All-American pop stars such as Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry all have one thing in common – their biggest hits were not written and produced by a famous American or British writer but by a 46-year old from Stockholm. His name is Karl Martin Sandberg, but you may know him as Max Martin, if you know him at all. Lennon & McCartney and Jagger & Richard are songwriting superstars but no one has heard of Max Martin outside the music business.
Born on 26 February 1971 in Stockholm, he learned music through Sweden’s excellent state-sponsored music-education programs, receiving free private lessons in the French horn. 30% of Swedish schoolchildren go to publicly funded after-school music programs and Martin has often credited this aspect of his education for his success.
String of hits
Martin rose to prominence in the second half of the 1990s having written and produced a string of major hits including “I Want It That Way” for Backstreet Boys and “Baby One More Time” for Britney Spears. He has written or co-written 22 Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits, most of which he has also produced or co-produced, including Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”, Maroon 5’s “One More Night”, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”.
Biggest producers of all time
If you look through the names of those behind the biggest songs and biggest acts on the planet over the past 50 years there is a massive swing towards the UK and the USA. George Martin (no relation), the man behind The Beatles, was English, as was Queen hit-maker Roy Thomas Baker, Trevor Horn, Stock Aitken Waterman and ELO’s Jeff Lynne. Great American producers include Sam Phillips, the man who first recorded Elvis, Motown founder Berry Gordy, ‘Wall Of Sound’ pioneer Phil Spector, Michael Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones and Beach Boy Brian Wilson – each of them made a huge contribution to popular music, were extremely influential and made a lot of money in the process.
Remain in the shadows
Max Martin began his career as the lead singer of a small time Swedish metal band before getting into the producers chair. He has a great voice and can sing like a bird and yet is very happy writing huge hits for other people. Maybe it’s because of the Nordic Laws of Jante which states: ‘You’re not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than anyone else’. He is perfectly happy doing a great job from the back seat and letting others take the applause.
PEA is a European administration house whose origins are in Denmark and Sweden. We relate to Max Martin and salute his success. Here we have excellent teams looking after a large number of customers. Although none of us used to sing in metal bands and we may not be able to sing and write hit tunes like Max Martin, we are very happy to be outside the spotlight and are very content just doing a brilliant job in the background ensuring our clients succeed.
In today’s business landscape, fund administration professionals need to be highly organised, efficient, technically astute, technologically savvy, and able to deal with complex challenges on a daily basis. We don’t want our clients to be bothered with that. It’s our job to handle these issues and deliver your needs every time on time. But we don’t want to make a song and dance about it!
For more details on how we can help you please contact us on +44 1481 730988
by Peter Toyberg
Peter Toyberg is Group Managing Director of PEA and holds an MSc in Economics from Copenhagen Business School and has extensive experience in the management of private equity funds. Peter specialises in technical fund structuring, tax reviews, AIFMD, turn-key back office services solutions, and depositary solutions.