Pophouse Entertainment Voyages Beyond ABBA

Photo courtesy Pophouse

Pophouse Entertainment is on a roll. It all began when the company “took a chance” on ABBA, turning what could have been a simple retrospective into a beacon for pop music lovers worldwide with ABBA the Museum in Stockholm. Now, celebrating over a decade of operations — and recent acquisitions of the Cyndi Lauper and KISS catalogs — Pophouse is amplifying legacies across generations.

“Our projects begin with a respect for the legacy and a dialogue with the fans,” says Claire Houghton-Price, Development Director and Producer at Pophouse. “We don’t just create shows; they’re experiences where the past and present fuse, inviting everyone into the narrative.”

As the company marks ABBA’s 50th anniversary this year (ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus is a co-founder of Pophouse), it’s not just celebrating the past, but building a future filled with innovative entertainment experiences. Since its launch in London in July 2022, ABBA Voyage — the concert featuring the band’s 1979 virtual avatars — has grossed more than $1 million per week. Pophouse is a founding investor in ABBA Voyage which was created with Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, directed by Baillie Walsh and produced by Svana Gisla and Ludvig Andersson. 

“In the last couple of years we’ve supercharged our IP acquisitions, driving forward the entertainment portion of our business off the back of successes like ABBA Voyage and Avicii Experience,” says Claire.

But don’t get it twisted; at Pophouse, technology serves as the stage, not the spotlight.

Face scans of KISS band members, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss for their virtual avatars. Image courtesy Pophouse Entertainment

“We dream first, innovate second. It’s about ensuring that the technological enhancements serve the story and the community, not the other way around,” says Claire.

With any artist, as soon as Pophouse begins working with them — and sometimes even before they’re officially involved — Pophouse’s creative department meets with the artist’s team to build a long-term vision. This ensures the experience is authentic ABBA, Avicii, Cyndi or KISS. For Claire and Kim Nyström, Pophouse Brand and Marketing Director, it’s about recognizing that Pophouse is joining a journey that started decades prior, not starting a story from scratch.

While there are plenty of digital-first — and digital-only — immersive experiences across the metaverse, Pophouse isn’t trying to become another Roblox or Decentraland. “We care about the human journey and want to focus on bridging our physical and digital worlds before anyone’s ready for purely digital,” says Kim.

“Being faithful to the legacy and not changing things to the point that it becomes unrecognizable or inauthentic is huge,” says Claire. “We’d never start with technology. We dream up something really cool that we think fans will love, that feels faithful to the creative DNA and the vision and is the right next step in the journey. Then we hope that the technology will meet us where our vision is.”

Looking ahead, Pophouse isn’t slowing down.

Cyndi Lauper and Björn Ulvaeus. Image courtesy Eric Broms

The recent acquisition of Cyndi Lauper’s and KISS’s catalogs is a testament to their dynamic process. Cyndi even noted that Pophouse’s unique approach of creatively integrating music and art with technology was what set it apart from other offers she received. Together, the pop star and the entertainment brand aim to expand her musical legacy through live shows, television appearances and an immersive theater experience inspired by Cyndi’s life and the influential women in her family, set in her grandmother’s garden in Queens, New York.

“Imagine the possibilities,” says Claire. “A musical inspired by Cyndi’s life, integrating her vibrant music with stories that touch the heart. It’s like planning the ultimate celebration, one that honors the past while exciting the future.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS sold their music catalog, name, image, likeness, and iconic makeup designs to Pophouse — in a deal reportedly valued over $300 million — for a KISS avatar concert similar to ABBA Voyage.

“The longtime fans — for ABBA, and soon for Cyndi and KISS — are great ambassadors who help new fans embrace the universe,” says Kim. “You always want to pass on something you love, whether that’s to your children, your friends or someone you’ve only met on the internet.”

Image courtesy Pophouse Entertainment

Kim Nyström, Brand & Marketing Director

Kim Nyström is Pophouse Entertainment Brand and Marketing Director, having joined in 2022 as Brand Director. She works closely with Pophouse talent to develop strategies and campaigns which promote their work, enshrining and enhancing artistic output and legacy. Kim joined Pophouse from The Absolut Group, where she spent over a decade in senior marketing and strategy roles. Kim studied at Uppsala University (business) and Stockholm School of Economics (MSc, marketing).

Claire Houghton-Price, Development Director & Producer

Claire joined Pophouse in May 2022 from Warner Bros Entertainment, where she spent nearly six years on the Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team, which is responsible for the development and execution of the high-level strategic vision for the Harry Potter brand. Before that, she worked at The Blair Partnership, J.K. Rowling’s management agency. At Pophouse, Claire is responsible for Entertainment Research & Development. She is a graduate of Cardiff University.

Join us in XP Land. A community for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all of those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.

Welcome To
Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.