Is this why ABBA's new music has been delayed? Bjorn Ulvaeus supports Article 13 and criticises YouTube

26 March 2019, 15:57

Bjorn Ulvaeus
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Today (March 26), the European Parliament backed controversial copyright laws, that some critics say could change how the internet is consumed.

One person who will be happy however, is ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The new rules include holding tech giants like YouTube responsible for material posted without proper copyright permission. Many musicians and creators say the new rules will help fairly compensate artists, but others claim it will destroy user-generated content.

Writing in a personal blog for The Guardian, ABBA legend Bjorn spoke of why he was lending his support for Article 13.

"Ever since Shakespeare’s day, 'for a song' has been an idiom that represents something you get very cheaply," he wrote. "The YouTubes of this world know this, and they’d like to keep it that way. They say thank you for the music and make millions off songs we all love and cherish while the writer gets a pittance.

"I’m not complaining because I personally get too little, I’m complaining because it’s galling that the tech giants keep so much. And when it comes to less fortunate songwriters than myself I’d much rather they got a larger share, so that they can afford to work on their art, writing full-time."

He continued: "Conspiracy theories aside, the copyright clause in the US constitution of 1787 states that it is intended “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”.

"It was a good idea then and it is still a good idea now. If content creators of all forms can live off their work, they will become better at their craft and that will ultimately be good for society. This is the core of the EU copyright directive and I think all content creators should support it."

He ended his post quite amazingly, saying: "After all, 'Without a song or a dance what are we?'".

Bjorn's stance on Article 13 may perhaps be one of the factors behind the delay of new ABBA music, which was originally scheduled to be released in late 2018.

He has reunited with Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Faltskog for a couple of new songs, but they have yet to be revealed.