Since Whitney Houston just passed away, it is natural that radio stations will be playing all her hit songs for fans to hear. As a result her estate will be making bank, right?
Unlike Michael Jackson’s untimely death whose estate made a fortune as a result of a sudden renewed interest in his catalogue, the same will not happen for Whitney Houston according to insiders.
“She was broke, her label gave her advances,” a record company insider said to The Huffington Post. “And unlike Michael, you have to remember that Whitney didn’t write any of those massive hits. They were songs that Clive Davis told her to sing and she did.”
This may be surprising for some, but one of Houston’s biggest hits, “I Will Always Love You,” was actually written by Dolly Parton. The country singer will receive the writer’s and publisher’s rates when the song begins to repeatedly play on the radio and television.
“On records, the typical mechanical royalty paid to the writer/publisher is about 8 cents per radio performance,” a songwriter told The Huffington Post. “That would all go to Dolly. Whitney is only the singer. She receives an advance from the record company based upon anticipated album sales. Figure that’s around $2 per album. But all of the costs to record the album, promote the album, videos, etc. are all recouped from the artist’s share.”
Just as it is in Houston’s case, even though an artists could sell millions of records, they still owe the record company money reports The Huffington Post. Furthermore, most artists do not make a majority of their money from record sales, but from ticket sales. Since Whitney is no longer with us that is a revenue stream that will no longer bring money to her estate.
“Whitney was living off of advances, loans from the record company, and had been [for] quite some time,” the insider explained to The Huffington Post. “Most likely the estate owes the record company a ton and future sales will be used to pay back that loan before any money goes to the estate. The songwriters, however, will make a bundle.”