SINGAPORE (Oct 1): I recently attended the gala North American premiere of A Star is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. It was the first time I had attended such a star-studded event. After the screening of the movie, which will open in theatres around the world on Oct 4, Cooper, who also directed and produced it, came on stage with the other cast members and crew to talk about how he set about remaking the story of a seasoned musician who discovers — and falls in love with — a struggling artist, played by Lady Gaga. As the young singer’s career takes off, the veteran musician fights his own demons. In real life, A Star is Born marks the film debut of Lady Gaga, who is an accomplished musician, and a singing debut for Cooper, who is an award-winning actor.

Cooper may be one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood these days, but Lady Gaga makes far more money as a singer. Her net worth is around US$300 million ($409.9 million), while Cooper is worth a third of that.

That is just the way entertainment economics works: Musicians get a nice slice of the total sales of their music, while actors get just a lump sum for their movie role. Over the long run, successful musicians end up earning far more money than the best-paid actors because they have a recurring revenue stream. Indeed, the ongoing transformation of the global music industry is likely to hand over even more money and power to musicians than Hollywood stars.

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