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Billboard's Joe Levy Explains Economics Behind "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke & Pharrell [Bloomberg Video]

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published August 16, 2013

Billboard editor Joe Levy sat down on Bloomberg television's Street Smart with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson to discuss the economics behind Robin Thicke's hit single "Blurred Lines." Very interesting viewing for people who are interested in the common question "how much do musicians get paid when they have a hit song?"

Levy and his team estimate that the song has generated a total of $4.2 million and Robin Thicke has made $865,000 out of that for himself, plus money for publishing. This is based on the fact that the song has been selling roughly 400,000 downloads per week and been the #1 song for 9 weeks in a row - the best run of 2013 so far.

When his album came out in July, Thicke had the rare Billboard exacta of a #1 album at the same time as a #1 song. Rihanna previously had done that with "Diamonds" from Unapologetic, and Adele managed to hold that distinction with 3 different songs while 21 was the #1 album: "Rolling In The Deep," "Someone Like You," and "Set Fire To The Rain."

 

robin-thicke-economics-bloomberg-billboard

 

Also some excellent insight as to why the song became such a big hit, including the crossover appeal across different radio formats and the '70s disco vibe that appeals across generations from kids to their parents. The sexy music video youtube controversy certainly helped, as well. Pharrell is certainly having a great year, having also done this year's other huge hit with Daft Punk, "Get Lucky."

Levy mentions that the song is "breaking records" alluding to the fact that the song has set the record for most all-format audience impressions with 227.5 million in a week according to Nielsen BDS, breaking Mariah Carey's previous record holder "We Belong Together" from 2009. For people wondering what this means, it's basically the new version of the radio charts that take into account online streaming and things like YouTube as well as traditional radio. It's also the first time a song has been #1 on 5 different Billboard charts at the same time, although there are a lot more charts now than there used to be.

Source: Bloomberg & Billboard

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