ABBA World blog – year two

This week the ABBA World blog celebrated its second anniversary. A few weeks ago it passed 100,000 visitors, and this is the 99th post.

Here’s a look back at some of my favourite posts in the second year.

ABBA The Official Site – first day

ABBA The Official SiteAs anticipated the new version of the official ABBA site was launched on Wednesday 4 March.

ABBA The Official Site, as it is now known, has been online for a little over 24 hours and fans have had the chance to look it over, poring over the content.

The new look is very crisp, clean and modern, with predominantly golden brown tones. Many features carry over from the old version – The Story (biographies), Articles (In Focus and News), Music (discography of albums, singles and DVDs). Pictures is an all-new photo gallery. Happily the old In Focus and News items remain.

The Store features the merchandise that was available previously – including CDs, DVDs, solo material, clothing and more – plus some all new items including exclusive t-shirts. A new digital music store and ringtones are currently available only in Sweden, but there is a link to open your local iTunes ABBA store. There is also a link to the official YouTube ABBA channel, featuring ABBA videos and commercials.

Another new feature allows fans to submit their own “Picture of the week”. Visitors can sign up for a newsletter that promises “exclusive ABBA news, all the fun things, special offers and competitions”. Time will tell how successful these features are.

Some features have not (so far) carried over. Song lyrics are gone, as are the downloads (wallpapers and screensavers) and the Worldwide links section. 

New interactive features such as the “Media” music and video player can be slow to load. The video clips are still the same unremastered clips from the the 1992 VHS masters used on old site. The fixed width is actually too wide for the popular 1024×768 pixels resolution.

What’s surprisingly missing is any reference to the Mamma Mia! musical, aside from a couple of the old articles. The old version had a permenant banner.

Fan reaction has typically been split. Many praise the new look, but others complain that it doesn’t look typically ABBA (though just as many thought that the previous version was too blue, too cold). Others argue that it’s too commercial, just to make money, as if making ABBA music available is somehow wrong.

Compared to The Beatles‘ site, with its focus on The Beatles Love Cirque de Soliel show in Las Vegas and emphasis on new releases (including a Rock Band video game and overpriced nick-nacks, but half of the catalogue and the film Let It Be remain unavailable), the ABBA site is very fan friendly.

A poll on the front page right now shows that 65.54% of visitors like the new site, 22.28% prefer the old site, and 12.18% have no opinion.

ABBA in Pictures exhibition

ABBA in PicturesFans disappointed about the postponment of the opening of ABBA the Museum will be pleased to hear about a new exhibition, ABBA in Pictures, that opens in Stockholm in May.

ABBA in Pictures will be held at Gallerian shopping mall in central Stockholm from 15 May to 13 September 2009. Tickets will be available from 1 April or at the door.

The exhibition promises that “the visitor will physically enter the world of the stars and experience the ABBA story through hundreds of well-known and never-before-seen photographs” by photographers including Anders Hanser and Torbjörn Calvero.

For more information see the exhibition’s website.

UPDATE 9 MARCH: according to the Official International ABBA Fan Club, the exhibition has been cancelled due to “rights issues” but may go ahead at a later date.

Official ABBA site to relaunch

Word on the net is that the revamped official ABBA site will be launched on Wednesday 4 March, and will include an on-line music store.

From Swedish media site Media Culpa:

There was an interesting article in Dagens Industri today (online but subscription required) about ABBA, the Swedish music group. On Wednesday the band will launch an online music store on its website where they will sell ABBA songs directly to fans. One of the smart features of the music store is that fans will be able to embed it on their blogs or Facebook profiles, literarily creating tens of thousands of ABBA stores online.

With the store, created by the Swedish company Dimest, the band will be able to keep as much as 90 percent of the revenues from the sale. The songs will be sold as mp3 files in higher quality than Itunes and without copyright protection.

ABBA has more than 175,000 members in its online community and leveraging the fans is a smart strategy.

Stay tuned for more news.

Source: ABBA to launch online music store. Thanks to icethesite.

Link: ABBA – The Official Site

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