Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Cost of a Hit Song

It's no secret that the music industry is expensive. We all imagine the famous pop artists, rappers and bands getting paid millions for every hit album or concert and living luxurious lives. What most of us don't realize is the amount of money that is input to create such hit singles and albums is astronomical. A podcast on npr analyzes the process by which Rhianna's latest hit single was made and the absurd price at which it came. Record labels will fill a dozen recording rooms with top of the line song writers and lyricists. The rooms themselves cost between $2000-$2500 per day, per room. They will work for a week or two, and by the end will emerge with multiple prospective song ideas, which also don't come cheap. A song itself will be priced roughly around $18,000, and Rhianna then gets to choose her favourites to put on her album. The mixers and editors, the producer and the vocal producer also all get paid somewhere around $55,000 total. All these expenditures and the artist herself hasn't even stepped foot into the studio to record yet. What's the reason for such grand amounts of money to be thrown around so easily? Well, you can't pay just anyone to write a song for Rhianna, or just anyone to produce her hit singles. No, these professionals specialize in making Rhianna sound as amazing as she can, and as they are few and far between, they get paid like royalty. The consumer-in this case, the listener- won't buy an album that sounds like a train filled with crying babies. That's why Rhianna and her armada of virtuosos get paid top dollar salaries for their elite labour.


Smith said...

I did not realize the actual cost of making music. However, your discussion brings up a paradox (to me). I agree not just anyone can write and produce a hit song; however, it appears to me that you could take almost anyone and manipulate their voice to create a hit song ex: T-Pain.

Brayden said...

I did not realize that making music is actually a risk/reward. To answer your question of the reasoning behind throwing around large amounts of money could possibly be answered by the mere fact that $2500 to Rhianna is like $25 to you and I. The beauty in all of this is that being able to specialize in any specific profession can be very rewarding and truly defines the meaning of 'Merica.

Brittany said...

It is rather absurd when the costs are broken down to discover the actual prices of the recording prices. Obviously it is not really practical when looking at the prices charged to use writing rooms as well as to record. Because successful singers and writes are a scarcity they charge more when artist come to use their facilities. But still, the prices are over the top. You can also see this in the prices of c.d.'s and how their prices are continually growing, especially since the creation of Itunes