Volume 8 / Chapter 254
“Isaac. Why are you here instead of the operas?”
“Oh, it’s okay. The performing team is entirely settled. We’re done with the shows in Italy, including the ones in Rome. I saw them off to Germany, so there’s no problem even if I’m not there. Our employees are always with them, so they’ll contact me if there are any problems.”
The recordings of Jun Hyuk’s opera ‘Godfather’ are selling out every day and is trying to reach record breaking sales. Once the European performances are over, there is a tight schedule waiting for them in North America.
“And once the world tour is over, we’re going to work on the album and film with the original cast. We’ve already finished discussing it with Mr. Argento. He wants to leave a record of his last work. Jun, that’s okay, right?”
“Of course. We have to do Argento’s last work together.”
“But you haven’t come all the way here with your employees to talk about that, have you?”
Amelia blinked her sleepy eyes and put coffee down on the living room table.
“Oh, right. That’s what was important.”
President Stern looked at the employees he came with, and they prepared a portable beam projector and several documents.
“Listen well to what these people are explaining. It’s a headache for me, too. Because of you. Begin.”
The beam projector filled a side of the wall with complicated numbers.
“It’s nothing, just Maestro’s income for this year. This is a first for us as well, so we’re coming up with a plan with our tax lawyers……”
The Stern Corporation staff member shook his head and smiled mysteriously. This strange expression could be understood by his following explanation.
“First is the item related to Maestro’s album and concert with Alvin Lee.”
Various records on the album appeared on the white wall.
“These are Billboard standards. The album was charted 1st place for 16 weeks. 4 songs hit No. 1 and all 12 songs took 1st place in turn in the online store.”
President Stern looked satisfied while thinking of next year’s Grammy Awards.
“Also, Alvin’s band finished their concert in 32 cities and they’re still in the middle of their tour.”
He brought up an Excel file full of numbers on the monitor.
“Just look at the last item. It’s the amount you made on the album and shows alone.”
Jun Hyuk looked at the wall and did not get a real sense of the size. The staff saw Jun Hyuk’s expression of surprise and smiled because it is not yet time for him to be surprised.
“Surprising, isn’t it? It’s the peak sales volume for single albums of the recent 10 years. You’ve brought back the wind towards buying records instead of downloading tracks. And…..”
A new number appeared and the staff continued his explanation.
“This is your income for the music you released before and album sales. It doesn’t fall behind Alvin Lee’s album.”
Jun Hyuk’s jazz album in particular is settling as a steady seller.
“Lastly… First, I ask you not to be surprised.”
There was a list of 25 songs with clear sales ranking. The top 5 songs were A, E, I, O, U. And the other 20 were the scores that Jun Hyuk revealed.
It is about the original song fees and royalties.
“First, we only revealed 20 songs as a test. We chose 20 at random. You probably noticed, but these numbers are the sales for right of use and royalties for each.”
Amelia looked at the numbers with the most surprise and almost spilled her coffee.
“It hasn’t been long since we revealed the 20 new songs. Though it was just the scores without even albums or shows, all producers and agencies that succeeded with the 5 songs before all signed on without exception.”
The previously released 5 songs had Laura’s album and a show at Carnegie Hall, and had become news. There were a lot of places that wanted to use the original songs because there is a record that they can confirm for themselves.
However, no one had expected that there would be such a reaction from just releasing scores with melody lines.
“Hang… hang on. This number isn’t wrong right now, right?”
“No. It is exact.”
The staff laughed at the surprised Amelia, and continued explaining.
“Maestro, you have surpassed Madonna and become the top earning musician. It is $7.4 billion in total, though there is still 1 month left for the year to end.”
Madonna and Michael Jackson, who are the same age, lived entirely different lives but their final goals were the same. They are both icons of American culture. Michael Jackson became a legend and Madonna is continuing to create her legacy.
“Madonna is including her merchandise sales, perfume business, and the money she made in investments. Maestro, that’s what you made through just music. Even still, you’re 7 times Madonna in 2nd place.”
“You’re overwhelmingly ahead of all stars in film and sports, too.”
President Stern already knew the number, but he even felt fear whenever he saw it. The staff member explained where the fear stems from.
“The biggest problem is that this is just the start. The companies that pay for use haven’t been able to finish arranging or recording yet. There will be a lot of music that uses these original songs next year.”
