When I was 12 and Kate Bush was enjoying her fourth or fifth week at Number 1 with Wuthering Heights, my dad told me that the smart move was not to have a Number 1 single, because all your earnings would be concentrated into a short period and you'd lose them all in tax (the top tax rate at the time was 83%). It would be much better, he said, to write something like a school text book that would sell in steady amounts year-in, year-out, creating a regular income under the radar of the Inland Revenue.
I remembered this when I read that Paul Morley earns a farthing every time Charlie's Angels — Full Throttle is shown or trailed. The film uses a song, which samples another song, which Morley co-wrote twenty years ago. An unexpected little earner to help him feed the electricity meter.
This shows the benefits of being sampled, and who wouldn't be pleased at a modest windfall like that? Then I got to wondering about other forms of creative derivation, not so well legislated for as sampling... How much would the estate of Roland Barthes have earnt if they got a centime for every article by every music journalist who was inspired by Paul Morley's early NME writing, which cited Barthes so frequently?
So I guess retirement planning isn't that easy. Not so long ago I bought my second copy of Kate Bush's first album. She seems to have retired before she hit 40, presumably not broke. Can anyone point me to the where all the earnings from Kennedy's Revised Latin Primer have gone?Posted by David Jennings in section(s) Miscellany on 12 September 02003 | TrackBack