Rihanna’s “Man Down” Likely Cost Over A Million Dollars

The next time you bop your head along to tracks from your favorite pop artists, think about how much money was spent on the creation of that one song alone. NPR talked with a bunch of music insiders who ballparked a figure of how much Rihanna’s “Man Down” song cost on its journey from its inception to your ears, and the more-than-likely amount they came up with? $1,078,000. And a huge chunk of that is just to take radio programmers out to dinner. Pop music don’t come cheap!

Here’s how they break it down:


As NPR describes, “A writing camp is like a reality show, where top chefs who have never met are forced to cook together. At the end, Rihanna shows up like the celebrity judge and picks her favorites.”

According to Ray Daniels, who manages songwriters Rock City, the Jamaican-flavored track was written in about 12 minutes. But the money required to get those 12 minutes of inspiration were costly — Daniels estimates that Rihanna’s writing camp “had to cost at least 200 grand… It was at least forty guys out there. I was shocked at how much money they were spending! But, guess what? They got the whole album out of that one camp.”

The label, of course, has to pay the songwriters, the producers and all the studio engineers for their time and creativity. But the big money is spent on “rolling out the song”, which includes marketing, flying the artist out everywhere to promote it, and “treating the radio guys nice.”

How nice? Says NPR, “It can mean taking the program directors of major market stations to nice dinners. It can mean flying your artist in to do a free show at a station in order to generate more spots on a radio playlist.”

And guess what! All this money doesn’t even guarantee a hit. “Man Down” is currently #59 on the Hot 100 and radio airplay has been minimal. Of course, this is Rihanna, she’ll have more singles, and Def Jam will eventually make its money back. And if they don’t, well, RiRi doesn’t make any extra money (after her initial advance) on the song, either.

What can we learn by all of this? Don’t bother to become a pop star if you don’t write your own music. Instead, be a radio programmer and you’ll eat all the lobster and filet mignon your heart desires.

[Via NPR]

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Javier-Rivera-Garca/100000149466998 Eric Javier Rivera-García

    Very insightful article!! Rihanna is only as good as the money they put into her…

  • GoFackYourself

    This ain’t about just Rihanna asshole,so move on and get over yourself! WTF are you good at,huh? Oh,talking sh*t! Please have a seat _/ !!

  • Why

    Rihanna is one of the top females today. It really doesn’t matter. She can sell that stupid coconut water and pay for all this stuff with 1 photo shoot.

  • lilemm

    Rihanna is brilliant itz her money she can do wat she wantz with it =]

  • Rockawear

    LMAO!!! What a waste of money!!! And people please Rihanna doesn’t have that much money!!! Why do you think she is desperate to stay out there??
    This girl is currently in trouble with her label that is why they are rushing a re-release of loud in months to follow. Shame…

  • Chichi

    It was just a matter of time before the sex act wore thin. Now she’s flopping way hard…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-MusicFiend-Settle/730545449 Eric MusicFiend-Settle

    ‘Man Down’ is a pop song? Umm, no. It wasn’t even sent to pop radio lol.

    • Becky Bain

      If Rihanna is singing it, it counts as a pop song. (Though that song in particular crosses genres.)