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What Do Continued Music Streams Mean For Prince's Estate?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Even after his passing, millions continue to listen to his music -- on the radio, on the TV, on their phones.

So, what does that mean for his estate? And, how does it compare to other legacy artists? Good Question.

According to Forbes, Prince's estate made $12 million in the time period of October 2018 through 2019. Much of that was due to selling more than 300,000 albums and half a billion streams.

"With a stream, we're talking about fractions of a penny," says Blake Iverson, an entertainment attorney. "That's a very small amount of money per stream, but a popular artist is going to have millions and millions in stream, so the money adds up."

Prince's 2019 earnings are a fraction of what music's biggest touring stars are making now. In 2019, Taylor Swift brought in $185 million.

But, those earnings are enough to put Prince at ninth of Forbes' list of top-earning legacy artists.

Michael Jackson is first and has been for the last six years. His estate brought in $60 million. He's followed by Elvis Presley's $39 million and Charles Schulz's $38 million.

After that, the list includes golfer Arnold Palmer ($30M), Bob Marley ($20M), Dr. Seuss ($19M), John Lennon ($14M), Marilyn Monroe ($13M) and Nipsey Hussle ($11M).

"The money available to an artist is in many pools," Iverson says.

He says the likeness, merchandising and licenses of songs for a movie, television show or commercial also bring in money.


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