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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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Netflix and nostalgia sees Kate Bush earning about R3.1m per week from Stranger Things revival

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in STRANGER THINGS.

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, Natalia Dyer as Nancy Wheeler, and Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas Sinclair in STRANGER THINGS.

Published Jun 23, 2022


The music industry has seen a few ‘stranger things’ take place over the years and these past few weeks have seen it again, as a popular artist from the ‘70s had cash flowing again after her song began to trend from one of Netflix’s popular TV series.

The streaming giant’s hit series ‘Stranger Things’, featured the song ‘Running Up That Hill’ by Kate Bush in the fourth episode of the latest season.

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The song was paired with a visually appealing scene, which sparked the global trend.

The song’s popularity was further spurred as it trended on TikTok, which led to radio airplay as well as thousands of streams on services such as Apple Music and Spotify.

Bush wrote, produced, and owns 100% of the licensing rights to ‘Running Up That Hill’.

The song is now distributed by Warner Music Group, her own company, Noble & Brite, owns its recording rights, meaning she gets every cent the song’s streams rack up.

This led to a massive payday for the artist.

On Spotify alone, the song has drawn 137 million new streams in the three weeks since the ‘Stranger Things’ episode’s release.

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Since Spotify reportedly paid artists $0.0033 to $0.0054 per stream in 2021, that makes an average of around $200 000 (about R3.1 million) going to Bush per week during the song’s 2022 revival.

Taking radio play and all other streaming platforms, Amazon, Apple Music and YouTube, to name a few, she could be making between $36 (R575) –$392 (R6 261) in royalties per play, to add to her speculative net worth value of more $60 million (R958 million).

The global recorded music market grew by 18.5% in 2021, driven by growth in paid subscription streaming, according to IFPI, the organisation that represents the industry.

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Figures in IFPI’s ‘Global Music Report’, released in March, show total revenues for 2021 were $25.9 billion.

Paid subscription streaming revenues increased by 21.9% to $12.3 billion.

There were 523 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2021.

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Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew by 24.3% to reach $16.9 billion, or 65% of total global recorded music revenues.

Growth was also supported by gains in other areas, including physical formats (+16.1%) and performance rights (+4.0%).

According to the Spotify Top 50 South Africa chart, the song currently sits in the 12th position with 14 109 streams, and at 41 on the Apple Music chart for South Africa.

According to, streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify make money from subscription fees and advertising. They make deals with record labels to get access to songs.

Platforms keep about 30% of the revenue from streaming, 15% goes to what’s known as a music publisher – who represent songwriters – while the record label gets 55%.

The label then pays a percentage of this to the artists – after they’ve paid back the label’s investment in them.

Bush compares ‘Stranger Things’ obsession to ‘Harry Potter’ movies

The 63-year-old pop star has said she chose not to listen back to her old music and rarely has to revisit her back catalogue to provide edits if her music is used on other formats.

Speaking to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ this week, she said: “I never listen to my old stuff. But then you know, when things like this come along, I’m normally involved in something like, you know, maybe doing an edit or revisiting the track for some kind of other reason, I’m working on it. So yeah, I hadn’t heard it for a really long time."

The 1985 hit has topped the charts in the US, UK and beyond, 37 years after it was released.

And while the ‘Wuthering Heights’ hitmaker had anticipated "some attention“, she didn’t expect the astronomical surge in streams that sent the song flying up global charts.

She said: “Well it’s just extraordinary. I mean, you know, it’s such a great series, I thought that the track would get some attention. But I just never imagined that it would be anything like this. It’s so exciting. But it’s quite shocking really, isn’t it? I mean, the whole world’s gone mad.”

Kate compared the current obsession with ‘Stranger Things’ to the ‘Harry Potter’ films.

Daniel Radcliffe as the title character in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies

She said: “Our friends kept saying have you seen ‘Stranger Things’ when the first series came out. So eventually we just thought OK let’s just watch it and we've binge-watched it and then saw every series ever since. It's lovely because in a similar way to ‘Harry Potter’, where in those early films they were just little kids, and then as the film has progressed, it becomes heavier and darker. And those little kids turn into really talented, young, adult actors. And you have a different connection with something that's moved through years really of watching them grow.”

SA singer gets R400k payout

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Music Audit Usage System (MAUStrack) co-creator, DJ and producer Mark Stent, says that one artist (who wished to remain anonymous) recently received more than R400 000 due to them by using Radiomonitor, the platform at the heart of MAUStrack.

Radiomonitor tracks more than 190 radio and TV stations in South Africa, as well as thousands of others across 120 countries globally, and aims to assist labels, publishers, artists, composers and Collective Management Organisations.

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