Questions & answers
 

July 2021

1. Are ABBA still getting royalties from their music?
2. When finally split, how much did each member get?
3. What was ABBA's net worth at the end of each year that they were in business?
4. Are ABBA still getting income from their ABBA period investment?
5 What exactly happened to the diverse investments ABBA had when they split up?

Thanks
Cheers, Roll 

 

 

Yes, the ABBA members still receive royalties from the sale of ABBA music. Benny and BjŲrn also receive songwriting and production royalties, and the two men plus Frida receive royalites from their investment in Mamma Mia! I'm afraid that the answers to most of your questions are too long and complicated to respond here, and some are just unanswerable as the details are not publically known. I recommend you read the biography Bright Lights Dark Shadows: The Real Story Of ABBA by Carl Magnus Palm, which contains quite detailed information of the various business dealings that went on during the ABBA years and after.

 


I am wondering if the versions on Spotify are, despite appearing to be identical as the 2001 remasters are actually different, louder remasters. I recall hearing, back in the day that the 2009 digital versions on iTunes/Apple Music (prior to the 2014 Digital Masters) were Masters of Audio mixes. I've disproved this because 'Lay All Your Love'/'The Way Old Friends Do' are the Gold standalone versions like the 2001 CDs, so I'm guessing it was a misunderstanding, or maybe the 2009 releases were a different set of MoA remasters, considering they originally came with a digital version of The Albums (like how the Digital Masters had The Collection, which is sadly no longer available).

Love, Aaron (from Australia)

 

 

I'm afraid I'm the wrong person to ask about that. I'm not a Spotify user, and a lot of the details about the various remasterings go over my head. Perhaps one of our audiophile readers can shed more light on this. If anyone can answer Aaron's question, please write to ask@abbaomnibus.net.

(To address some personal responses i've received: I have nothing against Spotify or other streaming services. I just have no use for them personally. Most music I listen to have have purchased on CD or iTunes, and if I want to listen to a random song I don't have I can usually find it on YouTube. My days of listening randomly to new music streaming or on the radio are long behind me).


What are the ABBA members doing nowdays? Will they make music again?

Yvonne 

 

 

As you have probably heard, ABBA has recorded new songs for a new concert experience with digital avatars (or "ABBAtars") of the ABBA members. The announcment of the digital ABBA experiece is here and the songs here. This was to have launched in late 2018, but was delayed first by business and technology issues, then by the COVID 19 pandemic. New music is expected to be released later this year.
Benny has continued to make music, for his Benny Anderssons orkester, film soundtracks, and musicals. See here for most of his musical output. BjŲrn's primary activity for the past 20-plus years has been the Mamma Mia! musical in its various stage and film incarnations. To this day he still writes lyrics for Benny's songs. Both Frida and Agnetha have retired from public life. Agnetha's last release was her album A, released in 2013. Frida has only made a few one-off recordings as guest vocalist on other artists' recordings since her last album Djupa andetag in 1996.

 


1. Is the 'Voulez-Vous' video longer than what we currently have? I've found two versions, one is high quality but cuts off early (although this appears to be the TV network's fault, not the uploaders) and one is lower-quality and misses the start, but has more footage at the end. The higher quality source seems to suggest that the video used the 4:21 edit from the Gold CD, but the lower quality source has already seen its audio replaced, so I can't determine if it fades early (both source transition to another video near the end). Also, interestingly I believe the video starts with a German message Bjorn recorded for a TV show in 1981 about how they were unable to appear.
2. What's the song played underneath the instrumental break in the extended 12" version of 'One Night in Bangkok'Ě from Chess?

