According to insiders, Whitney Houston- “She was broke”. — her label gave her advances.
After the untimely death of Michael Jackson, his estate made a fortune due to a sudden renewed interest in his catalogue.
A record company insider said, “Unlike Michael, Whitney didn’t write any of those massive hits. They were songs that Clive Davis told her to sing and she did.”
One of Houston’s biggest hits, “I Will Always Love You,” was written by Dolly Parton. Parton will get writer’s and publisher’s rates when the song naturally gets a boost in radio and television performances.
A successful songwriter said, “On records, the typical mechanical royalty paid to the writer/publisher is about 8 cents per radio performance. That would all go to Dolly. Whitney is only the singer. She receives an advance from the record company based upon anticipated album sales. Figure that’s around $2.00 per album. But all of the costs to record the album, promote the album, videos, etc. are all recouped from the artist’s share.”
It is very possible for artists to sell millions of records and end up owing the record label money as in Houston’s case. Most artists don’t make money from record sales, but rather from ticket sales — a revenue stream that will no longer be a source of income for Whitney’s estate.
The insider said, “Whitney was living off of advances — loans from the record company — and had been [for] quite some time. “Most likely the estate owes the record company a ton and future sales will be used to pay back that loan before any money goes to the estate.However, the songwriters will make a bundle.”