How Much Did Mad Men Pay To Use The Beatles Song, Tomorrow Never Knows?

On Sunday night, a new episode of Mad Men, the 1960s period drama that concluded with the Beatles song “Tomorrow Never Knows” appears to have made some history of its own, marking a rare instance in which a song written and recorded by that band has been licensed for use on a television series.

“It was always my feeling that the show lacked a certain authenticity because we never could have an actual master recording of the Beatles performing,” Matthew Weiner, the creator and show runner of “Mad Men,” said in a telephone interview on Monday. “Not just someone singing their song or a version of their song, but them, doing a song in the show. It always felt to me like a flaw. Because they are the band, probably, of the 20th century.”

As with most transactions that involve the Beatles, that usage did not come cheap. According to two people briefed on the deal, who were not authorized to speak about it, Lionsgate, the studio that produces “Mad Men,” paid about $250,000 for the recording and publishing rights to the song. That is an appropriately high price, several music and advertising executives say, since many major pop songs can be licensed for less than $100,000.

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