Not So Happy New Year | 11 December 2011
On 21 november Universal suprised many ABBA fans: they issues a limited edition of 500 copies of Happy New Year on coloured vinyl. Many ABBA fans had complained year after year that there were no fan-releases, so you would think that they were over the moon. Well, not all of them were.
Because only when you were at home on 21 november, had immediate access to the internet and bought a copy seconds after you heared about the single you had a chance of obtaining a copy. I came home late at night and the entire edition was sold out. The item had been purchased by many, not only by fans. Which has lead to the following situation on eBay: some sellers (mostly record shops) sell the single for 10 times its original value: 200 Euros or more is no exception.
I have no objection to eBay or commercial retailers, but Universal could have handled things a bit nicer if they wanted true fans to get a copy. Fans living in Australia or America had no chance whatsoever because of the time the sale was announced.
The same had happened when the replica ABBA necklace came on the market. A lot of items were bought by professional vendors. Simply to get a huge profit by reselling them on eBay. Which is legitimate, but you could wonder if that was the goal that Universal had when selling the necklace in the first place. I think that they created the items for the true fans.
I strongly believe that the Happy New Year single deserved a better way of selling. For instance: by having the fan club sell every single. Only to members of the fan club and by selling only one copy per member. Then the 'market' wouldn't have had a chance to grab every possible item. And more fans would have been made happier.
Compare this with U2: the band releases limited edition promo only CDs or double CDs pure for their fans. If you are a fan club member (at US $ 40 a year) you automatically get a copy of this CD. They do this every year! And this year fans even have a say in the contents of the next release: you can vote for the best live track for the forthcoming fan club only CD. The 22 most loved tracks from their last tour will be released.
If Universal really cares about ABBA's fans (and I believe they do), they should question whether the current way of selling limited editions can be improved. Because now it turns out to be a Not So Happy New Year for the diehard fans.
Speaking of Happy New Year: I wish all visitors of ABBA Plaza a fantastic 2012.