Archive: Term of service 06 October 2006–04 October 2010

Lifetime Achievement Award and the Government's Music Export Prize 2008

Robert von Bahr was today awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for exceptional contributions in promoting and distributing Swedish music abroad. The Award was presented by Minister for Trade Ewa Björling at an event held at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Press Centre.

The jury motivated its decision as follows:

"Since founding BIS Records AB in 1973, Robert von Bahr has put his passion and extensive knowledge to use in providing Swedish musicians and composers with a platform for their music. World-renowned Swedish artists such as Christian Lindberg, Martin Fröst, Sharon Bézaly, The Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Dan Laurin and many other musicians and ensembles have been able to nurture their artistry and grow with their success, and today comprise an integral part of the BIS label. In addition, BIS is associated with a number of foreign names of international prominence, all of whom are represented by a body of work that is characterised by great originality and the highest conceivable sound quality.

The BIS label has been awarded prizes in a variety of different contexts, most recently that of 'Label of the Year 2008'. Thanks to Robert von Bahr, BIS has emerged as an important promoter of Swedish music and Swedish artists, recorded with the highest possible standards. The BIS label - with a current catalogue of some 1500 titles, of which von Bahr himself has produced 434 - sold around 500 000 records worldwide in 2008. The records are distributed in 46 countries on five continents, and can also be downloaded from most major websites. Since its launch, the BIS label has sold some 12 million records."

The five nominees for the Government's Music Export Prize 2008 were also presented at the event:

1. September

The jury's motivation:

"While creating very few headlines at home, September has spent the past several years laying the foundation to a fantastic international career, with innumerable entries on music charts around the world - including the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Poland, Australia and Japan. Sales of their mega-hit 'Cry For You' have now passed the one million mark and it has been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube. The year 2008 was when the successful team made up of singer Petra Marklund, songwriter and producer Jonas von der Burg, songwriter colleagues Anoo Bhagavan and Niclas von der Burg, along with Michel Petré on Swedish record label Catchy Tunes, definitively made their mark on the international scene."

2. Basshunter

The jury's motivation:

"In many ways, Basshunter's techno-pop is a kind of counterpart to 1950s rock'n'roll - particularly in the significant sense that many people of the older generation can neither decipher nor understand all the smart metaphors and cryptic symbolism of the lyrics. But the fact that despite this, 23-year-old hit-maker Jonas Altberg has a large following around the world was emphatically proven in 2008 when he managed to top both the single and album charts in the UK. In addition, a number of Top 10 hits in Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, as well as in all our Nordic neighbours, contributed to an exceptionally large impact on YouTube, where Basshunter has had over 160 million viewings. An undeniable sign of success in our time."

3. Max Martin

The jury's motivation:

"As far back as 1999 - ten years ago - Max Martin was awarded the Government's Music Export Prize. The following year - 2000 - he received the Prize a second time, then as part of the legendary team at Cheiron Studios. In 2008, Max Martin is still one of the foremost leaders on the impressively talented and enormously gifted Swedish songwriter scene, which over the last few decades has kept the ears and eyes of many of the biggest international stars focused on Sweden. In the last year, Max Martin's (Martin Sandberg) irresistible, powerful melodies and songs have been heard on records by artists such as Britney Spears, Pink, Kate Perry, Sugababes and Cyndi Lauper."

4. Martin Fröst

The jury's motivation:

"Clarinettist Martin Fröst is nominated for the Government's Music Export Prize 2008 for artistry that combines virtuosity, a strong stage presence and collaborations across artistic boundaries with avid marketing of Swedish composers and Swedish music abroad. Internationally, Martin Fröst is one of Sweden's most popular instrumentalists. He is one of the BIS label's best-selling artists and has been the artistic director of his own music festival since 2006. With Martin Fröst as ambassador, Swedish art music has found a larger arena and has received an exceptional response from both the very young audience and more experienced concert goers."

5. Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson

The jury's motivation:

"Good pop songs are often written to capture a magical moment in time, and then - with an effect that is as close to immediate as possible - quickly produce the greatest possible impact. There are very few who are able to create pop music that both flourishes in the present and gains a lasting vitality so that the songs and the melodies live on from generation to generation to generation. Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson belong to that exclusive few who have succeeded with this feat. In 2008, over 30 years after many of the pair's classic songs were first heard with ABBA, they tirelessly continued to break new and completely unparalleled records. In recordings, on the musical stage and now also on film."

The Music Export Prize will be awarded by Dr Björling at the Swedish Grammy Awards ceremony at the Hovet arena on 7 January. In previous years, the Prize has been awarded to artists such as song-writing duo Bloodshy and Avant, Anne Sofie von Otter, José González, Roxette, In Flames, The Hives and Esbjörn Svensson Trio.

The jury has consisted of Michael Treschow (chair), Anders Hjelmtorp, Kerstin Nordlund-Malmegård, Claes Olsson, Sofia Nyblom, Nutta Hultman, Maria Engström, Thomas Stenmo, Wera Körner and Fredrik Wetterqvist (secretary).


Jens Söderblom
Political Adviser to Ewa Björling
work +46 8 405 27 44
cell +46 76 766 39 99
email to Jens Söderblom
Fredrik Wetterqvist
Senior Adviser
Head of Cultural Promotion and the Image of Sweden group
+46 8 405 32 51