Ariana Grande‘s rich-bitch anthem which makes you want to reach for the earplugs, mute button or a rocket ship off the planet–7 Rings–has been sitting at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the last two months, and her fans even tried to boycott it because it was so popular and they wanted to make a different song of hers hit #1. Well the song may be a hit for Ari, but the fact is: she ain’t the one cashing in. 90% of the money that 7 Rings makes goes straight into the pocket of the estates of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
There are 10 songwriters on 7 Rings (it took 10 people to come up with the lyrics: “My wrist, stop watchin’, my neck is flossin’, Make big deposits, my gloss is poppin'”?) but only two of them are cashing in. The song of course beats to death the iconic tune from The Sound of Music, My Favorite Things, which was written in 1959. Well, 60 years later, they’re still bringing in their 8th favorite thing, $$$$$, and partly thanks to Ariana Grande.
Pitchfork says that Republic, Ariana’s label, showed 7 Rings to the company who owned Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical catalog, Concord, and asked them if they could use My Favorite Things. Concord agreed, requesting 90% for the license and there was no further negotiation. Looks like when Ariana Grande hits up those ATM machines to take out her $100,000 she’s only actually getting back $10,000. “Write my own checks like I write what I sing” so I guess she can only pay off 10% of her checks?
You may remember that Gwen Stefani also sampled a Rodgers & Hammerstein song in 2006, when she released Wind It Up. That song sampled some yodeling from the Lonely Goatherd track, but Gwen got a better price. She only handed over 50% of the royalties from that song. I guess yodelling doesn’t make as much money these days. Quick, someone tell that boy who yodels in stores he needs to get a new gig!
Well Ari, looks like you got shafted. Here you were upset about not singing 7 Rings at The Grammys, and yet it only would have been lucrative for musical theater icons. With that being said, the Rodgers & Hammerstein estate should get 200% from Ariana’s label. 100% for sampling My Favorite Things and a 100% penalty for ruining it.