Where Does Paul McCartney Get All His Money From?
I came across an interesting figure the other day. I was reading about the Paul McCartney song Wonderful Christmastime and discovered that he earns at least £250,000 from it every single year.
In fact, it is said to have earned him close to 10 million pounds since he wrote it back in the late 1970s. This got me thinking about where else the world’s most famous bass player earns money from.
The best estimate I can find for McCartney’s total annual earnings is around £30-40 million. The years in which he has toured recently he has seen this figure rise to over £40 million. So where does all of this money come from? For a start, he is officially recognised as the most successful songwriter of all time. In fact, if we look at the figures they are pretty staggering. Yesterday is the most covered song in history (more than 2,200 versions at last count). He has written or co-written 32 titles which reached number 1 in the Billboard Hot 100, has 60 gold discs to his name and has totalled over 100 million albums and 100 million singles sales over the years.
Of course, he famously lost the rights to the Beatles back catalogue to Michael Jackson in the 1980s and this is something he has often complained about since then. The fact that he doesn’t own the rights means that he only earns artist and songwriter royalties on sales and performances. Obviously this still adds up to a pretty penny (about £10 million per year as far as I can tell) but McCartney was said to be furious at having to pay Jacko every time he performed his own songs. When Jackson died apparently McCartney expected the songs to be given back to him in the King of Pop’s will. They weren’t but he will soon be able to claim them back under US copyright law. This will increase his annual earnings even more, with 2018 being the date he will start to receive this income. Away from his own songs, McCartney owns the rights to other music, such as Guys and Dolls, Grease and Annie and has a large number of other business interests.
Paul isn’t a billionaire but his net worth was given as a healthy £387 million in divorce proceedings with Heather Mills back in 2008. He would probably have even more money but the first record deal The Beatles signed was said to be poor and gave them just a penny for every record sold. When they set up Apple records in 1968 they regained control over their rights but they had already written such massive earners as Yesterday, Let It Be and She Loves You. These are the early songs which McCartney is going to start earning more from in 2018. To be fair, there is a huge amount of confusion about his income and wealth. An article from a couple of years back claims that he is worth £680 million. Part of the confusion seems to stem from the fact the Forbes rich list gave his income as this figure, which included the large income enjoyed by the business run by new wife’s business. An interesting article I found from the early 1980s states that he had reputedly earned more than British Airways the year before it also stated that it is impossible to know exactly how much he really has, as much of the money is “salted away” in places where no one can find out about it.
Finally, Paul McCartney is famously frugal. If you are pulling in tens of millions of pounds in passive income ever year, carry on working and don’t like to spend lavishly then it seems fair to suggest that you are going to amass a healthy fortune over the years. This is exactly what he has done and he shows no sign of stopping yet.
What lessons can we learn from the enormous financial success of Paul McCartney?