You’ll need a drink after learning how much Jimmy Buffett is worth

May 31, 2013

MoneyritavilleI have spent many columns detailing how intellectual property protections can be used for good.

But, it turns out, they can also be used for things that are….well, let’s call them “particularly American.”

Things like making Jimmy Buffett a rich, rich man. His song “Margaritaville” is the most profitable song ever recorded, it was estimated earlier this week.

(Did I mention that Jimmy Buffett is rich?)

In fact, in terms of sheer earning power, “Margaritaville” is right up there alongside the “Transformers” and “Star Wars” franchises.  That’s how lucrative it is – it can’t even be compared to other songs.

How is that possible?

The easiest way might to explain it might just be to say that something about the song struck a chord with listeners when it was released in 1977 and, thanks to marketing savvy and the earning potential that can be secured by copyrights and trademarks, Buffet & Co. have been mining that populist popularity ever since.

Today, there is all kinds of “Margaritaville”-branded merchandise, ranging from things you would expect, like booze and T-shirts, to things you’d never be able to come up with even in a malaria-induced fever dream, like the $35 million Margaritaville entertainment complex in (where else?) New Jersey.

Now, I have spent this entire post being a little snippy, but in a way, I should relax. After all, turning a ditty into a multimillion-dollar business engine is a pretty powerful example of good ol’ American pluck, ingenuity and self-made success.