Aaron, Australia

 

 

1. The alternate clip you point out is the remastered video created for ABBA Gold in 1992, with parts of other clips inserted throughout (including 'The Name Of The Game', 'Fernando', 'Money, Money, Money', 'The Winner Takes It All', 'Super Trouper', 'Summer Night City', 'I Have A Dream', 'Mamma Mia', 'Take A Chance On Me', 'Does Your Mother Know', 'Waterloo', 'Thank You For The Music', and 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!'). However, that online version has been redubbed with the album version of the song, not the video edit (which jumps from about 2.49 to 3.34 on the album version). The German introduction has been tagged onto the start of the clip from the West German TV show Die aktuelle Schaubude, broadcast in September 1981, which actually preceded a short extract from 'Lay All Your Love On Me' on that programme. It appears the online clip may be from a rebroadcast in 2008. (thanks to ABBA on TV for information)
2. The other songs from Chess that play over the instrumental break of the 12 inch version of 'One Night In Bangkok' are 'You And I', 'Merano', 'Anthem', 'Endgame', 'Nobody's Side', 'You And I' (again), and 'Anthem' (again). Very strange and jarring.


Itís quite well known that Michael Tretow wasnít keen in recording cymbals too high in the mixes of the ABBA recordings. One of his many quotes can be found here. Even if you listen closely to 'Dancing Queen', you canít really hear any being hit. I wondered whether if you knew of any discussions between him Benny and BjŲrn on issues like this, or any other alternative ways in recording certain pieces of music. Iím hoping Carl Magnusís upcoming book may also discuss this. Apologies for the vagueness, Iím running out of things to ask you.
Also, the tracks in the Spanish album Gracias Por Las Musica, some tracks are noticeably different from the original recordings, even Wikipedia states: Ē
some of Tretow's new Spanish mixes were significantly different from their English counterparts, reflecting his own personal preferences regarding the handling of drum sounds as well as the significant time gap between the two versions, with some tracks being revisited up to six years after their original completion.Ē Again, is it known how Benny and BjŲrn felt about this?

Thanks
Simon, UK

 

 

Michael B. Tretow says in ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions that he would hide cymbals before recording, to stop the drummer from hitting them. If cymbals were required they could be overdubbed later as percussion.
I believe in some (if not all) cases the backing tracks were taken from unmixed multi-track tapes, not the final mixed master. It's certainly the case with 'Dancing Queen', which had been copied, edited, and subjected to further overdubs, while the Spanish version has the original four verses. Tretow says in The Complete Recording Sessions "No two mixes will be exactly the same, and one's preferences do change over time."

 


Here' s a quote from ABBAMania Australia: "By now ABBA were on the radio 24/7, and they were on the TV everyday. If they weren't playing a promo film, it was a repeat of a TV special or a new one. Channel 9 had The Best of ABBA and From The Beginning, Channel 7 had The Best of ABBA (German Musikladen version) and ABBA In Sweden. As for the 0/10 Network, ABBA In Studio 2 (ABBA in Poland), and some badly made half hour special called We Love ABBA, which just consisted of the Polar film clips." I am wondering about the questioning parts. For example, the writer is unaware that Johnny Farnham "hosted" the Australian version of the Musikladen special (retitled ABBA in Europe), but I am focusing more on We Love ABBA. Judging by the logo he provides, it must date to around the 1975 promo videos, so I believe it contains those videos and the 'Waterloo'/'Ring Ring' videos from earlier on.

Love, Aaron, Australia

 

 

I'm don't know why that book does not cover the television specials in more detail than it does. I'm not familiar with the content of We Love ABBA, as I never got to see that one. I'm aware of one special that was shown the 0/10 network in June 1976 that may have been titled Reflections of ABBA, which was hosted by an Adelaide DJ, or it may have been the above mentioned We Love ABBA (or maybe they were two different programmes with similar content. There was a hell of a lot of ABBA on TV in 1976). The seven clips available up to mid-1976 would certainly have filled a half-hour of TV.

 


Was it ever explained why Fridaís blurred image was kept on the rear cover of the Waterloo album? Looks like she was rushing to be out of shot. 

Thanks
Simon, UK
 

 

 

Unfortunatly, no. My guess is that Ola Lager took only one photo with the intention of it being used on the back of the album sleeve, not noticing that Frida was still moving out of the frame. When designer Ron Spaulding was laying out the album sleeve, the proportions were probably not right to zoom in a bit and crop Frida out of the photo.

 


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