Still, this week’s comments by Lily Allen may finally confirm that any aspiring rock guitarists or pop singers might as well pack away their dreams and find a proper job.
“Everyone assumes I made millions from the John Lewis ad. I probably made £8,000,” said the singer, whose cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know made it to Number One last year. It was played incessantly on the radio, and – of course – the television, as the soundtrack to John Lewis’s Christmas advert, featuring an animated love story between a bear and a hare.
The cash, in the UK at least, is still where it always has been. In the songwriting. The songwriters got £51 from the BBC every time that track was played on the radio and more (although it could have been a lump sum) for the TV plays. Including regionals perhaps 10 BBC radio stations? Each plays the number one 5 times a day? £2,500 a day does add up.
As an example, from the first Oasis album each band member got £1 million (old estimate). Noel, the songwriter, got £7 million. It goes on too. Each live gig the band ends up paying the songwriter again a cut of the fees. And 4% of all record sales.
It’s always been so. Lennon and McCartney made vastly more than Harrison and Starr. Jagger/Richards hugely more than the rest.
And given that the skill and talent is in the songwriting perhaps this is as it should be? easy enough to find someone who can sing and dance as those Simon Cowell shows make obvious.