Earlier this year, a musician named Ginny Landrum sent planet money An email, he made an unusual offer.
Back in the 1970s, Kinny explained, he was a keyboard player for an instrumental funk band called Sugar Daddy and the Gumbo Roux. This was the peak of the era of “stagflation”, when stagnant growth and skyrocketing prices wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. The band teamed up with a singer named Ernest Jackson, who wrote a lyric that captured the zeitgeist of the era. The song is called “Inflation”.
Sugar Daddy and Gumbo Roux recorded a demo of the song in 1975 at a famous New Orleans studio called Sea-Saint Studios. However, the demo was never released. The band disbanded. And the song disappeared. So did high inflation after the US Federal Reserve cracked it down in the early 1980s.
Fast forward to 2021. “Inflation” is making a comeback. Kinny gets a text from friend Arthur Rouse. Decades ago, Kinney gave Arthur a tape copy of Inflation. The price spike rekindled Arthur’s memory of the song — and, it turns out, he still owns it. Suddenly, the dusty recording resonated again.
Just then, Kinney stretched out his hand planet money, and asked us to do something about the song. certainly, planet money Not in the business of publishing records or promoting musicians. We make podcasts. But we started investigating the story behind the song and brainstorming what we could do with it.
Many members of Sugar Daddy and Gumbo Roux go on to have solid careers in the music industry, playing in successful bands, writing songs and scoring films.Most famous member Randy Jackson continues as music executive and co-host American idolBut, sadly, despite his incredible talent, Ernest Jackson (no relation to Randy) never made it. To make matters worse, he felt burned, exploited and abandoned by the music industry.
but now planet money trying to change that.
Creation of Planet Money Records
Because we love Ernest Jackson – we love his incredible songs about the economic trends of our time – planet money Decided to support him (and the band), try to right the wrongs, and make him a star.
To achieve this, we licensed the song and made it our own label. Planetary Currency Records The sole purpose was to release and promote Jackson’s “Inflation” songs. The journey to founding the label has been a dizzying and daunting journey into the unknown for us, offering us a unique opportunity to explore the business and economics of the music industry from within.
In building our own record label, planet money Want to avoid shady practices that are all too common in the music industry. This is an industry where artists often get pennies for the songs they write. That has always been the case, but the demise of physical record sales and the rise of digital streaming have only made things worse for musicians.
We learned that a typical record contract only gives about 20% of the profits to the artist and the other 80% to the label. We decided to do something completely different, which you can read about in our series. You might think we made a bad business decision, but, to be fair, we’re not in the music business!
Of course, it’s not enough to just license Earnest Jackson’s songs. We also wanted to create merchandise, plan a music tour, and figure out how to make the song pop. Over the next few months, we’ll explore topics such as how streaming is revolutionizing the music industry, how payola works, and how hits are made.
We hope you will listen to our series. Perhaps more importantly, you should check out this song! “Inflation” is a throwback funk tune that reflects the current state of the global economy. You can find it on Spotify and Apple Music.
Greg Rosalsky, Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, and Arielle Retting contributed to this story.
Planet Money explains the economic forces that shape our lives.subscription Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube Or anywhere you get podcasts.You can also follow us Tik Tok and Instagramand subscribe to our communication!