The Music Industry Keeps Trying
By Marisa LaScala
Photograph courtesy of Peak Newsroom (www.peaknewsroom.blogspot.com)
With the stock market plunging and the financial system being turned on its ear, are you ready to divest from the Dow and put your money into a different get-rich-quick scheme — I mean, investment? The music biz hopes you are.
Well, not all of the music business. Specifically this one enterprising website, SongVest. SongVest has snookered some songwriters into auctioning off a percentage of their royalties to the highest bidder. Were you to become such a bidder, your investment would switch from stocks to songs, and your dividends will become quarterly royalty checks.
So far, surprisingly, it's the country musicians who have signed on most heavily to this paradigm-shifting idea. Yes, you too can own a piece of Garth Brooks' "High Friends in Low Places" (minimum bid: $100,000) or LeAnn Rimes "I Got It Bad" (a steal at $5,000). But you can find some rock songs if you're interested: Pony up $10,000 and you can bid on Aerosmith's "Gotta Love It," a song I'm not sure I ever heard on the radio, let alone enough to make its royalty checks a big deal.
As someone whose financial mind is so sound that her household budget refers to expenses in terms of movie tickets (i.e., it takes three movie tickets to fill up a tank of gas), I don't think it's a good deal. You can get royalties on the songs, but you can't turn around and license them to Apple for their next iTunes commercial and make the big bucks. And, believe me, with the songs currently offered, Apple ain't biting. How many royalty checks do you think you'll get from "(Theme From) The Monkees?" If anyone's listening to that song, they're either listening to the cassette with a Sony Walkman in their underground time-capsule-nuclear-war-bunker, or they downloaded it and didn't pay a dime. (I don't believe that everybody steals all music. But I do believe that no one is shelling out hard-earned cash for the Monkees theme, as awesome as it is.)
Then again, with stocks swinging wildly and oil at record lows, maybe music royalties are the gold bricks of the future.