A Belgian article discussing all the money that’s coming in ABBA’s drawer and the difficulties surrounding the writing and recording of the new album Voulez-Vous.
It would be a hopeless task to try and find out just how wealthy ABBA is at the moment: the large sums of money are tied up in several business enterprises and the balance-sheet is changing from day to day, therefore the four don’t even know themselves how much money is in the golden drawer.
“But we are definitely not Sweden’s wealthiest company, like has often been claimed lately,” Björn ardently contradicts. “We are making enormous profits, that’s true, but I think it’s sad that people refer to ABBA as a company, an enterprise. It’s not like we are writing songs while we are thinking about the profits. We leave the financial side to other people, that we’ve employed especially for that matter. We are not money-grubbers, you can take that from us! However, money is important to us, in the sense that we’ve been able to establish a record company of our own and therefore have less limitations on an artistic level than any other group. But for the rest, we haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy our money, for the simple reason that we don’t have any spare time. Benny and Frida have purchased a boat recently, that’s the first present that they’ve allowed themselves in all those years. Anna and I have made a few changes in our home, that’s all. Look, every month we get an allowance from our own company, transferred to our personal account, to support ourselves and things like that. It has never occurred that we’ve taken extra money out of our own company to afford ourselves some kind of extravagance. Isn’t that proof enough that the money is not the most important thing for us?”
A huge part of ABBA’s income goes to taxes, and for a while there has been talk of moving abroad. It has been discussed, and eventually our four friends still decided to stay in Sweden.
“Even when we considered moving abroad, it was not in the first place due to taxes. But because we wanted to live in a sunnier country. Look, it’s not that difficult for an English artist that moves to the States. For starters, they speak the same language over there! At first sight, that may seem unimportant, but in the long run it will start to weigh heavily! No, I believe all four of us would get homesick pretty soon. A true Swede is rather home-loving...”
In all those years, the large sums of money have given ABBA the freedom that every artist dreams of. But it also has its disadvantages, Björn claims.
“When you are wealthy, you’re also in danger of kidnapping and robbery. To be honest, we’re not that well guarded at home. A simple alarm system, that’s all. It’s not that we hear very much about kidnapping and theft in Sweden, but you never know! But we have one security: our maid is worth her weight in gold! She’s a judo expert, she would give possible burglars or kidnappers a difficult time!”
At the moment, ABBA is busy recording the new album. Björn doesn’t know yet when it will be released exactly.
“These days, we need more time than we used to,” according to Björn. “At the moment, we’ve finished only five songs. It’s not because we’re such perfectionists! We hardly worked a couple of weeks on our very first album. But it’s getting more difficult than ever to come up with original songs. To write a song that doesn’t resemble one or the other old song. I think that’s a problem that every artist, that has been on top longer than two years, has to deal with. It’s not very easy to reach the top, but staying there is even harder.”