ABBA’s virtual show boosts London’s economy to the tune of $225 million

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FILE PHOTO: Members of Swedish music band ABBA arrive for the opening performance of the “ABBA Voyage” concert in London, Britain May 26, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Thank you for the music, London’s authorities might say, after Swedish pop group ABBA’s digital concert residency raked in 178 million pounds ($225 million) in terms of net economic benefit to the British capital in its first year.

ABBA Voyage recreates Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad as high-tech, digital versions of themselves from their 1970s heyday, thanks to motion-capture technology.

The show, which has been seen by more than 1 million people, generated a total turnover of 322.6 million pounds in the 12 months since it opened in May 2022, according to an analysis by Sound Diplomacy and RealWorth published on Thursday.

Fans are willing to fork out ever-increasing amounts for concert tickets to see big artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé perform live, and in ABBA’s case, virtually live.

A standing ticket for ABBA’s show is priced at just over 100 pounds for some dates next summer, comparable to live concerts by Swift, who brings her record breaking “Eras” tour to Britain next year.

Accompanied by a live band, the avatars, or ABBA-tars, perform some 20 songs during the 90-minute show, featuring the band in their signature glittering outfits.

The lighting and special effects create the illusion of the Swedish pop superstars on stage in a purpose-built arena in east London.

ABBA, whose members are now in their 70s, worked with an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic, founded by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, for the project.

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