BUZ LIVINGSTON: That kind of life

Published: Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM.

The next time you catch some pickers playing in a restaurant or bar pay close attention. You may never know what the music gods may spin. Jimmy Buffett archives show no record of any Athens, Ga., performances in the spring of 1974. I have vivid memories of Buffett playing Memorial Hall, but my email request for verification has gone unanswered and my escort for the evening dumped me during the first set. 

Bloomberg recently announced the kingmaker of music hits.  Nope, not Michael Jackson, Elvis or The Beatles but a Gulf Coast crooner who shares the name of the world’s most famous investor. 

Generally speaking, I harbor little jealously over anyone else’s job, but for the people who worked on the most lucrative song in music history project, I am GREEN with envy. Did you hop-skip to work?  After days in salt mines, Bloomberg deemed Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” the most lucrative three minutes and 20 seconds since Edison invented the phonograph.   

Margaritaville has a special place for me; it seemed divinely inspired, hitting the charts at the disco craze apex. “Margaritaville”, the song, doesn’t crack the top 10 profitable song list, but Buffett shrewdly blended the trademark “Margaritaville” into a different type of intellectual property. Robert Brauneis, a George Washington University Law School professor and intellectual property expert places, “Margaritaville” head and shoulders over other songs since few, if any, trademarked into other ventures. 

Two hundred plus words and three cords built an empire. Being privately held, following the money proves difficult, but the Orlando Business Journal estimated Margaritaville Enterprises’ 2007 revenue at $100 million. Revenues have grown since then even if his concerts don’t sell out nearly as fast. Don’t shed any tears.  Margaritaville Enterprises has dozens of restaurants, bars and resorts from the Jersey shore to the Caribbean.

There’s even one coming to Destin in the old site of the Lucky Snapper on the harbor.

Once Jimmy Buffett looked at 40 and now he’s looking at a full Social Security benefit. Hopefully Buffett keeps touring; my bucket list includes taking my granddaughter to one of his shows. The guy has toured annually for the past three decades. He can fish and fly anytime he likes; I wonder how content he would be not making music.

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