ABBA returns on social media

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Pop group ABBA is planning to release their new album “Voyage” on Nov. 5. The 10-track album is their first since 1981 when they released “The Visitors.”

The band released two songs, “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down,” from the upcoming album on Sept. 2. In addition to creating their first album after their break in 1982, the band is planning a 2022 virtual concert, which will take place in an arena in London on May 27. 

The new album and virtual show come after several songs, including “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen,” went viral on TikTok over the summer.

Dr. Lance Beaumont, assistant professor of music and associate dean of graduate studies and program development, said that social media platforms such as TikTok have helped lead to revivals for artists decades into their careers. He said ABBA’s return during an era in which social media is prevalent might help them reach a younger audience.

“I think for sure (social media) has expanded their fan base, kind of like what we see with Fleetwood Mac and what happened about a year ago now with a resurgence of their music,” Beaumont said, referring to “Dreams” going viral on TikTok as well. “It is giving people who might be younger and who had no exposure to who ABBA was outside of ‘Mamma Mia.’ They are now probably exploring their catalog, listening to their music and finding out that they like a band that existed decades ago.”

Since technology has changed tremendously in the last four decades, Beaumont said that how music is popularized and shared has also changed.

“The Internet and social media have given artists a platform they did not have before,” Beaumont said. “Before when it was just the radio, a DJ was driving your music. If they liked your music, your music was going to get out there, but if not, you were relegated to living in obscurity or just having a small following. Now that we have moved to the Internet age, you can promote yourself and remove that middle man. The ripple effects of the distribution (on social media) are just massive.”

India Regan, junior communications major, said she thinks the accessibility of music through the Internet and TikTok trends will develop a new set of ABBA fans.

“Because of information accessibility, younger generations can explore older and less-known fashion and music,” Regan said. “What is culturally popular right now is to be individualistic and as niche as possible. Listening to older music is part of that for a lot of young adults now.”

Lilly Vargas, sophomore studio production major, is excited that ABBA is releasing new music. She said that platforms like TikTok are instrumental in promoting new songs and artists, and she feels that social media will help ABBA communicate more easily with their fans.

“ABBA’s music is timeless,” Vargas said. “There are many young people who I personally know also love ABBA and grew up listening to them just like I did. I do not know if some of their songs will have more of a modern twist of pop, but we will not know until they release their album. I can only hope younger audiences listen to them with an open mind and appreciation for their art.”

Beaumont said that ABBA’s digitally-created show could inspire some other bands to pursue their own creative avenues. However, he said the expense of constructing an immersive virtual show like ABBA’s might prevent it from becoming a common phenomenon.

“I know Coldplay, for example, is really big on greenhouse emissions, and they have refused to tour until they can have a tour that contributes zero emissions, so this could be a way for them to tour,” Beaumont said. “They could (tour) in a virtual way and have different locations set up the stage for them to do it virtually.”

ABBA’s show will feature 22 of their most popular hits. Tickets became available on Sept. 7.

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