From Bloomberg BusinessWeek: “Welcome to ‘Margaritaville,’ the Most Lucrative Song Ever”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cut the ribbon on Thursday outside Atlantic City’s newest tourist attraction: Margaritaville. The $35 million, 40,000-square-foot complex houses two restaurants, multiple bars, a beach-themed casino, and several breezy, laid-back retail stores—all tucked away in a larger gambling mecca called Resorts. The singer and songwriter of the eponymous song was conspicuously absent from the festivities. For Jimmy Buffett, the grand opening was no special occasion: The Atlantic City outpost is the 27th Margaritaville in the world.
Margaritaville Enterprises, founded in 2006 and based in Orlando, sells everything from beachwear to furniture and also oversees at least one Caribbean island resort, two American resorts, and four casinos. You can buy Margaritaville rum and combine it with a Margaritaville drink mixer in your very own Margaritaville blender that costs $349.99. According to the Orlando Business Journal, the company brought in at least $100 million in revenue in 2007. As a private company, Margaritaville doesn’t release information about its holdings, but by all accounts it has only expanded since then.
As a recording, Margaritaville doesn’t post stratospheric numbers. After debuting on Buffett’s 1977 album Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude, it peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 100 charts. According to the 2012 BBC documentary The Richest Songs in the World, Margaritaville doesn’t crack the top 10, which is populated by three Christmas songs. The two highest-ranking pop songs are You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, by the Righteous Brothers, and Yesterday, by the Beatles. (No. 1 was Happy Birthday to You.) “If you want to get technical, there are two Margaritavilles,” says Brauneis. “There’s the copyright that protects the song, which is valuable because of the stream of income. Then there’s the trademark that has developed out of the song’s title, and legally that’s a different piece of intellectual property.”