Finnish songwriters starting to make a mark in the German music market

Finnish singer-songwriters Alma Miettinen and Niila Arajuuri have recently signed music publishing contracts with German major music publishers. Miettinen first encountered her publisher Sony/ATV at a Music Finland hip hop workshop in Helsinki. Sarah Schneider from Sony/ATV commented on the recently announced co-operation: 

”We are really excited to work with Alma. She has a unique charisma and an outstanding voice. Right now we are focusing on building her artist career internationally as well as developing her as a songwriter.”

Niila Arajuuri, who also goes by the more simple artist name Niila, released his first EP on Polydor/Island under Universal Music Group Germany in 2015 and was signed to BMG Rights for publishing. He is managed by Comusic Productions, a Finnish management company also behind Sunrise Avenue's success.

Song Hotel Berlin connected young songwriting talent

In November Music Finland organized their first ever co-write camp in Berlin: Song Hotel Berlin occupied the Riverside Studios for three days to bring a dozen young Finnish songwriters to work with local songwriting talents.

The camp was arranged in co-operation with German publishing companies BMG Rights, Sony/ATV, Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell, along with Finnish publishers Elements Music, HMC Publishing, Kaiku Songs, PME Records, Result Entertainment Management, Sugar House Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Finland and Next Era Publishing from Netherlands.

Song Hotel Berlin was organized to work as a platform for Finnish young songwriters to be introduced to the German market. Juulia Haverinen, a student at the songwriting academy Musikmakarna was one of the Finnish songwriters at Song Hotel Berlin.

”The camp gave me more experience in international co-writes and of course a better understanding of the German market and music scene. New connections turned out to be the highlight of the camp and it was so much fun to write with German songwriters for a change”, Haverinen tells.

”Overall I think the posse produced a load of great songs. I hope that as many songs as possible will find a home and will be heard on record”, Haverinen cheered.

”The song camp was really instructive about German music market. The business seems a bit more German-centered than I thought and the music is somewhat different from Scandinavian, British or American. But it's a big market and I think Finnish songwriters and producers can have a huge opportunity to integrate in the business and make big hits in Germany in the future”, says Kalle Lindroth, another Finnish songwriter who attended Song Hotel Berlin.

”The German writers in the song camp were really good and musically talented. Since there are so much more people in Germany there must be more competition between writers compared to Finland”, Lindroth says.

How to work in the world's third largest music market?

Eero Tolppanen is A&R executive at Finnish publishing house Elements Music, which has been working in the German market for some years already. In Germany, the songwriters signed to Elements Music have written songs for artists like Alle Farben and Madeleine Juno. Axel Ehnström and Jonas W. Karlsson wrote Sofi De La Torre’s song 'Vermillion' along with the German-Spanish singer, which has been referenced by Billboard Magazine and Time Magazine. In addition, Elements house writers Mikko Tamminen and Risto Asikainen have written songs for the Swiss Eurovision Song Contest.

“By international standards, the Finnish songwriters and producers' proficiency is on a high level. Also their skills in English language provide a good starting point to bring know-how that cannot be found locally. Germany is the world's third largest market and succeeding there can also be economically very significant. Especially Berlin is a popular habitat for writers from all around the world, so you can also make connections outside of Germany while you’re there”, Tolppanen explains.

Tolppanen points out, that in the international song writing business things happen slowly: it can easily take 2–3 years before a song ends up being released. So it’s important for the writers to focus on making music rather than take pressure on being successful.

”Work diligently and methodically with a large range of artists and writers with the necessary skills and develop your own. Build a reputation for your work. Sustained presence in the market is a prerequisite for a successful international career”, Tolppanen emphasizes.