ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus has warned the “joy of songwriting” is being lost due to hit singles are written by teams of collaborators.
Speaking at the Great Escape music conference, Ulvaeus claimed the “industrialisation” of writing meant that up to 12 people might now be credited in creating a hit.
Ulvaeus said said writers often never meet but add different elements to the track, such as a beat or lyric line, digitally, adding: “Five writers is not good enough so they add another one and so on, that’s how it works.”
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The pop legend said he preferred the “old-fashioned” method of “two people writing together, only keeping the best of everything, so what you do comes from the heart.”
That was how Ulvaeus and ABBA co-founder Benny Andersson wrote their hits. “I fear the joy of songwriting is not quite there in the industrialisation situation.”
Ulvaeus called on streaming giants to increase the payments they give to songwriters when their music is played.
The musician said “niche” artists with a limited Spotify audience are unable to make a living because a larger share of the streaming pie goes to “mega-streamer” artists like Drake and Justin Bieber.
Rudimental’s dance track These Days, named the most-performed song of 2018 at the Ivor Novello Awards, featured nine credited songwriters.
Chart singles now have an average of five writers, according to Music Week.