When Bonnie Raitt‘s touching ballad “Just Like That” won the Grammy for song of the year, the singer-songwriter seemed just as shocked as the crowd. “I am just totally humbled,” she said while accepting the award.
Though she is a decorated and critically acclaimed musician, with 11 Grammys and five top 40 hits on the Hot 100 to her name, Raitt’s “Just Like That” was the least commercially successful song up for the category this year by a long shot. Despite not cracking the Hot 100 chart, “Just Like That” managed to beat out the nine other nominated songs, each of which ranked in the top 20 of the Hot 100 this year, including two No. 1 tracks (“As it Was” by Harry Styles and “About Damn Time” by Lizzo). Many see Raitt’s win as proof that the top Grammy awards do not necessarily always go to those with the most commercial or widespread success.
Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Just Like That’ Heads to Radio After Grammy Win — With a…
This particular award win is surprising for Raitt in more ways than one. Song of the year is one of four top awards given out each year by the Recording Academy, along with record of the year, album of the year and best new artist, and it is the only one of the big four that honors the craft of songwriting specifically. Raitt, as she admitted in her acceptance speech, “[doesn’t] write a lot of songs,” but she did write “Just Like That” singlehandedly.
So how much did “Just Like That” earn in royalties for Raitt as its only songwriter, and how much did the Grammy win help the song commercially?
Billboard estimates that before the Grammys, “Just Like That” had earned Raitt over $6,000 in publishing royalties from its release date (April 22, 2022) to the week of the Grammys, which aired on Feb. 5, 2023, for her work as a songwriter from U.S. streaming, sales and airplay combined. In the two weeks following the show, those formats earned her another nearly $6,000. In other words, Raitt earned almost as much from the song in just two weeks as she did in the more than nine months prior to the broadcast.
Raitt owns her publishing, and she houses her songwriting catalog under two entities, Kokomo Music and Open Secret Music. In 2018, she entered an arrangement with indie publishing house Bluewater Music to administer her publishing catalog worldwide. Because she owns her publishing and wrote “Just Like That” by herself, the vast majority of the money she earns from the song will end up in Raitt’s pocket, with deductions likely only made to pay Bluewater Music administration fees and whatever cut her manager makes.
Overall, since the release of “Just Like That,” Billboard estimates that Raitt has earned a total of about $12,000 in publishing royalties from streams and sales of the song. The majority of that came from both physical sales of the album on which the song appears — also called Just Like That — and U.S. on-demand audio streams, according to Luminate. In the two-week period after the Grammys, song downloads and streaming were the biggest source of royalties by far.
Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-Winning ‘Just Like That’ Reaches Multiple Billboard Charts
In terms of streaming alone, Raitt earned only about $975 worth of publishing royalties from U.S. on-demand audio streams in the almost 10 months that elapsed between the song’s release and the week of the Grammys. But in just the two weeks since her song of the year win, she has earned a little over $2,000 in publishing royalties for U.S. on-demand audio streams.
The week before the Grammys, dated Jan. 27-Feb. 2, “Just Like That” was racked up 44,000 on-demand audio streams in the U.S. The week after the Grammys, dated Feb. 3-9, on-demand U.S. audio streams increased by 3,028% to 1.377 million, according to Luminate. The massive spike, however, did not hold steady in the following week, dated Feb. 10-16, when the number of U.S. on-demand audio streams fell to just over 410,000.
On the physical sales side, Raitt earned about $4,277 in publishing royalties from selling copies of her albums through to the night of the Grammys. In the two weeks after the awards show, Raitt earned about $700.
Along with increased consumption in the sales and streaming categories, “Just Like That” has also sparked interest at radio. The week before the Grammys, it was played just a handful of times, but in the two weeks after her win, she received a total of 144 radio spins, according to Luminate. While still not significant enough to push her to the top of any charts, airplay could contribute solidly toward her future publishing earnings if it continues to gain traction.
So far, the big Grammy win for “Just Like That” doesn’t appear to be boosting sales and streaming activity for Raitt’s overall catalog in the U.S. While weekly catalog album consumption activity jumped to over 9,000 copies on average in each of the two weeks after the show — up from the weekly average of over 3,000 copies before the show — all of that gain is coming from the Just Like That album.
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