I read an article the other day about how the most lucrative song ever written is “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett. Quoting from the Bloomberg Businessweek, “To think that all of this poured forth from a goofy, three-chord song—a mere 208 words, roughly half the length of this article—written about being lazy and getting drunk.”
This “most lucrative” title doesn’t stem from the royalties of the song or Buffett’s concerts alone. Margaritaville Enterprises franchises tourist entertainment complexes, sells beachwear, furniture, alcohol, blenders, and more.
While an interesting article, the fact that it all started from 208 words fascinates me. Somehow, the way he put those words together with the melody hooked people and started a financial empire. Was it luck? Or the ability to make listeners feel a certain way. In this case, carefree, relaxed, happy! How many of you can sing a few lines? I can.
BTW, the song’s popular ranking isn’t even in the top 10 richest songs. The two highest-ranking pop songs are You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, by the Righteous Brothers, and Yesterday, by the Beatles. (No. 1 was Happy Birthday to You.) However, as a branding and a lifestyle having most total impact, Margaritaville wins with a couple hundred million dollars.
Another thing adding to this culture happened when Buffett dubbed his diehard fans Parrotheads in 1989. Parrotheads travel to Buffett’s concerts and party, party, party. These fans support the Margaritaville culture. It’s worth noting the Grateful Dead had Deadheads in the ‘70’s and young Justin Bieber has Beliebers, which was started around 2008 by his YouTube fans.
When we write, we spend agonizing days looking for the right words to communicate our work to the readers. It’s not the number of words, it’s how they are on the page and what they convey.
Sometimes, we think we’ll never get it right. Ah, but when we do…it’s worth it.