the first time a winner of the Music Export Prize has also won the Special Prize.
This year’s Commendation for achievements of particular importance went to Spotify. The citation read: “Its service has initiated a trend that has spread around the entire world and provides hope to an industry that has been in crisis for many years. All eyes are now on Sweden, which, thanks to this music service, has become a bellwether for the global music industry.”