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Jul 11, 2011

Because of my increased travels as of late, I find myself searching for quality podcasts to keep me company on those lonely drives (speaking of which: MassDOT, please get cracking on that Springfield-Worcestor-Boston HSR corridor. KTHXBYE). One of my most recent finds is the NPR Planet Money podcast which explores financial issues from a variety of angles.

This week’s episodes addresses the question “How much does it cost to make a hit song?” using Rihanna’s “Man Down” single as a case study. There have been a number of articles that discuss music industry accounting practices, but the Planet Money team takes an actual song from conception to release and follows the money. And it ain’t a pretty picture:

‘Treating the radio guys nice’ is a very fuzzy cost. It can mean taking the program directors of major market stations to nice dinners. It can mean flying your artist in to do a free show at a station in order to generate more spots on a radio playlist.

Sometimes I think I got into the wrong end of the audio business. Then again, I like being able to sleep well at night.


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