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How the 'Oh-Oh-Oh Ozempic' Commercial Song Made a Musician $1 Million The earworm may be lucrative for the 1970s band Pilot and their song, "Magic."

By Peter Kafka

Key Takeaways

  • David Paton's 1974 song "Magic" has been repurposed as the theme for Novo Nordisk's Ozempic campaign.
  • Paton, his late bandmate's estate, and Sony Publishing have profited, with Paton likely earning seven figures.
  • This illustrates the ongoing high investment in artists' back catalogs, fueled by streaming growth and commercial usage.
Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music via Business Insider
David Paton, right, and his band Pilot in 1975. Five decades later, their hit song

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Ozempic seems like a wonder drug that's changing people's lives and could have profound effects on the entire economy.

It also seems like it has generated at least a million dollars for David Paton.

Paton, it turns out, is one of the two men who wrote "Magic" for his band Pilot in 1974, when it became a Top 10 hit. And now a new version of "Magic" has become the theme song for Novo Nordisk's Ozempic rollout in the U.S., which is blanketing TV and the internet with this earworm:

Novo Nordisk originally ran a version of Paton's song recorded by someone else but has since leaned into the idea that 70-something Paton is the cheerful face behind its cheerful jingle.

Here's a video of Paton strolling into Abbey Road Studios in London to record his own version of the ad:

Paton got paid for both the cover of his song that someone else recorded and the one he did. And Paton isn't the only winner from the Ozempic boom: Novo Nordisk also paid the estate of his former bandmate who cowrote the song, and Sony Publishing, which administers Paton's songwriting catalog.

None of them are saying how much money is involved, but The New York Times said it polled music-publishing executives who estimated the campaign was "most likely worth seven figures to Paton."

All of which illustrates why investors and music companies continue to bid meaningful amounts of money on back catalogs by artists who haven't put out hit music for a long time. That includes deals for superstars you've heard of, like Bruce Springsteen (a reported $500 million), and grab bags of rights to songs from the likes of John Lee Hooker, Pat Boone, and Ricky Nelson ($470 million).

This stuff got particularly expensive during the pandemic boom, where all kinds of assets saw their value inflated — at least $5 billion worth of songs traded hands in 2021 alone. But it has kept going post-pandemic.

A big part of the reason is the overall growth of streaming, which has created a new revenue stream for the music industry — if you think streaming volume will increase, then it stands to reason that songs you buy today will be worth more in the future as more people access them.

But Paton's story illustrates another reason: Song owners can find ways to monetize their work in movies, TV shows, and commercials. The odds that someone is going to have their song plucked to sell a Big Pharma Wonder Drug aren't very high — because there aren't very many Big Pharma Wonder Drugs, by definition — but if it happens, it's a very big payoff.

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