Michigan’s Pension Fund Getting Rich Off Country Music
Next time you're downtown and run into Michigan’s deputy treasurer and chief investment officer, Jon Braeutigam, ask him what his favorite song is - especially if you have any interest in how the Michigan pension funds are doing. Because he has about 400,000 of them - and Willie Nelson and Boy George are two of the reasons why.
According to a great story from MLive.com, Jon and his investment team manage funds now worth $72 BILLION - with better success than a lot of other state pension funds. and one of their success stories is their investment in Concord Music. Concord Music owns several record labels (among them Rounder Records and Sugar Hill records - two of the great bluegrass labels), but they also make money off the rights to almost 400,000 songs, including some of your favorite country and pop songs and Broadway show tunes. Whenever one of the songs they manage is played on the radio or streamed or you hear it on a commercial, TV show or movie - the songwriters (and sometimes the performers) and Concord Music get paid. And that means Michigan's getting paid.
So, the next time you hear Waylon and Willie singing, "Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" (written by Ed and Patsy Bruce) or Boy George's "Karma Chameleon" - or any of the bazillion other songs they manage - listen for the ka-ching coming from the pension fund.