How Much Does a Hit Song Cost, Anyway? Try $1,078,000

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That’s according to NPR, which polled a number of industry experts to determine the real cost behind a top-charting hit.

In this case, it was Rihanna’s recently-created “Man Down,” a big-budget, blockbuster-style blowout that remains unproven.

> The Breakdown:

Writing Camp (Per Song): $18,000
Songwriter: $15,000
Producer: $20,000
Vocal Producer: $15,000
Mix/Master: $10,000
Song Rollout: $1,000,000

TOTAL: $1,078,000

Seem ridiculous?  Indeed, the cost includes a small army of writers (an ‘all-star writing camp’), costs related to ‘flying the artist around’ and of course, ‘courting radio programmers with fancy dinners’.  All part of a big-label, big-budget style that seems reserved for the tiniest cadre of artists.  “It was at least forty guys out there,” said writer Ray Daniels, referring to the camp, which also involved several high-end studio rentals.  “I was shocked at how much money they were spending!”

Actually, one of the biggest chunks goes to radio – or more specifically, buying a slot in the rotations of various conglomerates (whatever the kickback mechanism or influence vehicle).  That validates information from earlier sources to Digital Music News, who note that getting mainstream radio rotation is virtually impossible these days without major label backing.