Woodstock Payouts

I grew up with music constantly playing in the house. My parents, born in the mid-to-late 1950’s, brought me up on all kinds of music. Their tastes strongly aligned with many of the acts that played Woodstock 1969. Family legend says that my dad had a ticket to the festival — he lived outside New York City at the time — but chose not to go.

Regardless, someone has come up with a (supposed) list of what each act was paid to perform that year. I find it absolutely fascinating. I’ve recreated the chart I found on Ultimate Guitar below, with computed 2015 dollars thanks to Wolfram Alpha.

# Artist 1969 Dollars 2015 Dollars
1 Jimi Hendrix $18,000 $118,100
2 Blood, Sweat and Tears $15,000 $98,430
3 Joan Baez $10,000 $65,620
3 Creedence Clearwater Revival $10,000 $65,620
5 The Band $7,500 $49,210
5 Janis Joplin $7,500 $49,210
5 Jefferson Airplane $7,500 $49,210
8 Sly and the Family Stone $7,000 $45,930
9 Canned Heat $6,500 $42,650
10 The Who $6,250 $41,010
11 Richie Havens $6,000 $39,370
12 Arlo Guthrie $5,000 $32,810
12 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young $5,000 $32,810
14 Ravi Shankar $4,500 $29,530
15 Johnny Winter $3,750 $24,610
16 Ten Years After $3,250 $21,330
17 Country Joe and the Fish $2,500 $16,400
17 The Grateful Dead $2,500 $16,400
19 The Incredible String Band $2,250 $14,760
20 Mountain $2,000 $13,120
20 Tim Hardin $2,000 $13,120
22 Joe Cocker $1,375 $9,022
23 Sweetwater $1,250 $8,202
24 John B. Sebastian $1,000 $6,561
25 Melanie $750 $4,921
25 Santana $750 $4,921
27 Sha Na Na $700 $4,593
28 Keef Hartley $500 $3,280
29 Quill $375 $2,460

It’s not clear to me where nor how these numbers were discovered, but they’re a fun thing to think about either way.

What stuns me the most, other than the ordering, is how little money each of these artists made. With some much-derided bands absolutely cleaning up on tours, to see such legendary artists make so little money is shocking. Granted, this was one show and not a whole tour; nevertheless, much has changed in the last 45 years.

Speaking of how things have changed, we’ve covered Woodstock 1999 before. As much as I love the artists that I grew up with, I can’t argue that Woodstock 1969 was something special.

(Via Ultimate Guitar via Dangerous Minds via Danny Mason)