In The Digital Era, Hit Songs Aren’t Everything

American Idol winner Phillip Phillips, whose song, "Gone, Gone, Gone," went to No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Each time it's played in public, the song's writers get a royalty, which is tracked and collected by ASCAP. Bigger hits usually translate into bigger checks.

Laura Sydell writes: Last year, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips released the song "Gone, Gone, Gone" from his debut album The World from the Side of the Moon. The song went to #1 on the Adult Alternative and Adult Contemporary charts and peaked at #24 on Billboard's pop song chart, the Hot 100. For Gregg Wattenberg, one of three credited co-writers of "Gone, Gone, Gone," the song's chart performance was of particular interest because it translated indirectly into cash.

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