As the one-year anniversary of Avicii’s April 28 death nears, the Swedish musician’s fans were gifted this week with his first posthumous song, “SOS,” from his upcoming album of music that he had nearly finished before his suicide in 2018. The album, titled Tim in honor of his birth name, will be released on June 6.
Who Approved Avicii’s Posthumous Album and Where Will Its Proceeds Go?
The album announcement this month and subsequent first song release surprised some fans and casual music lovers alike, who immediately wondered who signed off on this posthumous project and whose pockets would benefit from its sales.
Projects like these certainly keep musicians’ legacies alive, but sometimes the projects also serve as profitable marketing ploys from record labels to sell records and increase streams on music services to capitalize on grieving fans’ emotions, hence fans’ initial concerns over the surprise announcement. Some of the top-earning dead celebrities (think Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley and, even more recently, XXXTentacion) and the teams handling their posthumous projects have benefited from such tactics, although it’s difficult to quantify the exact financial impact from those efforts.
So what’s the 411 on the project for Avicii? Here’s a quick rundown.
Who approved this project?
The family of Avicii, born Tim Bergling in 1989, spearheaded and approved this project after he left behind “nearly finished songs along with notes, email conversations and text messages about the music,” according to the family’s album announcement.
In the preview video below, Avicii’s father, Klas Bergling, confirms the family’s decision: “Tim’s mother and I decided Tim’s music should be released to his fans and to people who want to listen to it. We don’t want it to be locked in.”
“Tim had narrowed it down to 16 songs, and it was those 16 songs that he played for us. We went through them when we were having our last telephone conversation,” explains Per Sundin, president of Universal Music Nordic Region. “Two months after he passed away, then we started to say, ‘OK, how should we do this? How can we honor him as much as possible with his 16 songs?’ ... We’re not trying to create the biggest hits ever made; we’re trying to be as close to what Tim would have wanted.”
Among the confirmed vocal collaborators on Tim are Aloe Blacc (“SOS”), who previously sang on Avicii’s global smash hit “Wake Me Up,” and Chris Martin (“Heaven”).
Where will the money go?
Proceeds from the posthumous album will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, which his family created and named after him to help raise funds for groups aiding in mental health and suicide prevention. “Tim wanted to make a difference. Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honor his memory and continue to act in his spirit,” his family wrote in a press release announcing the foundation in March.
Avicii often participated in charitable projects during his life, particularly ones involving AIDS and hunger relief. His foundation plans to expand into more charitable efforts, including endangered animal protection and climate change issues.