Renewed interest in Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" will mean Parton will be making a fortune off its current airplay and sales since the Sevier County native owns the publishing and writing rights to the song.
When Houston released her version in the early 1990s, Parton reportedly made millions off the one version of the song. The tune was a massive hit, staying atop Billboard magazine's Hot 100 singles chart for 14 weeks.
Since the song has been virtually dormant for years — Houston's version came out 20 years ago — "I Will Always Love You" hasn't been heard or purchased this much in a very long time. On Sunday, the day after Houston died, the tune topped the U.S. digital downloads on iTunes.
Even if Houston had not died, Parton would have gotten the rates anyway, but not on the same heightened scale due to public demand.
Houston's cover of the song is being played heavily on TV and radio right now because of Houston's death, reviving it commercially for the first time in years.
The Huffington Post is reporting, through a music insider, that Houston "was broke — her label gave her advances.
"And unlike Michael (Jackson), you have to remember that Whitney didn't write any of those massive hits. They were songs that (producer) Clive Davis told her to sing, and she did."
"On records, the typical mechanical royalty paid to the writer/publisher is about eight cents per radio performance," a successful songwriter is quoted as telling Huffington Post.
"That would all go to Dolly. Whitney is only the singer. (Whitney) receives an advance from the record company based upon anticipated album sales ... (that could be) around $2 per album.
"But all of the costs to record the album, promote the album, videos ... are all recouped from the artist's share."
Believe it or not, artists, even those who sell millions of records, may end up owing the record label money. Singers don't make money from record sales.
Instead, they make their money from ticket sales, a revenue stream that will no longer be a source of income for Houston's estate, the Huffington Post reported.
"Whitney was living off of advances — loans from the record company — and had been (for) quite some time," the insider said.
"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.
"The songwriters, however, will make a bundle."
Actress/ singer Kristin Chenoweth is eager to play Dolly Parton — but she wants Parton to get a move on if that's going to happen.
Chenoweth has not made it a secret she wants to play the Smoky Mountain Queen of Dollywood, but a vehicle for her to do such a role has not been created yet.
Parton is now at work writing a musical biography of her life, and Chenoweth has her eyes on it.
"Yesterday I heard (Parton) said that I should play her ... it all started with her saying that many years ago and, of course, I want to play her, but she better freakin' hurry up and write it!" Chenoweth told me.
"I'd love to play her. What's not to love about her. I love her. She knows how I feel about her, and I'd love to play her."
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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