Sweden’s ABBA files suit over royalties. By Mike Hennessey

Stockholm, Sweden

Members of the former pop group ABBA are taking legal action against Swedish impresario Stig Anderson, alleging underpayment of royalties. The singers/musicians/songwritters – Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, and Frida Lyngstad – are claiming 27 million Swedish kroner, plus interest, a total of some $US7 million.

ABBA, the most successful pop music act in Scandinavian history, sold a total of 240 million units worldwide in the 10 years following its triumph in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo.

The group’s original recording contract with Anderson’s Polar Records, of which ABBA owned 50%, provided for a 3½% royalty outside Sweden. This was raised in 1981 to 11%, including a producer’s royalty within Sweden, and 6% outside Sweden

But ABBA is claiming that from January 1st, 1983, it should have received a 9% royalty, excluding the producer’s royalty, following a new verbal agreement with Anderson.

Anderson is acknowledging that he would have been willing to pay a 9% royalty worldwide on all future recordings, provided the group could guarantee new product. In fact, the group broke up and there was no new product and, therefore, no new agreement.

The case is expected to come to court before the end of this year. Meanwhile, Polygram, which now owns Polar Records and all the ABBA masters, is planning release early next year of an ABBA compilation on a double CD featuring all the A and B sides of the group’s hit singles. Up to now, the B sides have never been issued on long play recordings. Transcribed for ABBA World

Billboard (USA) · 20 October 1990 (Pages 72)

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