How Jimmy Buffett Turned a Song Into a $100M Empire
'Margaritaville' isn't just a song—it's an industry
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2013 4:53 PM CDT
Buffett fans at the Parrot Heads in Paradise Meeting of the Minds convention.   (AP Photo/Florida Keys News Bureau, Rob O'Neal)

(Newser) – Jimmy Buffett's 1977 hit "Margaritaville" is not the world's most popular song—but it is probably the world's most lucrative. There are now 27 Margaritavilles worldwide, the newest of which, in Atlantic City, is comprised of restaurants, a casino, bars, and stores; these days, you can buy Margaritaville booze, beachwear, and furniture. In 2007, Margaritaville Enterprises raked in $100 million in revenue, reports Businessweek.

The song itself wasn't even that popular. It peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard charts and doesn't bring in the kind of royalties reserved for Christmas carols and "Happy Birthday." But the brand name associated with the song is a gold mine. "If there is anything on the same scale as a 'Margaritaville,' it’s not a song—it’s a motion picture," says an intellectual property expert. "When you’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, you have to think in terms of Star Wars, Winnie the Pooh, or Transformers. That’s probably in the same order of magnitude."

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Showing 3 of 45 comments
right2dave
May 28, 2013 1:23 PM CDT
It just goes to show once again that BEING A PRICK won't hold you back.
gomer99
May 27, 2013 10:48 PM CDT
It is not the marketing of a "thing". It is the continuation of an attitude.......one that laughs at the silliness, pretentiousness, and downright shit-for-music we are suffering through lately. Way to go....... ...and those who don't understand _Cheeseburger in Paradise_ never spent fourteen weeks at sea in a small boat....
Trinity5670
May 27, 2013 9:49 PM CDT
(Clapping) Good for you Jimmy Buffet. The classic drinking song with an island flavor the features an honest, fun an light hearted twist on the blues. Buffet's music appeals to a wide range of fans.