The Swedish supergroup, ABBA, could sue the UK Conservative Party for illicitly using their song ‘Dancing Queen’ to accompany Theresa May’s entrance to her keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday.
The UK Prime Minister was widely ridiculed for dancing her way onto stage to the band’s legendary tune yesterday, but a precedent set by the Swedish band against political parties using their music could see the Tories facing legal action.
In 2010, ABBA threatened to sue a right-wing Danish political party for pulling a similar stunt by using the Swedish band’s music without permission.
During this 2010 dispute, ABBA declared that they “never” give permission for their music “to be used in a political context“, and it is understood that the Conservative Party also failed to approach ABBA for permission to use their hit, Dancing Queen, to accompany Theresa May’s entrance yesterday.
In 2010, the Danish People’s Party were found to have illegally used ABBA’s hit, Mamma Mia, as a rally song for their leader, changing the lyrics to celebrate the success of their anti-immigrant rhetoric.
At the time, the move led to ABBA members, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, telling the right-wing Danish political party to “bugger off“.
Andersson also went on to clarify that:
“Firstly, you cannot just rewrite songs as you like, and secondly we want them to understand that we have absolutely no interest in supporting their party.”
“Abba never allows its music to be used in a political context. This is something that we have pointed out to the Danish People’s Party.”
The ABBA members were first made aware of the illicit use of their song by the Danish People’s Party after a left-wing activist wrote to the band asking them if they were supporters of the right-wing party.
Following the dispute, ABBA instructed their record company to pursue legal action again the Danish political party – action that resulted in an out of court settlement.
However, given the precedent set by ABBA in 2010 against political parties using their music, the Conservative Party’s apparent decision to use the song without permission could land them in yet more hot water.
The Tories began their 2018 Conference in disastrous fashion, after launching an app that managed to inadvertently disclose the personal details and phone numbers of numerous MPs, Cabinet Members, and journalists.
But following Theresa May’s dancing antics receiving sycophantic praise from the UK mainstream media, the Conservative Party probably thought their troubles were over.
Evolve Politics have contacted both ABBA and the Conservative Party for comment. At the time of publishing, we had not yet received a response from either.