Highlights The Barenaked Ladies made $1 million from The Big Bang Theory theme song, as they own the rights and receive all royalties. Despite controversy over money distribution, Ed Robertson seems to have benefited the most financially from the song. The band will continue to earn money from the theme song for the rest of their careers, thanks to syndication and generous royalties.
The Barenaked Ladies is a Canadian band that hails from Scarborough, Ontario. While the group has been around since 1988, they are best known for The Big Bang Theory theme song that they released in 2008. From their first album release in 1992, the band's music helped them become one of the groups that everyone listened to during the 1990s and 2000s.
Then, in 2008, they became even more famous when they released the theme song of one of the best shows of the 2000s, The Big Bang Theory. Written and recorded in 2007, the hit quickly became their best-known song and another reason for the band's ongoing success.
The Big Bang Theory was a beloved show, and it showcased one of the most iconic theme songs of any TV show, joining the ranks of such shows as Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The song performed great for the band and, according to Steven Page, a former Barenaked Ladies band member, it made the band $1 million. Because the band wrote the song, they own the rights to it and receive all royalties, which means that the figure will continue to rise in the future.
However, there has been some controversy about how the band split their money. In 2015, Steven Page sued the Barenaked Ladies, claiming that he hadn't received any money for the song when he should have gotten 20% of the profits.
Page claimed that the only band member who had actually made money from The Big Bang Theory theme song was Ed Robertson, the frontman of the band.
Ed Robertson has discussed the profits the theme song made before, saying that the band should be okay for many years because of how much money they made on the backend.
"It's been like having a hit multiple times a year for over a decade. It's been life-changing. The song was very good to me. And to my family. And to my grandchildren's family," Robertson said.
Whether Ed Robertson kept the money or not, Steven Page lost his lawsuit against his former bandmates and never received the $200,000 he claimed rightfully belonged to him.
Prior to the release of The Big Bang Theory theme song, "One Week" was the one Barenaked Ladies song that everyone had heard about.
Released in 1998 as part of the album Stunt, "One Week" was the only Barenaked Ladies song to make it to number 1 in the US (for... one week) and make them household names around the world. Moreover, "One Week" was also included in the soundtrack of American Pie, which gave it even more exposure.
However, it is difficult to quantify how much money "One Week" made the band. First off, the reveal that the band made $1 million dollars from The Big Bang Theory theme song only came about because of Steven Page's lawsuit.
No similar lawsuit was launched by any current or former member of the band because of "One Week."
Moreover, the band had a lot less exposure when "One Week" came out, meaning that whatever royalties they were making from the song would be a lot less than what they received from The Big Bang Theory theme song.
"One Week" was written by Ed Robertson alone. If his net worth is any indicator of how much money the song made the band, Celebrity Net Worth reports that he is worth $8 million.
How much of that came from the six million copies Stunt sold? Difficult to tell, so fans will probably never know.
Regardless of how much money their best hits have made the band, the Barenaked Ladies are set to get money from The Big Bang Theory theme song for the rest of their careers because the show is not likely to go away any time soon despite ending after 12 seasons in 2019.
The popularity of the show, coupled with the fact that the Barenaked Ladies' song acts as the introduction to it, is set to be a source of revenue for years to come. Because of the generous royalties the band will receive throughout the show's syndication, the remaining band members can consider it a form of passive income.
Although the band famously almost didn't record the song, they can now benefit from having it in their repertoire.
With their legal troubles behind them, they can sit back and, as Ed Robertson said, enjoy the positive effect of this hit song on the finances of their families and even those of their children and grandchildren for years to come.