Music

ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus: ‘Pop stars live streaming songs from their kitchen is boring’


ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus has said that pop stars streaming lockdown concerts from their kitchens is “boring” and no substitute for the return of full-capacity shows.

Musicians have turned their homes into impromptu concert spaces in order to connect with fans, after Covid-19 wiped out their touring plans.

But the Swedish hitmaker isn’t a fan. “We’ve seen pop stars streaming their latest song live from their kitchen. Let’s agree on one thing – however talented they are, it’s boring. Boring!,” said Ulvaeus, 75.

He added: “As a former pop star myself, I take the liberty to say that. It will never be a substitute for a packed stadium or a sold-out theatre performance in the West End or on Broadway.”

Live lockdown shows

Fans flocked to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco live-streamed karaoke performances from her West London home. The singer has announced a nationwide Kitchen Disco tour next Spring.

Liam Gallagher’s kitchen lesson

Liam Gallagher sang an adapted version of Wonderwall, encouraging fans to wash their hands, from his kitchen sink.

Sir Cliff Richard chose to sing from the bathroom of his Barbados home, in a virtual duet with Gary Barlow, because of the superior acoustics.

Ulvaeus was speaking in his role as the President of CISAC (International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), which released a report showing that creators of music, visual arts, drama and literature will lose £3.1bn of income this year, a 35 per cent slump.

“This is the time for governments to show they take creative industries seriously. It is time for policymakers to wake up and act,” the musician said.

Bjorn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad of ABBA, perform on stage at the Wembley Arena, London, England, on November 5th, 1979 (Photo: Gus Stewart/Redferns)

‘Without a song or a dance what are we?’

Quoting an ABBA line – “Without a song or a dance what are we?” – Ulvaeus warned: “Whole communities of small live music, film and visual arts venues might disappear forever. Concerts and cinema will be damaged for many years.”

“Most theatres around the world are extremely ill-equipped to cope with social distancing and they are also dependent on an older, and thus more vulnerable audience.”

Royalties from concerts, venues and public performances have borne the brunt of the pandemic and are forecasted to decline by 60-80 per cent in 2020, CISAC found.

The UK was No 5 in the world for royalties collections from the creative arts in 2019 with an 8.4 per cent market share. With year-on-year growth in collections of 12.3 per cent, the UK outperformed the global market – until the pandemic.



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