Here's a list of some of the different costs involved in making a UK top ten single.
Example costs of a UK top ten single
Recording - £3,500
Video - £40,000 - £60,000
Remixes - £5,000 - £10,000
Merchandising - £9,000
Video plugger - £2,000
Radio plugger - £3,000 - £5,000
Posters - £3,000
Stickers - £1,500
PR (press) - £2,000
Promo copies/postage - £3,000
Website - £10,000
Manufacturing costs (50p per CD) - £20,000
Songwriter's royalties - £11,000
Total - £113,500
[A] ask the group to guess the costs involved. See how many they get - ask them to guess the amounts.
[B] When you have compiled a list - place them in order and produce a total.
[C]Students could design a chart that displays how much a single costs to produce and promote.
[D]Can they think of another way of promoting artists without making singles?
According to research carried out by BBC News Online, securing a top ten hit in the UK in the current climate is likely to cost a minimum of £113,700. The returns are likely to be a fraction of that.
The biggest expense is normally the promotional video, which for a mainstream artist starts at about £40,000 and can cost anything up to £1m.
Remixes are needed to get fans to pay for more than one version of the same single.
They can cost as little as £200, but for a big name DJ or producer, such as Fatboy Slim, they can cost upwards of £10,000.
According to one independent label BBC News Online spoke to, it is common practice for the big retailers, HMV, Our Price and Virgin, to charge record companies for promoting a single in their shops.
Another big expense are the record pluggers, whose job it is to cajole Radio One, and big commercial stations such as Virgin and Capital, into putting a new-release onto the all-important playlist.
Why do record companies make singles?
Singles are essentially four minute adverts for albums.
Single sales guarantee chart places and, in turn, radio play. That's why record companies persist with them.