Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Whatever happened to Gotye?

If we wind things back to 2011, one of the biggest songs in the world was Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know.” It reached the top 10 in 30 different countries and the single has sold 20 million digital copies, making it one of the best-selling digital singles of all time. Plus there’s the more than two billion views on YouTube and I don’t know how many streams.

Huge success—but name me another Gotye song. But if you have a single that is successful, you can just retire and spend your days counting your money. Hang on, though, because the revenue needs to be shared. There’s a sample in the song from an artist named Bonfa and 45% of the money goes to his estate. Gotye is also earning almost nothing from YouTube because he didn’t want any ads to run with his video. That could have cost him upwards of $5 million.

Even still, his net worth from this one song is estimated at $10 million.

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.

Alan Cross has 38293 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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