Pogues star Shane MacGowan’s Christmas income takes a substantial hit due to covid-19

Shane MacGowan

Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan took a considerable financial hit last month due to the ongoing covid pandemic.

The star lost out on tens of thousands of euros that the classic Pogues and Kirstie MacColl song Fairytale of New York would usually earn in royalties over the Christmas period.

It is thought the song brings in around €430,000 per year – during normal times.

However, 2020 was anything but normal and with many countries experiencing a resurgence of the virus in December, it meant that Christmas songs were played in far fewer places than usual.

Of course, artists still receive royalties for airplay when their music is played on radio or TV, but they lost out on many more revenue sources in December.

This is because shops had closed in many countries, meaning that the usual Christmas music that can be heard in shopping centres during December was not played.

The same was true of other high street outlets such as fast-food chains and coffee shops, which were only allowed to offer takeaway services.

Pubs, clubs and other venues were also shut, which further reduced earning potential from royalty payments.

Tony Barton is the head of writer support and relationships for the Performing Rights Society (PRS) -the organisation that collects royalties for over collects royalties for over 150,000 songwriters and publishers.

He believes that stars could see their earnings shrink by as much as a quarter, compared to what they would usually expect.

Barton said: “Losses could be much more than 10%.

“It could be up to 25%. We’ve been trying to be very honest with our members, we’ve been practical and realistic about this.”

It means that MacGowan – who wrote the song with Jem Finer in 1987 – is likely to be hit in the pocket this year.

The Pogues are not the only artists that will have seen their earnings suffer over Christmas, Slade are used to receiving around £1million in royalty payments for their huge Christmas song Merry Christmas Everybody.

Mariah Carey takes home around €430,000 per year for her classic hit All I Want For Christmas, while Wham’s Last Christmas is worth around €350,000.

Categorized as Blog

By Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish Music bands are Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys.