STOCKHOLM, 16 JUNE 1999 – Sweden’s leading music entrepreneur, Ola Håkansson, and Universal Music have extended their Stockholm Records joint venture agreement. Under the new, long term deal, which also includes music publishing joint venture Stockholm Songs, Håkansson and his team will continue to operate autonomously from Universal Music Sweden, finding and developing Swedish artists who will continue to be represented by Universal around the world.

Stockholm Records and Stockholm Songs were established in 1992 as a joint venture between Håkansson and PolyGram (which was acquired by Universal in 1998). Stockholm Records’ current artist roster includes The Cardigans, who have sold over five-and-a-half million albums worldwide (over five million of them outside Sweden), E-Type and Army of Lovers who have each sold over one million albums and one million singles, and Stakka Bo and Antiloop. New signing A Teens have given the company its fastest selling single ever with Mamma Mia. The Cardigans are also signed to Stockholm Songs.

Håkansson, who is managing director of Stockholm Records and Songs, said: “For the last seven years we have been able to combine the creativity and energy of a small independent organization with the marketing strength of a multinational company. The continuation of our agreement strengthens our position while enabling us to continue to focus on artists and their music.”

With both Stockholm Records and Universal Music Sweden maintaining separate local A&R divisions focusing on Swedish repertoire, Universal Music will be well positioned to take advantage of the country’s musical creativity and global success. Local industry group Export Music Sweden recently put the value of Swedish music exports at two billion crowns annually (almost $250 million) and estimated that Sweden is the world’s third largest music exporter after the US and the UK.

Tim Bowen, executive vice president of Universal Music International, said: “We are delighted to be continuing our association with Ola. Stockholm has gone from a standing start just a few years ago to the powerhouse of the Swedish music industry that it is today. Sweden has always produced music that has appealed to a global audience and with Ola’s team at Stockholm and Gert Holmfred’s at Universal we now have two excellent A&R sources in the country.”

Håkansson began his career at the age of 16 when he formed Ola & The Janglers who had 13 consecutive top 10 hits in Sweden, making Håkansson a national teen pop idol. After taking a business administration course in the early 1970s, he returned to the music industry to work as managing director of the publishing division of Sonet which at the time was Scandinavia’s biggest independent music company. After Sonet’s record division was acquired by PolyGram in 1991, Håkansson and PolyGram agreed to establish a new label, Stockholm Records.

In 1980, while still working for Sonet, Håkansson found chart success again as the lead vocalist of Secret Service. The band sold over five million records around the world after their debut single, Oh Susie, remained at number one in the Swedish charts for 13 consecutive weeks. Håkansson and his Secret Service co-songwriter Tim Norell went on to write and produce over 40 chart hits for themselves and other artists.

Universal Music is the world’s leading record company. Internationally successful Scandinavian artists on its roster include ABBA, Ace of Base, Aqua, Cardigans, Emilia, E-Type, Espen Lind and Sissel.