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June 30, 2009


Slaney Black

Oh, BS. Sorry John but you've been had by the IP brigade. Seeing as most of that $25 million was in copyright fees, MJ was as much a rentier as any hedge fund geek.

James Bowery

"old mercantile thoughtfulness and the infused daring into conjunction in a few individuals who then find courage for all kinds of inventive innovation against the resistance of established thought and practice. Often, however, the cost in fitness of such altruism and sublimated pugnacity to the individuals concerned is by no means metaphorical, and the benefits to fitness, such as they are, go to a mass of individuals whose genetic correlation with the innovator must be slight indeed. Thus civilization probably slowly reduces its altruism of all kinds, including the kinds needed for cultural creativity (see also Eshel 1972)."



I may agree on the problem of rentiers but better examples are needed. A quick check for 2008 numbers from musicians who are actually still performing showed:
Beyonce - 87 million
50 cent - 150 million
The Police - 28 million
Bon Jovi - 28 million

Pulse for 2007 has a top ten ranging from
The Police - 143 million to
Rod Stewart - 59 million
I didn't find a 2008 summary yet.

That's a mix of ticket, merch license, copyright, etc. That's also revenue, not net profit. Micheal Jackson's "biggest pop star" is based on historical influence on music and performance, not on financial standings.

I'll admit some surprise at hip-hop generating such a huge revenue. The big change in revenue for The Police reflects the difference between the big tour and the tail end of a tour plus ongoing license and related income.


Record companies now require artists to sign "360 contracts." These give the studios a cut of every bit of revenue that the artists make - even if the studios have nothing to do with it. It used to be that touring was what made the band rich, but now, they're required to hand over 10% of box office receipts to the studios, and the CDs sold at venues have to be purchased at special prices from the studios at much higher than wholesale in order to gouge the bands and fans as much as possible.

As an example of how wicked the problem can be, the band TLC managed to become the poster child of the syndrome. Their album Crazy Sexy Cool brought in $65,000,000 in sales, yet the 3 women of the band only received $50,000 to split amongst the 3 of them.

For some other examples of studios gouging artists, Courtney Love's rant is a winner:

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