“Sabotage!”: Melodifestivalen boss Christer Bjorkman responds to song leaks as voting numbers slide


It’s Sweden’s biggest TV show and normally a highlight of Eurovision national selection season. But this year Melodifestivalen has been marred by one crisis after another. 

First it emerged that the song of Semi-Final 1 contestant Kamferdrops had been available online since 2009, then almost a million votes were lost between Semi-Finals 1 and 2, and yesterday three songs from semi-final 3 leaked in full just hours ahead of the live broadcast from Malmö Arena.

Now SVT and Melodifestivalen boss Christer Bjorkman have gone on the offensive.

This morning Bjorkman blamed the damaging leaks on “sabotage from people outside of our country,” and vowed to find those responsible.

“Conscious or unconscious it is a rule violation. SVT and the record labels have agreed to find the source and explain to them that that this is not what you should do.”

Warner Music Sweden – which represents the three artists affected by yesterday’s leaks – took a stronger line.

Spokesperson Camilla Bjering von Zweigbergk said:

“This is copyright infringement and a breach of competition rules. We have contacted the headquarters of organisations that have the power to block songs on platforms like YouTube.”

Melodifestivalen 2018 project manager Anette Helenius restated SVT’s determination to prevent leaks and precautions they’re exploring for the future.

“It’s like we have a discussion about leaks every week now, so we need to review our routines, because this is not sustainable. We want to keep the surprise for viewers so we need to find a solution.”

Helenius continued, “We don’t know what that solution is and need to review our entire process. Partly we need to review how record labels manage the songs in the studio, partly we need to review our management here. We are generous with pre-listeners and releasing some of the songs online, so it would be a pity if we can’t do it in the future.”

The leaks are an unwelcome distraction for SVT as Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reports this morning that voting figures are down by 1.8 million votes two weeks after the first semi-final.

Over 6.6 million votes were cast during Semi-Final 1, which slipped to 5.8 million in Semi-Final 2 and just 4.8 million last night. The lowest total recorded in the semi-finals of Melodifestivalen 2017 was 4.9 million in Semi-Final 4.

Melodifestivalen 2018 continues next week in Örnsköldsvik.


Source: Aftonbladet, Expressen (Sven Lindwall)