There’s no denying that Whitney Houston had a powerful voice and was loved by people around the world. As with the passing of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, her greatest hits are seeing a boost in sales and plays as people commemorate the beloved singer. But as with most successful singers, it’s not the actual singing that earns millions of dollars, but the writing and producing that happens behind the scenes. And unlike Michael Jackson, Houston did not write any of the hits that made her famous.
“They were songs that Clive Davis told her to sing and she did,” a record company insider told a writer at Huffington Post. “She was broke — her label gave her advances.”
The insider goes on to detail that Whitney had been living off of her advances or loans from the record company for a long time before her death.
The person that wrote one of Houston’s biggest hits, “I Will Always Love You,” is Dolly Parton. And Parton is the one that will reap the writer’s and publisher’s benefits as the song gets overplayed on radio and television stations in honor of Houston.
Most artists make their money from ticket sales, an option that is no longer available for Houston’s estate. According to the article, singers receive an advance from the record company based on anticipated album sales. This adds up to about $2 per album.
“Most likely the estate owes the record company a ton and future sales will be used to pay back that loan before any money goes to the estate,” the insider said. “The songwriters, however, will make a bundle.”