It has been the subject of much debate at scrutiny over the past week or so, whether it’s the old ‘whose version is best?’ argument or the ‘why release this song at all?’ debacle. Either way the majority of people have an opinion on the song and it’s place in the Christmas charts. However, how much money has the song actually generated for both Alexandra Burke and Jeff Buckley who went straight into numbers 1 and 2 respectively – despite the original version going in at number 36.
Leonard Cohen however I feel should be at number 36 as his version isn’t the best, albeit his own song, Buckley’s version is much better. But no matter whose version is best, the bulk of the money earned through single sales goes to the songwriter which was Leonard Cohen.
Alexandra Burke recieved £150,000 for winning the X-Factor and has since sold 576,000 copies of her version of Hallelujah – outselling the entire top 20 combined. Based on the premise that all purchases were downloads, the total money earned rolls in at £442,400. Jeff Buckley’s rendition sold 81,000 copies which comes in at £63,990.
The average songwriter royalty is between 8 and 25%, which means Leonard Cohen has earnt between £40,511 and £126,597, couple this with the royalties paid for performances and broadcast then Cohen has drummed up a rather nice sum from not actually doing anything.
Overall then Alexandra Burke may have won the X-Factor and have the fastest selling download single ever, but she hasn’t earnt that much from it once the record company, distributors, promoters etc take their share. So Cohen has most likely earned more money from Burke’s own rendition than she has, which is the lovely perk of songwriting.
Merry Christmas everyone!