SVT, the Swedish national broadcaster, have announced that from Melodifestivalen 2022 onwards, all songs written by more than one person must include at least one female songwriter.
Karin Gunnarson, contest producer for Melodifestivalen, explained the primary reason for the rule change:
“Every year we get a lot of criticism for what the contest looks like on our side. This is something we take very seriously and we want to see a greater proportion of female authors. To help this development, we are introducing from 2022 that all entries written by more than one person must include at least one woman.”
Rules on the gender of songwriters have been a feature of Melodifestivalen for some time. In 2014, a rule was introduced that at least 20% of the chosen songs should include at least one female writer. That percentage was raised to 50% the following year and has remained in place since then.
However, the current rules, which will also apply to next year’s competition before being changed in 2022, have not produced the desired results. Although this year’s competition included female songwriters of more than half of the contributions, a total of only 21 of 79 songwriters were women.
“It’s not a figure you want to boast about but above all it’s about getting strong hits and pushing Melodifestivalen into the future together. If you look at this year’s final, the top five had a woman on the songwriting team. Those hits have been created because people simply worked together. We have not really seen the development we had hoped for and we think this is a way to open up more collaborations, broaden musically and creatively and get new perspectives and topics to write about. It is a way to take Melodifestivalen into the future.”
When asked whether this new rule would discriminate against all-male songwriting teams, Gunnarson replied:
“I don’t think it is. It is an opportunity to broaden their horizons and get new input. I just see it as a positive measure. This is something we’ve been talking about for years. In recent years, we have supported an initiative we have called Mello-kollo, which has been a songwriting camp for girls only. This year, we intend to try to make it fifty-fifty with guys and girls just to enable people to meet and get to know each other and find new collaborations and partners.”
The submission window for Melodifestivalen 2021 will open on August 21. A total of 28 songs are expected to be selected to compete in Melodifestivalen 2021; 14 songs that are selected directly from the submissions process by a jury and 14 songs by artists or songwriters that SVT has specifically invited to compete.
The Mamas were selected to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam with the song “Move”. Upon the cancellation of the contest, SVT annoucned that they would not automatically send The Mamas to Eurovision 2021.
Source: Aftonbladet / Image Source: SVT
Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest
Sweden debuted in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 and has gone on to be one of the contest’s most successful countries. The country has won the contest six times, the most recent being in 2015. Sweden’s first victory came in 1974 when ABBA won the contest in Brighton with “Waterloo”. Since missing out on the final in 2010, Sweden has gone on to finish 3rd twice and has won the contest twice, only in 2013 did the country place outside of the top 10 in the final.