He’s written the 3rd most Billboard number 1 singles of all time, behind John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He has more Billboard #1 singles than Michael Jackson and Madonna, combined, and has written 51 top ten singles in the U.S., accumulating a net worth of 250 million+ to date. He’s considered the greatest songwriter in history and the most influential man in pop music in the past 20 years, behind the songs that have gotten stuck in your head whether you like it or not… Yet if you were to see him on the street or hear his name, you would have no idea who he was…
WHO IS MAX MARTIN?
Max Martin is a Swedish music producer and writer. He was born in Stockholm, in 1971, and actually started off his music career as the frontman of a glam-metal band called It’s Alive in the 80’s. He was then recruited by DJ, songwriter and music producer Denniz Pop to become a producer/songwriter. Denniz Pop became his mentor and they collaborated on numerous artists. Max Martin eventually took over the studio, and the rest is history.
In the mid 90’s he produced a string of huge, worldwide hits for hottest pop artists at the time, including Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, among many others. He blended sounds of europop, funk and dance. However, in the 2000’s, he revisited his roots and worked on edgier pop songs with tinges of rock, such as Bonjovi’s “It’s My life” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”. But pop can come in all sounds – so he’s viewed as a chameleon. Rani Hancock of RCA Records said that “he definitely has the ability to tailor a song to a specific artist. When you hear a Max Martin record, you don’t necessarily say it’s a Max Martin record, you say it’s a Kelly Clarkson smash […] He has an amazing sense of lyric and melody and he always comes up with these brilliant lyric concepts that are not only hits, but are very identifiable.” The Backstreet Boys have also spoken out about him – they considered him their Godfather and 6th member.
Max Martin’s Hot 100 No. 1s as a Songwriter (sourced from billboard.com):
The Weeknd, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, 2015
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood,” 2015
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space,” 2014
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off,” 2014
Katy Perry featuring Juicy J, “Dark Horse,” 2014
Katy Perry, “Roar,” 2013
Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 2012
Maroon 5, “One More Night,” 2012
Katy Perry, “Part of Me,” 2012
Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” 2011
Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, “E.T.,” 2011
Britney Spears, “Hold It Against Me,” 2011
Pink, “Raise Your Glass,”2010
Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream,” 2010
Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls,” 2010
Britney Spears, “3,” 2009
Kelly Clarkson, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” 2009
Pink, “So What,” 2008
Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl,” 2008
‘NSYNC, “It’s Gonna Be Me,” 2000
Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time,” 1999
Here’s the FULL LIST of songs he wrote (At least 149 and counting)
WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE POP INDUSTRY?
As mentioned, Max Martin is the songwriter of the 3rd most singles on the charts, behind legends John Lennon and Paul McCartney. But they were writing for themselves, while Max Martin writes for pop stars. Where would they be without him? It reflects how commercial the pop music industry is, that artists become the product of so many people. There’s a lack of creativity and authenticity. Would Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Britney Spears reach the level of success they achieved without Max Martin? And other pop songwriters like (also) Swedish producer/songwriter Shellback who is behind 5 One Direction singles?
Yes, songwriters have been around throughout the years, but the impact of Max Martin is huge and we’re living through it. He’s currently a major fuse behind the pop industry – as RollingStone explained: “Every pop era has at least one songwriter who effortlessly taps into the zeitgeist, and for the last roughly 15 years, that person has been [Max Martin]”. And yet, he’s pretty much hidden from the public eye, because do they want you to know? I mean, come on, he won his first Grammy just this past February, AND it wasn’t televised!