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Huge fortune ‘Fairytale of New York’ could earn Pogues revealed after Shane MacGowan’s death

‘Fairytale of New York’ could earn The Pogues more than £500,000 in royalties if it hits the Christmas No1 spot credit:Bang Showbiz
‘Fairytale of New York’ could earn The Pogues more than £500,000 in royalties if it hits the Christmas No1 spot credit:Bang Showbiz

‘Fairytale of New York’ could earn The Pogues more than £500,000 in royalties if it hits the Christmas No1 spot.

Originally released in 1987, the bawdy festive classic has never reached the top spot in the UK charts, but it is now one of the favourites to make it after the band’s frontman Shane MacGowan died from pneumonia aged 65 on 30 November.

Music copyright lawyer Brad Banias put the annual royalties for the hit at over £200,000 from being played on the radio and streaming deals.

But he has told The Metro experts now estimate this year could see royalties “exceeding £500,000” if it achieves the coveted Christmas No1 spot this year,

He added: “If it finally hits No1, additional publicity and 2023 longevity would further increase revenue.

“I’d expect a 10 to 20 per cent royalty rate split between the band, songwriters MacGowan / (Jem) Finer and Kirsty MacColl’s estate.”

‘Fairytale’ reached No2 in the Christmas single charts when it was released – beaten to the top spot by the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Always on My Mind’.

The hit reaching the top spot would also be a fitting tribute to late singer Kirsty MacColl, killed aged 41 in a freak speedboat accident on 18 December 2000.

‘Fairytale’ is the number one most purchased song on iTunes in the UK and the second most streamed on Apple Music, while Spotify’s charts data shows the song was the 23rd most played in the UK on November 29, the eve of Shane’s death.

Fans kicked off campaigns online to get the song to the Christmas No1 spot – which was immediately backed by Shane’s widow Victoria Mary Clarke.

In the wake of Shane’s death, she told ‘Today’ on BBC Radio 4 about how she thinks it should “absolutely” finally claim the honour: “It would be nice, wouldn’t it? It should be the Christmas No 1, it absolutely should. I am very much in favour of that.”

The Christmas number one for 2023 will be named on the last Friday before Christmas, 22 December, and is decided by downloads and streams from midnight on 15 December to 11.59pm on 21 December.