April 11 - As Swedish pop group ABBA celebrate 40 years since their hit 'Waterloo' shot them to international stardom, Hayley Platt looks at their business empire - which continues to make Money, 26 years after the group split up.
It was the hit record that shot Swedish pop group ABBA to super stardom. Waterloo won them the EuroVision Song Contest in 1974. Forty years on Bjorn and Frida, one half of ABBA, have been celebrating their success in London. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABBA MEMBER, ANNI-FRID (FRIDA) LYNGSTAD SAYING: "We knew a bit about the business and the mix of the talents were probably a wonderful thing and also being couples, being together and explore that world, you know, it was a new, a new kind of thing for all of us." With Benny and Agnetha, they went on to become one of the biggest-selling pop groups of all time. They had nine number-one singles in the UK, although only Dancing Queen made the top slot in the States. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ABBA MEMBER, BJORN ULVAEUS, SAYING: "It happened over quite a long period of time. I mean, we didn't have a hit after hit after hit, we, we had a hit and then we wrote another song, recorded it, and released it. It was like that. It seems today when you look back at it as though it was all happening at the same time but it wasn't." The group has sold almost 400 million albums world wide. ABBA The Movie is the biggest grossing video of all time. And one in five UK households has a copy of their GOLD album They also still manage to sell at least a million CDs every year. The stage musical Mama Mia - based on their songs - packs threatres too. A new show opened in Vienna just last month and further productions in Las Vegas and Helsinki are planned for later in the year. David Haigh is from Brand Finance. SOUNDBITE: David Haigh, Brand Finance, saying (English): "It's grossed somewhere in the order of $600 million dollars, the records have grossed something like a billion dollars and apparently ABBA is Vladimir Putin's favourite group. They are absolutely a world phenomenon." The financial success of the brand is largely down to Bjorn. SOUNDBITE: David Haigh, Brand Finance, saying (English): "A group typically wouldn't get more than 10 percent/15 percent of the total gross. The copyright owner gets a much larger chunk. So of the four in ABBA the two boys. Bjorn and Benny are far richer than the two ladies, Anna-Frid and Agnetha because Bjorn and Benny wrote all the songs." The group hasn't performed together for 26 years. And they insist they'll never be a reunion, even though they could probably name any price if they did.