The characters on Glee might be underdogs, but there’s no denying that the show itself is a heavyweight. Between digital track sales, album sales, and touring, the show made enough money to land at #28 on Billboard’s Top 40 Moneymakers of 2011 list. (Coming in at #27: The ‘70s prog-rock band Rush. Say what?) But how much money is going towards paying for the music that landed Glee on that list? We decided to do some snooping and find out.
As can be expected, how much money an artist charges often depends on how famous you are. According to Glee music supervisor P.J. Bloom, the show usually pays five figures per song: A typical song is around $10-20K, while top-tier artists like Madonna and The Beatles earn about $50,000 a pop.
Of course, in Madonna’s case, featuring her for an entire episode (as in Season 1’s “Power of Madonna”) ended up working to the show’s advantage. Bloom says that artists are more likely to cut a “bulk rate” deal on their songs if the show is covering a bunch of them. In other words, it’s sorta like shopping at Costco.
But how much is too much? Certainly, Glee is willing to spend freely to a certain extent, but we do know that they balked at Eminem’s asking price of $200,000 to use “Lose Yourself.” Then again, the idea of Schue (Matthew Morrison) putting on a hoodie and performing this inspirational rap song for the kids kinda makes us cringe. So maybe this one was a blessing in disguise?