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Last Updated: Thursday January 18 2007 13:18 GMT

How much does a hit single cost?

Record shop

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

    Teaching suggestions

    [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?

    Background information

    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.

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