The release rules for Melodifestivalen entries are complex, to say the least. But throughout the years, one thing has remained constant — entries which qualify direct to the final cannot be released commercially until semi-final four is all wrapped up. Breaking this rule risks disqualification.
So, when Wiktoria’s “Not With Me” appeared on Spotify this afternoon, alarm bells began ringing. Aftonbladet reports that the song, which was one of two direct qualifiers from Saturday’s first semi, appeared on the streaming platform for just under two hours.
The breach is being blamed on a “technical fault”. Following some frantic toing and froing between Sony Music execs in Sweden and Spotify’s New York office, the track was removed within half an hour.
“That Wiktoria’s song came out on Spotify for about two hours is, of course, really unfortunate. Sony acted immediately when we found out,” says Nellie Sörman of Sony Music, “With direct help from the Spotify office in New York, which acted fast, we got the song down quite promptly”.
The music exec adds, “Releasing songs during Melodifestivalen is a very complex system. This means different technical solutions, some songs should be up and running while others should not be released. We do not know exactly how many people have listened, but given the short time it was up, it is very few”.
SVT has yet to comment, but Wiktoria fans can most likely rest easy. Precedent suggests that she won’t be punished. In 2016, a snippet of Molly Sandén’s “Youniverse” was released prematurely. And last year songs from Dotter, Jessica Andersson and others were leaked on the VK social network. None of these acts were removed from the contest.
However, Aftonbladet’s Melfest expert Tobbe Ek argues that the “Save Me” songstress should be disqualified. He contends that to not do so could tempt others to “accidentally” leak their entries in the future.
Update at 23.30 CET: Wiktoria and “Not With Me” will not be disqualified from Melodifestivalen 2019. The contest’s project manager Anette Helenius made the announcement on Monday evening.
“After conversations with Sony Music, we believe that there was no intention to spread the song on Spotify. We do not believe that the damage is such that we need to take any action. ”
Spotify and iTunes charts
While Wiktoria and fellow direct finaist Mohombi aren’t supposed to be on streaming or download platforms for now, there are no rules blocking the other five semi-one songs from dropping. Over on Spotify, Zeana and Anis don Demina lead the way. Despite being eliminated in fifth place, “Mina bränder” debuts on the daily Swedish streaming chart at #12. Andra Chansen acts Anna Bergendahl and Nano follow at #26 and #35 respectively. Eliminees High 15 and Arja Saijonmaa are at #46 and #120.
It’s a different story on the less influential iTunes chart. At the time of writing, Anna sits tight at #1, while Nano and Zeana are at #3 and #4 respectively. Arja is at #12 and High 15 are at #18.
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Rätt upp som nummer 1 på iTunes. Ni är otroliga! Ett stort tack till mina medlåtskrivare Bobby Ljunggren, Thomas G:son och Erik Bernholm. We did it!!! Regarding the international request for the song – it will be out world wide very soon. Thank you for your support and patience! ?
What do you think of the rule breach? Should Wiktoria be punished for the technical hiccup? Does it give her an unfair advantage? Let us know in the comments below.