ABBA Makes $3 Million From Concerts Every Week… Without Actually Performing
— 6 September 2023

ABBA Makes $3 Million From Concerts Every Week… Without Actually Performing

— 6 September 2023

Seven times a week, a sold-out crowd of around 3,000 people make the pilgrimage to East London, where they experience ABBA Voyage. It’s one of the most expensive productions in music history, but here’s the twist: live performances from Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad were never in the show’s budget.

Prior to opening back in May 2022, the show’s aforementioned budget had already ballooned to an eyewatering £140 million (AU$275 million). 15 months on, however, ABBA Voyage has clearly demonstrated its been worth the investment, selling more than 1.5 million tickets to generate over US$150 million (AU$235 million) in box office revenue — and becoming one of the year’s highest-earning shows in the process.

With an average ticket price of approximately £85 (AU$167), that means it’s consistently raking in more than US$2 million (AU$3.1 million) week after week.

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Within the custom-built ABBA Arena featuring 291 speakers and LED screens that make the venue’s internal dimensions seem even grander than the already-impressive reality, three-dimensional renderings of the Swedish supergroup — exactly as they appeared in their heyday — take to the stage to perform 22 of their biggest (and most memorable) hits.

The band enlisted the help of Lucasfilm visual effects subsidiary, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), to help create something visually immersive and believable enough to satisfy a paying audience. ILM then used 160 motion-capture cameras to record them in action, before digitally de-aging them with help from 1,000 visual effects artists.

The producers also filmed younger body doubles who were able to imitate the way the band used to move in the 70s. As ABBA’s own Benny Andersson explained to Rolling Stone:

“If you’re 75, you don’t jump around like you did when you were 34.”

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Due to its consistently high demand, ABBA Voyage is expected to run in London for years to come. Its producers are even in early discussions to expand the show to other cities around the world such as Las Vegas, New York, Singapore, and right there in Sydney; it’s also opened up the possibility for hologram shows of other iconic artists who want their fans to witness them in perpetuity.

“If you are an artist, you can create your legacy in a way you never could before,” said Per Sundin, CEO of Pophouse Entertainment (this undertaking’s lead investor).

“This is such a success. We already have been talking to some artists that really want to do this.”

What a strange time to be alive.

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