In what appears to have been one of the better-kept secrets outside the music industry itself, it was recently revealed that the American pop-music charts have been dominated by songs created by a group of middle-aged Scandinavian musicians. Some of the most popular contemporary acts have these Scandinavian songwriters to thank for the majority of their hits, including Katy Perry, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Fifth Harmony. Even though these stars are often given a writing credit on the songs they perform, such credit is awarded even when a contribution is shockingly little.
According to Kim Bettasso, the fact that these performers do not write their own songs should not be surprising and does not necessarily mean they do not have the talent to do so. Instead, these performers simply do not have the time to thoughtfully write and construct a song while also living up to the many other responsibilities that drain both their time and energy. Just like any industry, sometimes the best strategy is to outsource certain parts of the process, especially when the outsourced materials are every bit as good — or, in some cases, significantly better — than what would otherwise be produced.
In a perfect world, artists would have the time to work on their craft and create moving pieces of music that reflect something deeply personal. While that may be true, the pop-music industry is all about generating profit and leveraging the star power of a performer as efficiently as possible, and it has been that way throughout music history. For every band or performer that has full creative control and is responsible for overseeing every aspect of an album from start to finish, there are 10 others that are the product of a team of experts who contribute the many parts that are eventually constructed into a highly profitable whole.