Get Your Song On TV - Badfinger's "Baby Blue"

Get Your Song On TV - Badfinger's "Baby Blue"

The TV series Breaking Bad's last episode played last night and it apparently was good for the Pete Ham estate.  The late-Ham wrote the song "Baby Blue," featured prominently in the episode.  According to NME, streams of the song on Spotify rose 9000% the day after the episode aired.  As of this writing, there have been 198,141 streams, which means there had been just over 2,200 streams before Breaking Bad.  It sure does pay to get your song on a big show.

Get Your Song On TV - Badfinger's "Baby Blue"

This isn't the first time "Baby Blue" has been licensed out.  It was featured in Martin Scorsese's The Departed in 2006 as well.

Ham, who committed suicide in 1975, would have been the beneficiary twice for writing a song licensed out to Hollywood.  Here's how he/his publisher make money on a song like "Baby Blue":

  • Mechanical royalties from every sale of the song on CD or download or stream
  • Royalties from any sheet music sales
  • Royalties every time over-the-air radio plays the song
  • Royalties every time you hear the song in Starbucks or Pottery Barn
  • Royalties from the song appearing in a film or TV show
How much could this add up to?  The song was released in 1972.  Considering the song was a #14 Pop hit in the U.S. and has appeared, not just on its original album (called Straight Up and released in December, 1971) but as a re-record, plus all of the airplay over the years, plus the song being licensed out for compilations (think Hits of the Early-1970s!), plus the song appearing in both an Oscar-winning film and final episode of an iconic American television series, we're talking a million dollars or more.

The moral of the story?  Write a good song and license it out forever.  The income could be better than that savings bond sitting in your safe deposit box.

Dave Philp is Assistant Professor of Music Management at William Paterson University and Chief Organizer Guy of YouChoose, a live events music fundraising and social media company that has raised many, many thousands of dollars for non-profit causes. Join the good fight and help change your corner of the world by visiting YouChoose now: To sign up for our email newsletter, click HERE. Mmkay?


Billboard claims "Baby Bleu" will have a 3000% sales gain on the iTunes chart.

Mo' money.