Robin Thicke Trial Reveals Extraordinary “Blurred Lines” Financials
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams are currently embroiled in a legal battle with Marvin Gaye’s estate over the similarities between “Blurred Lines” and Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up,” and it just keeps getting juicier. Yesterday, the financial information about “Blurred Lines” was revealed, and the total revenue comes to $16,675,690.
Thicke and Williams were the primary artists on the song, so they took home $5,658,214 and $5,153,457 respectively, while T.I. got $704,774 for his brief guest verse. The labels involved — Interscope, UMG Distribution, and Star Trak — split up the rest of the profits, $5,159,245. But Universal Music also testified that the overall cost for creating the hit was $6.9 million, meaning the label didn’t even break even on the track. How could it possibly have cost $6.9 million to make just one song?
Usually details like this would not be made public, but because of the trial all the financial information has been disclosed. Williams also earned $4.3 million in publishing royalties for the song and $860,000 on a production credit.
Frankie and Nona Gaye are looking to obtain a portion of those profits plus a chunk of the $11 million in tour revenue that they argue is attributable to “Blurred Lines.” The Gayes will have to establish “causal nexus between the infringement and the touring revenues” in order to access tour profits. They are also seeking damages to compensate for “a reduction of the fair market value” of licensing “Got To Give It Up.” If the jury agrees that “Blurred Lines” is too similar to “Got To Give It Up,” the fact that Thicke and company didn’t license the song before using elements from it will make the licensing fee skyrocket because of the infringement.
The total publishing profits from “Blurred Lines” are estimated at $8 million, and the Gayes are negotiating for half of that. Finally, the Gayes also assert that another song of Thicke’s “Love After War” is too similar to their father’s song “After The Dance.”
Their attorney Richard Busch presented alleged damages at around $40 million in his opening arguments.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.]