Jon Goodman came to Royalty Exchange to help preserve the legacy of his father—the pioneering Dickie Goodman.
See, Dickie had invented a precursor to what is today known as sampling, the practice of “borrowing” clips of songs to include in original material. Only back then it was known as a “break in,” a technique Dickie used with great success.
Back in the 50s and 60s, Dickie would use clips of popular songs to answer questions he’d pose in the song, often with comedic effect. These songs—such as “The Flying Saucer,” “Mr. Jaws,” “Santa and The Satellite,” and others—gained widespread popularity in the 50s. In fact Dickie still holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Charted Comedy/Novelty Hits" at an astounding 17.
They continue to have a cult following today, with spikes in radio airplay around holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and Independence Day.
Jon oversees his father’s estate and legacy. In 2000, he published a biography of his father called “The King of Novelty,” and continues to seek licensing opportunities for the catalog. He even was a guest DJ on Sirius XM’s “50’s on 5” station’s “A Very Novel Halloween Special,” playing his father’s songs and discussing his work.
Jon came to Royalty Exchange to raise money with this classic catalog. He decided to sell just the public performance royalties to investors, while retaining the remaining royalty streams the catalog earns.
In doing so, he turned a royalty stream making around $1,700 a year into a payday of over $13,000.
We spoke to Jon after his auction to learn more about his father, the catalog, and his plans for the future.
How did you find out about Royalty Exchange?
I found you guys. I was just basically creeping Instagram and you had an ad on there. It was interesting to me, so I gave that a shot. It was for the (Know Your Worth) app. It was so cool to me that I figured well I’ll go ahead and do it. The reason it was so cool to me was because back in the day, I would get postcards from companies that do this sort of thing with royalties, but it was always so tedious. You know, tedious to go through all the paperwork. So this I gave it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised.
Why did you decide to work with us and sell a portion of this catalog to investors?
The reason is because over the years, I would’ve actually been sort of opposed to this. You know... hang on to everything, don’t sell it off. Hang on to it for dear life. But I have a different kind of view on this.
For me it’s sort of taking a chance that maybe something bigger can come out of it. What I mean by that is that over the decades, all I’ve been able to do is in the world of radio and records. But there’s so much more potential there for television and movies. There’s no reason why “Jaws” shouldn’t be on Shark Week. There’s no reason “Flying Saucer” shouldn’t be on Ancient Aliens.
So if I’ve gone as far as I could go. Maybe it’s time to put a little teaser out there. Because who knows? Something could happen. I found oftentimes if you sort of let go of something, something else happens. That’s really what it was all about for me.
What’s it like overseeing such an iconic estate?
When my father died, all I knew was that I was his biggest fan. That was it. That’s all I knew. I just wanted to perpetuate his legacy. He hadn’t taught me anything about the record business as a kid growing up. But it seemed common sense to me that people can’t buy the records if they don’t make them anymore. So (I got them) on CD. That’s the first step I took.
Then all of a sudden CDs were over, so you had to have digital downloads and streaming. So I did that. Then I thought “I gotta get this on TV & movies.” And I tried that. And I got really close.
I’ll give you an example. In 2012, this Chicago marketing firm was gonna do a TV commercial for the Chrysler 300, and it was between an old Dickie Goodman record and Eminem. They were gonna pay $55,000 to use an old Dickie Goodman record in the commercial.
But of course... Eminem. They not only used his song, but they put him in the commercial. So that’s just an example when I talk about the potential being there.
There are these songs he had that are just timely, if not more timely these days. They just work because it’s this pop culture time capsule. History repeats itself. Every time Russia’s in the news, you can get one of his old Russian bandstand (songs). Any time there’s a political scandal, get one of his political records. Any time there’s some energy or economy crisis, get one of those records.
Because he had them for everything and none of that’s gone away. It’s all still the same. Nothing has changed since the 50s, trust me.
I perpetuated the whole legacy and I continue to do so by not being a jerk about it. I could go around telling fans to pull stuff down from YouTube. They take a video using the record, get a million hits, and all the ad revenue. But I’ve never bothered anybody with anything like that. Let them love it. They’re helping keep it alive.
Got any favorites?
With “Mister Jaws,” I was a little kid and I was with him the sound studio when he did it. They didn’t have sound effects, no CD or anything. So when they said, “How’re you gonna do the sound of drowning?” he said “Like this” and dumped his head in the dirty mop bucket and “blub blub blub.”
“Kong” was also a favorite. With “Kong,” I had a little tape recorder that I’d record songs on as they’d play on the radio, and keep playing it back for him. In those days you didn’t have some gizmo that you could Shazam or whatever. Kong actually charted and it was like No. 100, which is just a hit and miss scenario.
Was music ever something you considered pursuing for yourself?
I went on all the different radio shows—like at the time Howard Stern was still on regular radio—and because of that one of them offered me as job as a disc jockey. So I did that for a year. I had my own little show and I would do little comedy bits. It would get picked up nationally by other stations. It was a big compliment when other stations grabbed your material off the news feed and basically stole it, effectively use it in their own thing.
But anyway, I had tried to make my own Dickie Goodman records. And a lot of fans have over the years as well. But nobody could ever do it like him. So I did it a few times and thought I did pretty good but then I just sort of stopped.
What do you think you dad would say about you selling a portion of these rights?
If my dad had seen everything I’ve done up until now, he’d understand what I’m doing with Royalty Exchange. When I came into the picture there were a few bootlegs out there, but that was it. To keep it going, you gotta make it legit.
Like for example, in order to get a big record label to put out a release of all his stuff, I had to roll with a fly-by-night firm who I knew would never pay me anything, just so I could have my name on it. Then I could be the one promoting it and do it all to prove to the big guys that it could be done. Then they would do it.
How are you using the proceeds?
In the past, I would’ve put the money back into doing some new project. But I’m not doing that. I’m just putting it out there. Things come up from time to time. And I find lately that things come up usually when I’m not really going after them. SiriusXM hit me up and said come and host 50s on 5 for a weekend. I wasn’t looking for that and it was cool. A lot of times it’ll find you and you just have to put yourself out there.
How did you find the experience overall?
It was fun, and I enjoyed it. That auction page, the way you pitched the catalog with Dickie Goodman as a brand name and the genre and the historical value—something that would entice and create a sense of trivia and nostalgia that a connoisseur, a collector, could sink their teeth into, rather than just looking at the raw numbers— that was as good of a job as I could’ve done if I’d written it myself.
I’m very grateful. I’d have to be very nit-picky in order to offer some kind of critique. It was a lot of fun, it was exciting.