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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Loreen awarded the Government’s Music Export Prize 2023


Today, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell presented the Government’s Music Export Prize to Loreen. Europe were awarded the Government’s Special Prize and the Honourable Mention went to Melodifestivalen.

Loreen - winner of the Government’s 2023 Music Export Prize. (The image is cropped) Photo: Charli Ljung

“Swedish musicians continue to be internationally successful and I am truly proud to present this year’s prizes. Swedish music exports bring in billions and the industry contributes to job opportunities, growth and spreading a positive image of Sweden abroad. We want to acknowledge that today,” says Mr Forssell. 

Loreen is the 27th winner of the Government’s Music Export Prize. The prize is awarded each year to Swedish music creators who have contributed to export success and to spreading a modern and positive image of Sweden abroad. 

During the ceremony, Mr Forssell also presented Europe with the Government’s Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music exports, and the Honourable Mention for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music to Melodifestivalen.

The jury’s citation: 

Winning once is a major achievement, winning again is historic. For her – and for Sweden. When Lorine Zineb Noka Talhaoui or Loreen, as she is better known, sang her way to a second victory at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, she was the first female artist to do so, and the second person ever in the history of the contest. 

Who would have thought that this passion for music, which this Moroccan-Swedish voice developed at a young age in Önsta-Gryta, would lead to all this? At the time of writing, the song she scored her second victory with – Tattoo – has been played half a billion times. It made its way into the charts and the media in 30 countries, and is the fifth most streamed song in Eurovision history. 

It has been 49 years since Sweden began in earnest its journey to become a major international music export player in the Eurovision Song Contest. Now she is standing there once again, the biggest proof of this – a golden ambassador, a shining example of Sweden bringing true euphoria. The other nominees for the Government’s Music Export Prize were Ilya Salmanzadeh, Martin Fröst, Viagra Boys and Zara Larsson.

The Government’s Special Prize 

Europe were awarded the Government’s Special Prize for long-standing contributions to Swedish music exports with the following citation. 

The jury’s citation:

From teenage rock dreams in the classrooms of Vilundaskolan in Upplands Väsby in the late 1970s to prominent careers filled with export success, international chart toppers and epic world tours.

Europe, with their mix of hard and melodic rock, were pioneers in putting Sweden on the world map. The band had a major breakthrough and achieved great success with the album the Final Countdown in 1986 but had already won over Japanese hard rock fans with their song Seven Doors Hotel in 1983. A string of timeless and iconic songs such as the Final Countdown, Rock the Night, Superstitious and Carrie, to name just a few, will always be a fundamental part of the Swedish ‘music phenomenon’.

Since their comeback in the early 2000s, the band’s journey has continued through energetic live performances, continued impressive songwriting and successful albums to this day. Not only have Europe survived constant changes within the music industry, they have also become a symbol for constant development and artistic integrity. They have successfully combined their ability to create powerful songs without losing the connection to the heavy 70s rock that the members grew up with. Europe have not just preserved their magnificent heritage, but also dared to explore new musical territories, cementing them as a long-lasting and respected force in rock music. In Sweden – and the world. 

The Honourable Mention 

The Honourable Mention for achievements of particular importance to the internationalisation of Swedish music goes to Melodifestivalen. 

The jury’s citation:

Who would have thought that Sweden would currently be the second-best pop producer in the world? A major musical power? But the events of Saturday 6 April 1974 signalled the revolutionary start of a new era in this small country. Blue Swede topped the US Billboard chart and ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest on the very same day. It was the beginning of Sweden’s step-by-step process of making an impact on the large international scene. First with artists, then producers and composers, and now with technological innovations. It is said that municipal music schools, joint welfare efforts and entrepreneurship explain this success, but never forget the songwriting contest that made ABBA famous – Melodifestivalen. Where would Sweden’s pop exports be without it? Over the years, Sweden has become one of the most successful countries in this European peace project’s history. This includes not only the seven major victories for Loreen, Carola and others, but also perfect music making so popular that the other countries in the contest beg for Sweden’s help, year after year. Things move quickly in pop music, but the accomplishments that began 50 years ago at the Eurovision Song Contest continue to grow through Melodifestivalen.

The members of the Government’s Music Export Prize jury

• Boel Adler, producer/host of Sveriges Radio P2
• Jesper Thorsson, CEO of Export Music Sweden
• Johan Seidefors, Head of Music Northern Europe at Spotify
• Karolina Moberg, Marketing Director at Live Nation Sweden
• Linda Portnoff, CEO of Tangy Market
• Ludvig Werner, CEO of IFPI Sweden
• Per Sinding-Larsen, music journalist, Swedish Television
• Robert Sehlberg, Head of Music at Viaplay Group (Radio, Sweden)

Press contact

Victoria Holmqvist
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Mobile +46 76-142 29 39
email to Victoria Holmqvist

The Government’s Music Export Prize

The Government’s Music Export Prize was established in 1997. The Prize is awarded every year to an artist who has been internationally successful during the preceding year and has contributed to Swedish musical export success and to a positive image of Sweden. A jury nominates and selects the winners of the various prizes.