The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

ABBA Voyage team ‘in talks’ for Elvis virtual show

The Swedish entertainment firm that helped bring ABBA Voyage to life is reportedly in talks to revive Elvis Presley in hologram form for live shows.

The Financial Times reports that Pophouse Entertainment, whose co-founder is ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, has engaged in discussions with Sony Music, which owns the rights to Presley’s work, and investment company Authentic Brands Group, owner of the singer’s image and likeness.

Ulvaeus teased the potential agreement at a conference in Germany earlier this month, saying: “I would like to see the young Elvis come alive again.”

Pophouse, Sony and ABG declined to comment on the report, which claims the talks have focused on a commercial partnership rather than a sale of the music rights or IP, as opposed to the recent deal that saw Kiss sells the rights to their name, music, image and likeness to Pophouse. The firm has confirmed plans for a Kiss avatar show in 2027, along with a biopic and themed experience.

Presley, who died in 1977 aged 42, was introduced to a new generation in 2022 via the smash-hit big screen biopic Elvis, directed by Baz Luhrmann.

A separate production, Elvis Evolution, is due to launch in London this November

A separate production, Elvis Evolution – a collaboration between Elvis Presley Enterprises, Authentic Brands Group and immersive specialist Layered Reality (LR) – is due to launch in London this November, with further stops planned in Las Vegas, Berlin and Tokyo.

The virtual concert will feature “a life sized digital Elvis” who will “share his most iconic songs and moves for the very first time on a UK stage”, made possible thanks to LR’s “unique blend of technology, augmented reality, theatre, projection and multi-sensory effects”.

A previous show, Elvis In Concert: Live On Screen, toured UK arenas in 2016. The concert experience, which was promoted by Kennedy Street and AAA in conjunction with Elvis’ estate, featured archive performance footage of Presley on video screens, accompanied live on stage by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The production returned to The O2 in London last year.

ABBA Voyage, which blends the virtual and physical worlds, has sold more than two million tickets since launching at the demountable 3,000-cap ‘ABBA Arena’ in 2022. Producer Svana Gisla gave an insight into the show during  Touring Entertainment Live (TEL) at this year’s ILMC.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ABBA Voyage takings ‘more than $2m a week’

The smash-hit ABBA Voyage virtual concert residency has created a new model for ageing legends after grossing more than $2 million (€1.87m) a week, according to a new report.

Held at the purpose-built 3,000-cap ‘ABBA Arena’ under the direction of producers Svana Gisla and Ludvig Andersson and director Baillie Walsh, the show debuted at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in May 2022 to universal acclaim.

One of the most expensive productions in music history, the £140m (€164m) show has brought the Swedish group – Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus (co-founder of lead investor Pophouse Entertainment), Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – back to the stage in avatar form, supported by a 10-piece live band.

ABBA Arena is designed to fit 1,650 seats and space for a standing audience of 1,350. According to Bloomberg, the residency has already generated upwards of €140m in sales after selling over 1.5 million tickets, achieving a 99% occupancy rate with an average ticket price of around £85 (€100).

Discussions are reportedly taking place to expand ABBA Voyage to cities including Las Vegas, New York, Singapore and Sydney, and Pophouse CEO Per Sundin says other icons have expressed interest in developing similar productions.

“If you are an artist, you can create your legacy in a way you never could before”

“If you are an artist, you can create your legacy in a way you never could before,” Sundin tells Bloomberg. “This is such a success. We already have been talking to some artists that really want to do this.

“ABBA has done it again. They were early to music videos, they were early to jukebox musicals.”

The four members of ABBA spent five weeks being filmed by 160 cameras for motion capture as they performed the 22 songs that make up the show’s 95-minute runtime. Other key team members include co-executive producer Johan Renck, choreographer Wayne McGregor and AV tech specialist Solotech UK, led by director of special projects Ian “Woody” Woodall.

Speaking to IQ last year, Ludvig Andersson (son of Benny) said the show was six years in the making.

“An idea came to the Stockholm office of ABBA that it might be possible to create digital versions of themselves, and that’s basically how it started,” he said. “Then followed three years of research and development: a lot of conversations around tables in different cities, with different people about what can and cannot be done. Slowly, slowly through that process, we ended up with the idea that became what it is today.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.