It’s been OVER A DECADE (40 years) since the Swedish foursome, responsible for some of the most recognisable songs in pop music history, last released new music. But Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad are back, with fans rejoicing on a global scale over the release of the first two sample tracks from their new album, Voyages.
Not much longer to wait now, Voyage is set to be released in November 2021 and, more excitingly, new live shows have been announced and are due to take place in England’s capital next year. Except, ABBA themselves won’t be performing live at the shows, which are booked for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, from May 2022. Instead, they’ll be performing in digital form and will be retouched to appear just how they were at their prime in the 1970s, wearing their iconic metallic boots, flared onesies and retro hairstyles.
To create this one of a kind virtual experience, the multi-platinum band has teamed up with George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), known for its Star Wars production. The ABBA Voyage shows will see the band perform ‘live’ every night for six months and will be recorded in 3D in front of 160 cameras by a motion capture team who have experience shooting the highest-grossing films in Hollywood.
This Voyage tour has been directed by film-maker Baillie Walsh and is produced by Johan Renck and Svana Gisla, who are responsible for co-creating David Bowie’s last single, Blackstar. The team used archive footage and motion capture suits to capture the band’s facial expressions, dance moves and instrument playing to ensure that the action behind the camera is an accurate representation of the band’s performance of hit singles such as Waterloo, Voulez-Vous, Dancing Queen and many more Mamma Mia hit tracks. So, it’s clear that fans won’t be left disappointed as promo footage released to the media shows that the talent behind the camera is out of this world and equally as impressive as the artists in front of it.
However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen digital representations of the world’s most-loved artists – remember Snoop Dogg dropping a surprise digital resurrection of Tupac at Coachella in 2012? Almost ten years on, we’ve seen holographic performances of long-dead stars and famous family members appear more frequently, with a notable example being Kanye West surprising Kim Kardashian on her 40th birthday with a speech by Robert Kardashian. And while the cutting-edge technology being used is conceptually the same, rather than 3D, ABBA will be using advanced 2D projection to give fans the illusion that the Swedish group is performing right there in front of them.
ABBA’s New Music
The release of the promotional footage of ABBA’s upcoming tour and album has not left fans disappointed, with the iconic band still honoring their much-loved sound. Forty years later, the band has continued to produce tracks that so effortlessly embody the 70s era, stealing the hearts of new generations, as well as the original fans who are part of their success, who have connected to their lyrics, danced to their tambourine beat and appreciated the composition of their music through the years. Their latest singles “Don’t Shut Me Down” and “I Still Have Faith In You” have hit over 19M views on YouTube (19,839,285), suggesting that the ABBA comeback tracks have caught the attention of people around the world. However, while Looking at search terms and Google Trends around ABBA, the Digital PR team at Embryo has discovered that the release of their single “I Still Have Faith In You” has surged in popularity since the single dropped on the 2nd September 2021.
Since its release date, ABBA has seen a spike in search volume, with fans based in the United Kingdom, for the purpose of this insight, googling the Swedish pop superstars’ new songs and information about their upcoming tour, Voyage, with incredible interest. Not only has their promotion video for “I Still Have Faith In You” been trending on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and other international platforms, there has also been increases in search volume of over 4,000% for terms such as “Abba comeback” and “Abba voyage ticket prices” since the new tracks were released. The song itself is still trending and shows that the ABBA reunion has received a positive reception, with fans still resonating with their timeless lyrics and celebrating the unexpected, that the group, now at ages 68-73, have finally gotten back together.
The ABBA trends continue to rise with the announcement of this reunion causing the Swedish foursome to almost quadruple in popularity in Google searches, which are now at the highest they’ve been since the film release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Compared to the release of Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, the trend has tripled since its peak in 2018 (when the film was released).The search popularity, on average, is around 18% of its peak, which means that fans are regularly streaming the 1970s pop legends’ latest singles on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube. With the tour likely to bring an influx of tourists to the UK, preparations have been made to ensure that ABBA enthusiasts are able to secure seats to this one-of-a-kind show, in advance, without the worry of tickets selling out.
The ABBA Voyage tickets are currently retailing from £75-£103 on Ticketmaster with the most popular choice of ticket being the seated ticket, which costs Britons £93, meaning that fans are able to enjoy an unmissable performance in an arena shaped similar to the Swedish group’s first live appearance on Eurovision in 1974. The arena layout contains a huge capacity for seating, dance booths and a general admission standing area, which allows crowds to come together and boogie the night or afternoon away, with two showtime options being available at 15:00 and 19:45. We expect that the hype around ABBA will continue to grow when the full album is released on 5th November 2021 and when fans begin to count down the start of the tour from April 2022, with the first performance date being set for 27th May 2022. We will continue to track this historic musical event, and, personally, I can’t wait to attend the concert in September 2022.