The staff is saying that the true revenue is starting next year. Next year when music that uses Jun Hyuk’s original song comes pouring out, a tremendous amount of royalties will come in and it is easy to predict that the income will be incomparable to what has come in now.
“So we’re going to delay on releasing the rest of the scores. Hitting jackpot has to be to a certain point to be fun, too. This is to the point where it’s scary. We might be able to do something if it were a company, but this is just personal revenue.”
This is why President Stern said that he had a headache. It is the company’s job to help its musicians reduce tax payments. Jun Hyuk barely spends his money, so there is a tax bomb that follows the revenue bomb.
“We estimate that it’ll be over $20 billion next year. Your income can be compared to that of a record label instead of other musicians.”
“So, what are you going to do with this money?”
President Stern laughed as he asked, and Jun Hyuk was speechless, only looking at Amelia.
She blinked her big eyes and just looked at Jun Hyuk.
“There’s nothing to do really…..”
Jun Hyuk stammered and Amelia started laughing.
“Right? It’s such an unrealistic amount that you don’t get a feel for it. And you really don’t have anywhere to spend it.”
“But you have to spend some before the year ends. It’s good to buy a mansion or something. Though that won’t make a big difference or anything.”
Even if he purchases a giant mansion, it wouldn’t chisel away at his money. But Amelia’s eyes sparked at the mention of a mansion.
“There is one thing that does come to mind for me.”
“What? What comes to mind?”
Amelia bolted up and opened the door to the recording studio.
Jun Hyuk bolted up and hugged Amelia as he smiled brightly.
“Isaac. Make a studio for me. One big enough to record a choral concerto. A studio with a perfect sound system. I want a recording studio comparable to Carnegie Hall.
Amelia and President Stern shouted out at the same time.
“Huh? That’s not it? You weren’t talking about creating a perfect studio?”
Jun Hyuk was puzzled by Amelia’s surprise. Amelia’s action had clearly referred to the recording studio.
“I was… but not to that scale. I just meant for you to make a normal studio.”
There needs to be a recording booth that fits at least 200 people for Beethoven’s choral concerto. When thinking of the microphones necessary for this, it is basically like creating a stage performance.
“Do you really want to create a recording studio that can fit an entire orchestra?”
“Yes. That’s it.”
Jun Hyuk looked like a child with a new toy.
“A large studio… That looks like an investment and not like you’re spending money. Ha ha.”
With the kind of large studio that Jun Hyuk is asking for, there will be a fair amount of orchestras requesting to use it. Of course requests won’t be frequent enough to earn back the amount invested.
However, President Stern’s first thought was not that it is an investment simply to make money, but that it is a cultural investment for music overall.
Of course Jun Hyuk had not said that he wanted the studio with this kind of deep thought. It is so that he can call in the New York Philharmonic if he needs to in order to create the music he wants.
Recording in studio instead of in live performances makes it possible to re-record at any time. President Stern started fleshing out Jun Hyuk’s request in his head. He is thinking of something like the Performing Arts Center facilities at the Kennedy Center. As he was imagining it, he had an ominous foreboding.
“You’re not thinking of living in that great studio to just spend the rest of your life creating music there, are you?”
Jun Hyuk could not answer President Stern’s sudden question immediately. The jaws of Amelia and the company staff who saw this, dropped.
“Whew. I thought so.”
President Stern frowned and let out a long sigh.
“I’ll make that perfect studio that you want. But you can’t think of it as a home.”
President Stern look Jun Hyuk straight in the eyes and became resolute.
“I have no intention of watching you become like a music-producing machine, locked up in the studio, looking only at sheet music. My skin crawls just thinking about it. Live like a normal star. If it’s hard to live like a star, live like a normal person.”
Jun Hyuk flinched at President Stern’s seriousness, and pat his shoulder as he laughed.
“Oh, okay. Well… You’re so scary I can’t say anything. Relax, Isaac. I’ll live like every other star.”
Jun Hyuk had suddenly become light.
“Alright. Then tell me. What do Americans do when they get rich?”
“What do you mean what do you they do? They use it. They build a giant mansion, get a private plane, buy dozens of super cars, buy artwork… If there’s still money left, they donate it.”
President Stern spoke heartily as he always does.
“Of course not everyone is like that. There are those who live in normal houses instead of grand mansions and drive Toyotas, living life like average people. It’s just a matter of individual philosophy.”