Overkill | 19 May 2004
Year after year ABBA fans saw zero releases or at the most a number that was close to zero. This year alone, the sheer number of releases and re-releases is incredible. Maybe even too much?
When Universal Music in Sweden took control over the ABBA catalogue, a lot of work needed to be done. The shabby 1997 remasters had to be dealt with and the lack of a consequent international release policy was evident.
It has to be said that Universal Sweden has done a good job in reinstating ABBA's back catalogue. They re-released every single album, came up with great artwork and booklets (thanks to Carl Magnus Palm) and that hard work paid off. The new DVD market was "attacked" by the superb DVD "The Definitive Collection" and now we also have the "In Concert" DVD. Obviously the next important release will be "ABBA The Movie". And after that we will have all major ABBA releases, repackaged in a great style.
But with the entire back catalogue being re-released there still seems to be room for more releases. Like the Sound and Vision sets; a CD + DVD in a deluxe box. There is Gold in its umpteenth version, The Definitive collection, Waterloo and even Arrival and ABBA.
You might wonder what is Universal thinking? Why on earth would we all want these releases at the exact same moment? And there's more: In the UK the Waterloo single has been re-released in three different formats and also in the UK a new Gold version has seen the light of day. And there's another Mamma Mia musical CD. Why oh why should we want those products?
I can understand the international 30th anniversary rerelease of Waterloo. This Sound and Vision box contains new official material. There are four different tv performances on it. In fact it's a FAB release that every fan should have. I also love the "In concert" DVD. Great quality and value for money.
But all the other new ABBA stuff? Hmmm. I don't like them at all. And I doubt that these products actually sell. The average fan doesn't want to spend a fortune in 2004 for a bunch of new and yet old releases. I think that Universal made a BIG mistake by creating all those new items. They should have sticked tyo their policy by creating true new releases. And they should have spread these releases over the year. I assume that every marketing student will tell you that flooding the market with items is not exactly the smartest thing to do.
But wait! There's even more. Because we haven't discussed the new Agnetha album and consequent singles yet. I know that Agnetha has been signed to another company. But with so many ABBA and Agnetha releases it is hard for ABBA fans to keep up.
So, dear record companies, please stick to only a few releases every year. I've come to the point where I don't want to spend a single cent on ABBA. I'm simply getting too old for this shit.
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