Finnish Music Export Award goes to Apocalyptica Agency

Music Finland awarded the fourth ever Finnish Music Export Award to the company behind cello metal trailblazers Apocalyptica.

The Finnish Music Export Award was awarded to Apocalyptica Agency for the long-term contribution to the export of Finnish music and groundbreaking cross-genre openings. The award was handed by Minister Mika Lintilä (Ministry of Employment and the Economy) in Helsinki today.

The Finnish Music Export Award, established by Music Finland in 2015, is a recognition given to a Finnish music company that has successfully developed and expanded its international operations and has shown pioneering spirit in exporting Finnish music. The intent behind this award is to create attention to the important work done by music export companies, and also promote these active and growing enterprises. The award was initiated by Music Finland, who also gathered the jury together. The award winner receives their own award plate on the outer wall of the famed rock club Tavastia in Helsinki. 

Apocalyptica (founded in 1993) has made an impressive international career during three decades. Apocalyptica’s debut album Plays Metallica by Four Cellos was released in 1996 and has sold over two million copies worldwide – an exceptional number for a cross-genre release that combines classical music and heavy metal. The album’s  20th anniversary tour took place in 2017–2018 with over 170 concerts worldwide.

Originally known for arranging and performing heavy metal band Metallica’s songs with four cellos, Apocalyptica released their first original compositions on their second album Cult. During its 22-year existence Apocalyptica has sold over four million albums and performed over a thousand concerts all over the world. In addition, Apocalyptica has toured with Finnish 25-piece chamber orchestra Avanti!, made commissioned works such as the Indigo opera for the Finnish National Opera and Richard Wagner’s celebration concert Wagner Reloaded as well as composed music for films, video games and other projects. Apocalyptica’s albums have featured guest singers and musicians from rock bands such as Slipknot, Rammstein, Slayer and Sepultura. For the past 13 years Apocalyptica’s lineup has consisted of celloists Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaakso, Paavo Lötjönen and drummer Mikko Sirén.

Decade after another, Apocalyptica continues to keep its musical standards high. The band creates a thriving international career in a genre junction where there are no pre-defined step marks. The members of Apocalyptica also hold nearly all of their business areas in their own hands: agency, publishing and merchandise, among others.

Artistic Director of the Finnish National Opera, Lilli Paasikivi, one of the members in the award prize jury, describes the winner. 

"During their career Apocalyptica has been a pioneer, a fresh border breaker, and an open-minded bridge builder. They have not been limited, but inspired by different musical genres. Along with themselves, Apocalyptica has taken both rock and classical music artists to worldwide stages. Their brand of cello rock has not only been a case of magnificent Finnish music export, but also an great example of collegiality beyond musical genres."

The jury consisted of Heidi Aho (TPS), Kimmo Aulake (Ministry of Education and Culture), Tomi Korhonen (Business Finland), Liisa Lundelin-Nuortio (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment), Lilli Paasikivi (The Finnish National Opera and Ballet), Kaisa Rönkkö (Music Finland), Tuomo Tähtinen (Fullsteam Agency) and Merja Ylä-Anttila (Finnish Broadcasting Company).

The previous Finnish Music Export Awards have been given to Comusic Productions (2015), Till Dawn They Count Management Ltd Oy (2016) and PME Records (2018).

Read the Apocalyptica article "A Genre Unto Themselves" on FMQ Magazine.