The first time I heard “Uptown Funk,” one phrase immediately stood out to me like Shaq among Lilliputians: “don’t believe me, just watch.” I wondered if Trinidad James received songwriting credit for the interpolation. He didn’t. Not initially. What he received, however, was probably enough to numb the stress of being dropped by your label just two years aftersigning a deal.
If you’re not familiar with the link between “Uptown Funk” and James’ “All Gold Everything,” here’s a quick primer: James’ “All Gold Everything” sports the phrase “don’t believe me, just watch.” It became a pop expression and source material for social media memes and such.
It’s also one of the major lines on Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” one of the most popular songs on earth.
Here are some highlights from the earth-shattering success of “Uptown Funk” so far:
- Over 5 million downloads in the U.S.
- Over 10 million YouTube views
- Over $2.2 million in YouTube royalties
- Over $840,000 in publishing revenue
- Streamed 2.3 million times in a single week
- RIAA Certified 5x platinum
- No. 1 on the US Hot 100 Chart
James has now been added as a songwriter. He receives a sweet chunk of royalties from the song. James was probably sitting around, twirling his gold trinklets and wondering where it all went wrong when he received that call from Mark Ronson. That’s probably not how it went down, but you get the gist. Trinidad James earns an honorable 5.625%, while his label and publishing company scored 1.875% of the publishing revenue.
Billboard estimates that “Uptown Funk” has generated over $840,000 in publishing revenue. So James pockets slightly more than $47,250 + the roughly $15,750 his record label rakes in from the hit, for a total of $63,000.
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