Abba icon joins Swedish hitmakers for new project

Some of Sweden's biggest musical heavyweights have joined forces to try and make sure their fellow artists get a fair deal for their work.

Abba icon joins Swedish hitmakers for new project
Björn Ulvaeus, Niclas Molinder and Max Martin. Photo: Music Rights Awareness Foundation

Max Martin, Björn Ulvaeus and Niclas Molinder have launched the Music Rights Awareness Foundation in order to meet the growing need for musicians to be able to keep on top of the rights to their music in an ever-changing digital marketplace.

Ulvaeus needs little introduction. A former member of Abba, he is also a songwriter and producer who has worked in the music industry for over half a century.

Martin is one of the most important producer in modern pop music, and the brains behind huge hits performed by era-defining acts like Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.  Molinder meanwhile has worked with artists like Lady Gaga, Ashley Tisdale and Willow Smith as part of the Swedish production and songwriting team TWIN.

Their new foundation aims to increase knowledge of music rights worldwide, and help music creators to “take control of their rights and be able to make a living from their music, regardless of economical geographical or cultural conditions,” the press release announcing its launch said.

“In the new, digital world the songwriter is often the weaker part in a negotiation. Knowledge is power and that’s where Music Rights Awareness comes in,” Ulvaeus commented in a statement.

The foundation’s first project will focus on educating musicians in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. The three founders are also involved in a new digital platform which will help musicians to register their rights, keep track of their song projects and collaborate. 

READ ALSOWho is the shy Swede behind all those global smash hits?


ABBA’s first album in 40 years shoots to the top of the UK charts

ABBA's first studio album in nearly 40 years has made it to the top of the UK charts, becoming the fastest seller of the year so far, the Official Charts Company said on Friday.

ABBA's first album in 40 years shoots to the top of the UK charts
ABBA's new album, 'Voyage' for sale in Stockholm at the start of this month. Photo: Jonatan Nackstrand/AFP

“Voyage” by the Swedish quartet of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anni-Frid racked up 204,000 chart sales in the seven days since it was launched last Friday.

Sales gave the supergroup the biggest opening week on the UK album chart in four years since Ed Sheeran’s “Divide”, and fastest-selling album by a group in eight years.

The last fastest-seller was One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” in November 2013.

READ ALSO: Abba’s new album has arrived – tell us, what do you think?

ABBA, propelled to global fame by their 1974 Eurovision Song Contest win with “Waterloo”, split in 1982, a year after their last album, “The Visitors”.

“Voyage” is their 10th number one album in the UK: only seven other acts — The Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie — have had more.

The group said in a statement: “We are so happy that our fans seem to have enjoyed our new album as much as we enjoyed making it.

“We are absolutely over the moon to have an album at the top of the charts again.”

The 204,000 sales comprise 90 percent physical copies, including 29,900 on vinyl, making it the fastest-selling vinyl release of the 21st century.

The previous record holder was the Arctic Monkeys’ “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino”, which sold 24,500 vinyl copies in 2018.