Starting with ABBA’s heyday in the 70’s, Sweden has successively grown into a global music powerhouse. The country was until recently the world’s third biggest music exporter capita, trailing only the UK and US.
Although “the Swedish music miracle” produces many world-famous artists and bands – like Mando Diao, José Gonzalez and The Hives -, the biggest success stems from a group of producers and dj’s.
Chief among them is Max Martin, who, for more than two decades, has been churning out hit songs for artists like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry.
Martin has also shared his success. Among his globally renown protegés are Johan “Shellback” Schuster, Rami Yacoub and Ali Payami – all featuring among Sweden’s ten best-earning people in the music industry.
On an otherwise male-dominated top 20 list for the best-earning artists in 2016, there are two female artists: Tove Lo on 13th spot and Zara Larsson on 15th.
Max Martin, a living legend in the pop industrty, made 172 million Swedish krona ($20 million)
Known for hit songs such as Britney Spears’ ”Baby one more time”, Max Martin, whose real name is Martin Sandberg, is behind a whopping 22 no. 1’s at Billboard Hot 100, trailing only John Lennon (32) and Paul McCartney (26).
The star producer and songwriter also knows how to employ his wealth: Martin owns homes in Stockholm, Los Angeles and Chamonix, in addition to rocking a fleet of luxury cars consisting of vehicles by Tesla, Ferrari and Lexus.
Johan Schuster, aka ”Shellback”, is a Grammy-award winning protegé of Max Martin: 82 million ($10 m)
Together with Max Martin, Johan Schuster, 33, has written songs for most of today’s hottest artists including Adele, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift.
The four-time Grammy awardee has also collaborated with Benny Blanco for “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon5 and “She doesn’t mind” by Sean Paul.
Rami Yacoub went from Stockholm’s suburbs to the world stage: 57 million ($6,75 m)
Rami Yacoub has written songs for world-famous artists including Céline Dion and Backstreet Boys. Yacoub, 43, has worked extensively with Max Martin, with great success: The duo’s first collaboration resulted in Britney Spears’ global hit song ‘Baby One More Time’.
Alesso, a 26-year old star DJ, netted 53 million krona ($6,25 m)
Madonna has called the Swedish star dj “the next big thing in dance music”.
Håkan Hellström, one of Sweden’s most popular artists: 50 million ($6 m)
Hellström’s catchy tunes and characteristic voice has won him almost every prize imaginable in Swedish music.
The 44-year old is also one of Sweden’s most popular concert artists during the summer. He holds the crowd record – 70,000 people – for Ullevi sports arena in his native Gothenburg.
The late DJ and producer Avicii: 46 million ($5,5 m)
Avicii tragically passed away last week, aged only 28.
The world-famous dj took the world by storm with his first global hit “Levels”. When Inc. listed Europe’s fastest growing companies of 2015, Avicii’s holding company ranked first.
Decades after Abba, Benny Andersson is still earning millions: 32 million ($3,75 m)
Benny Andersson, a former member of legendary band ABBA, is the godfather of Swedish music exports. The 70-year old currently heads up his band “Benny Andersson’s orchestra.”
Peter Svensson is a songwriter and lead guitarist of ‘The Cardigans’: 24 million ($2,85 m)
Peter Svensson, 42, has written and produced most of The Cardigans’ songs.
Ali Payami’s first Billboard no.1 was Weeknd’s hit song: 22 million ($2,6 m)
A protégé of Max Martin, 34-year old Payami has worked with many of today’s hottest artists, including Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry.
The Malmö-native dj and producer earned his first Billboard no. 1 with The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”.
So why is Sweden so good at producing music that the world loves?
According to a report by Swedish Institute’s collection of resources sharingsweden.se, among the biggest explanations are independence of artists, the ABBA effect and the prevalence of municipal music schools.
The Atlantic has also delved into “The Swedish Music Miracle”, finding clues in English proficiency, strong role models and government support.
Here is the rest of the Top 20 best-earning artists in Sweden for 2016.
10. Ludvig Söderberg and Jakob Jerlström, songwriters: 14 million ($1,65 m)
11. Patrik Berger, music producer and songwriter: 14 million ($1,65 m)
12. Axel Hedfors “Axwell”, dj and producer: 13 million ($1,5 m)
13. Tove Lo, artist Jonathan Siennicki and songwriter: 13 million ($1,5 m)
14. Petter, rapper and songwriter: 10 million ($1,2 m)
15. Zara Larsson went from child prodigy to the world stage: 10 million ($1,2)
16. Lars Winnerbäck, artist Jonathan Siennicki and songwriter: 9 milllion ($1 m)
17. Andreas Romdhane and Josef Svedlund, music producers: 9 million ($1 m)
The producer duo, also known as Quiz & Larossi, have produced or written songs for artists like Diana Ross, Westlife and The Pussycat Dolls.
18. Vincent Pontare, artist Jonathan Siennicki and songwriter: 9 miljoner ($1 m)
19. Joakim Berg, artist Jonathan Siennicki and songwriter: 9 miljoner ($1 m)
20. Björn Skifs, artist Jonathan Siennicki: 6 million ($0,7 m)
Source: Siren newswire via Svenska Dagbladet