The value of the Beatles

Don Boudreaux offers a simple calculation:

If each viewer of only The Beatles' first two "Sullivan" appearances
deposited $1 into an account in return for watching The Beatles on
these telecasts, this account would have had in it, on Feb. 16, 1964,
$143.7 million. If this money had been invested at the historical rate
of return earned by U.S. stocks, it would have earned an annual return,
on average, of 8 percent. Today, this account would be worth about $4.4
billion.

Divided equally among John, Paul, George and Ringo, Paul's share
today would be $1.1 billion — his approximate current net worth. And
this from only a small payment made 45 years ago by each viewer of a
mere two episodes of an American television show.

Comments

But really, who's going to give Ringo a full share?

It seems obvious that Paul should be worth more than he currently is (assuming that the original viewers value their experience at more than $1... a reasonable assumption, I think).

45 years, rather.

It's a shame that nobody thought to invest a penny for mankind in 5000 BC.

Nobody in the world would have to work today.

Also, if it had actually been possible to monetize those TV appearances, Ed Sullivan and CBS would have taken the lion's share of the proceeds, not to mention Capitol Records. At the time, the Beatles needed Ed Sullivan more than he needed them, although that balance of power would very rapidly change (partly as a direct result of their appearances on his show).

what if everyone in the world had started microsoft in 1975?

I am so confused by this post, and reading the comments only made it worse. It is like: "Beatles non sequitur non sequitur"

Horsefeathers. Inflation, taxes, and management fees would have reduced the value of the initial investment to nil by now.

What a completely asinine, waste of time calculation.

The relevant number is not $ 1, but $ 144 million.

Who could have earned that for 2 nights work in 1964?

If a fund was created in an attempt to raise $4.4 billion USD for the express purpose of building a time machine in order to assure I would never again have to hear of or from the Beatles again, I'd kick in a few hundred bucks.

Why the Beatles? Why not Elvis in 56 with 60 million vs the 73 million on 1964, and 80+% of the audience compared to 60% for the Beatles?

But then, what of the Stones who are still performing and who appeared 6 times, twice as many as Elvis and the Beatles.

And Mick Jagger studied at LSE, and then dropping out, commenting in a Rolling Stone interview: "It was really a dull, boring course I was stuck on." But Mick worked for his billion, instead of imagining getting rich just sitting around.

A good example of how to address global warming issues - create a fund to be invested and spent in the future. In effect society is already that "fund", but these calculations highlight the dramatic effects of economic and productivity growth over time.

Since the "historical rate of return earned by U.S. stocks" is practically a law of nature, I propose the following reform. Every child born in the U.S. gets $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund, to be released only when the child reaches 65. That's a paltry $40 billion/year, a rounding error in the Federal budget [i]deficit[/i] these days.

Without a dime of additional expenditure, in only a single generation, every man, woman and child born in the U.S. will be independently wealthy by age 65.

As an added bonus, with today's low birth rate, such wealthy people can easily leave their children wealthy through inheritance, with only slight curtailment of their consumption after 65, so we'll limit their births and consumption after 65 too.

In only two generations, all native born U.S. citizens can be independently wealthy at birth, and no one born in this lineage ever need produce anything in exchange for their consumption again.

Compound interest is miraculous, don't you know?

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