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Flat Pack Pop: Sweden’s Music Miracle, 7 April 2024, BBC Four

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In this episode of Flat Pack Pop: Sweden’s Music Miracle, journalist James Ballardie explores the remarkable rise of Sweden as a global music superpower. The episode, airing on BBC Four, delves into the unique Swedish songwriting formula that has produced some of the biggest pop hits of the last 30 years.

In the 1990s, an elite group of unlikely entrepreneur songwriters and producers revolutionised the music industry, creating a new genre of bubblegum pop. Their work, inspired by Swedish folk music and the country’s long months of darkness, led to the launch of careers for artists such as Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, Westlife, and many others.

The episode features interviews with key Swedish songwriters, producers, and artists, including Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Ace of Base, and Robyn. Ballardie’s search for the masterminds behind these hits takes him from the icy streets of Stockholm to the barren plains of Kronoberg.

The programme uncovers the impact of socialist music-education programmes and the influence of Swedish folk music, with its simplistic and melodic yodelling, on the country’s pop sound. It also highlights the role of “Jante Law,” a Swedish term reflecting the country’s emphasis on community over individual success.

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The episode includes the story of Swedish record producer Denniz Pop, who, along with his protégé Max Martin, has become one of the most successful songwriters of all time. Pop’s tragic death from cancer at the age of 35 left a lasting impact on the Swedish music industry.

Flat Pack Pop: Sweden’s Music Miracle, which originally aired 15 February 2019, offers a fascinating look into the global success of Swedish pop and the unique formula behind it.

Flat Pack Pop: Sweden’s Music Miracle airs Sunday 7 April 2024 at 7.00pm on BBC Four.

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Isabelle aka Izzy Jacobs is the UK previews specialist at memorabletv.com. Isabelle is particularly drawn to crime dramas, but she also has a not so secret love for all things reality TV. In addition to her work at memorabletv.com, Isabelle is also an avid traveler and a devoted foodie.

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