If you’re looking to find an investment that’s more consistent than stocks and shares, have you ever considered picking up a guitar and penning a couple of tunes?
That approach certainly worked for Sting. In 2003, US news show 60 Minutes reported that the former Police frontman was still making $2,000 each day in royalties…
And that was from just one song: “Every Breath You Take.”
But what about those of us whose musical prowess is non-existent? Or limited to playing bum-note laden versions of other people’s songs?
Well, if this applies to you, then good news: your salvation may have finally arrived…
Every breath he takes… Sting gets a royalty cheque, apparently
A company called SongVest had a fantastic idea. It’s offering what some have described as “the ultimate fan collectible” – ownership in the royalty income of the songs themselves.
What’s more, the firm’s next auction will feature classic songs from the 1980s.
“Shiver” by George Benson, “Love is a Contact Sport” by Whitney Houston and “Against Doctor’s Orders” by Kenny G are among the hits going under the hammer.
They are being auctioned by Preston Glass. He’s not a household name, yet Glass wrote or at least co-wrote each of the above songs and all of the tunes appearing in SongVest’s auction.
There can be a lot of money in songwriting royalties. I mentioned this to Simon in the Paul Fraser Collectibles office the other day, and he told me something interesting…
Have you ever noticed how, in many films and TV programmes, when a character celebrates a birthday they don’t sing “Happy Birthday To You”? It will often be substituted with “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow…” or a cheesy birthday pop song…
That’s because Warner Music Group owns the rights, and deems that nobody can sign the “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics for profit without paying royalties.
So, how’s that working for them? Well, the group collected about $5,000 per day ($2 million per year) for the song in 2008. Even more than Sting.
The more I look at it, the more songwriting royalties seem like an ‘ultimate investment’. Choose your song wisely, and you could consistently profit.
But collectibles also have their fair share of ‘ultimate investments’. Just check out the updated PFC40 Autograph Index and see for yourself.
And, when you think about it, are songwriting royalties really “the ultimate fan collectible”? They’re profitable, yes. But are they really that fun?
In comparison to, say, Jimi Hendrix’s guitar strap from Woodstock. Or a rare 1960s letter written from Paul McCartney to a fan?
Hendrix’s guitar strap, as worn during his legendary Woodstock performance
Treasures like these can also bring you consistent profits.
Personally, I think I’ll be sticking with collectibles over songwriting royalties for the time being.