Saturday, June 15, 2024

ABBA SOS: On Eve of Marketing Launch, Three New Singles in a Row Have Failed to Sell or Get Radio Play


ABBA, the fabled international Swedish pop stars, are coming with the first new album since 1982. On November 5, the world will hear “Voyage,” the opening salvo in their mega return.

But aside from the two men in ABBA, does anyone care? Even the two women in the group are half-heartedly participating. They’re not even doing promotion.

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The public seems less than interested, especially in ABBA’s new music. As with all legacy acts from the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, the fans just want to hear the hits. Their brains aren’t wired to accept new music.

And so ABBA has released three failed singles since September 2nd. All duds, not only sales wise, but on the radio, and critically. They are bad records. And the public has responded in kind.

Here are the sales figures according to Buzz Angle/Alpha Data:

Just a Notion – 3,000 copies total mostly streaming, only 574 paid downloads
Don’t Shut me Down — 37,000 copies, 5,800 downloads
I Still Have Faith in You — 25,000 copies, 4,300 downloads

Those numbers don’t augur well for “Voyage,” even though the album is currently listed at number 7 on Amazon based on advance sales. But “Voyage” could have one or two big days based on those sales, and then peter out quickly if there aren’t tracks getting attention. So far radio has ignored the new ABBA songs, and with good reason. They are not nearly as charismatic as ABBA’s fabled hits which have been featured in two movie musicals, one Broadway musical, a covers album by Cher, and so on.

It’s quite possible this whole ABBA revival is going to be the Titanic of comebacks. What the fans wanted is a tour with the original four members singing “Dancing Queen.” Maybe a live album would have followed. But so far, a new album of original songs is not what they wanted. And the fake ABBA non-hologram whatever-it-is thing? We’ll see if that sells tickets. They may get away with it in Europe, but in the US it’s doubtful.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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