Sony didn’t make a killing

Rage against the Machine vs Joe McSomething. As everyone keeps reminding us, both acts are on Sony, so the Electronics and Media giant must be raking it in, right? Not quite.

If you think Sony are laughing all the way to the bank because RATM are number one, you need to sit down and do the maths.

I’ve sat down and done the maths for you, if you can’t be arsed: Sony made, at best, at the upper limit, £250,000 of income more than they would have done without this fight having taken place.

Joe sold just over 450,000 singles. RATM sold just over 500,000 singles. Last year’s X-Factor single sold over 570,000 singles in the midst of another protest battle, so Sony sold about 400,000 more singles than they otherwise would have done. iTunes sold the single at 99p, Play at 65p and Amazon at as low as 29p.

Not £250k profit; £250k income, and that’s assuming everyone paid 99p, unlike the 29p I paid. £250k of Gross Income is background noise to a company like Sony, and remember that figure is the upper maximum they could have made.

The radio performances generate PRS for the creators, not Sony, so Disney’s writers make cash from Joe’s airplay and RATM (and Shelter) make cash from RATM’s airplay. Sony’s income comes from the single sales, so let’s see how much they made from iTunes, remembering they made significantly less than this from both Amazon and Play.

iTunes sales of RATM are broken up as follows: Apple get 30%, Sony Music Entertainment get 70%, of which 12% goes to Rage Against The Machine.

61p per sale, 400,000 sales above last year, £244,000 including VAT.

The real winners are Amazon, Play and iTunes, and even they didn’t make that much money. Single sales are about promoting artists and albums and let’s face it, this isn’t going to increase the sales of RATM’s back catalogue that much. We’ve already all got the album, right?

Joe made £150k from winning X-Factor and saw the other £850k of his million go to marketing him for the year. When the dust settles, Sony made less than Joe from our big Fuck You. I can live with that.

Jared Earle is a writer, photographer and systems administrator. You can find him on Twitter most of the time.