If there’s one thing that can be said of CISAC, the global confederation of performing rights societies, its recent presidents have impeccable artistic pedigree: The organization announced today that Abba cofounder Björn Ulvaeus has been elected as the next president, replacing electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, who is stepping down from the post after seven years — and who replaced Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb as president in 2013. He was elected president by the General Assembly of CISAC — the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — which took place in a virtual meeting earlier this week.
Ulvaeus, who cowrote all of Abba’s hits with keyboardist Benny Anderson, has written more than 150 hit songs and shows — and significantly is a vocal campaigner for the rights of creators. During Abba’s nearly unprecedented global success in the 1970s and 1980s, the group, together with late manager Stig Andersson, became a powerful business entity, particularly in the realm of music publishing and intellectual property, and had an influence on the Swedish pop industry of the past three decades that was equally vast in terms of music and business. Thus, Ulvaeus brings a deep understanding of the creative industries and the systems that help authors obtain fair payment for their works.
According to the announcement, as president of CISAC, which has a three-year term, Ulvaeus will support the confederation’s work to secure stronger rights, more royalties, better systems, and improved conditions for creators across five repertoires – music, audiovisual, visual arts, drama and literature.
CISAC represents more than 230 authors societies in over 120 countries, and through this community, its role is to support the global network of collective management of rights for more than 4 million creators. The organization is responsible for collecting €9.6 billion of licensing income and royalties worldwide.
Of his new role, Ulvaeus said: “I have made a great living as a songwriter and an artist, and I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed a lot of success. Now, as President of CISAC, I am happy to have a different kind of opportunity, to try and help the next generation of creators in their working lives. CISAC has a unique international authority, and I believe passionately in its mission to secure better, fairer terms for creators. I am also interested in how the technologies we use can work better, earning creators fairer rewards for their work and more royalties. I am therefore very excited about the opportunities ahead and looking forward to our collaboration”.
CISAC Director General Gadi Oron said: “Björn Ulvaeus has moved us, inspired us and lit up our lives with his songs and creations. I am absolutely thrilled that he has decided to take on the role of CISAC President, to support us in our mission to serve creators internationally. Björn has an extraordinary track record – as a creator himself, as a champion for creators’ rights, and as an expert in the systems which ensure creators are fairly paid. These qualities will be invaluable to CISAC’s work and we look forward immensely to collaborating with him.”