Ongoing History Daily: Shrewd U2

The guys in U2 and the people who run the U2 empire are some of the shrewdest and smartest people in the music business.   U2 is very good at managing money wisely. 

First of all, the band has diversified into things like real estate in both Ireland and England.  Although they could live anywhere they want, U2 stays in Ireland because it’s tax-free for them. Ireland has a law that exempts the earnings of artists who are determined by the government to be of “cultural and artistic merit.”  U2 negotiated a special high-royalty rate back in the 80s–plus they were granted a 10% equity stake in their record label, something that paid them millions when it was bought by PolyGram in 1989. 

And U2 owns the copyrights to all their songs, which pays about $15 million a year and will be in effect until 75 years after the death of the last living member of the band.  In other words, U2 will be generating cash for a long time to come

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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