How Much Money Has Rick Astley Made From Rickrolling?

Michael Putland/GettyImages

by Kirsten Howard

Have you ever clicked on an exciting link or potentially explosive news story, only to find yourself watching the video for Rick Astley's 1987 hit 'Never Gonna Give You Up'? Then you’ve been rickrolled, my friend.

A classic bait-and-switch scenario, the meme is as popular now as it’s ever been.

“I think it’s just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it,” the eponymous singer told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “But that’s what's brilliant about the Internet.”

Astley originally rose to fame in the 1980s, scoring number one singles in the UK, a platinum-selling album, and even a Grammy nomination. But after millions upon millions of views, how much money has the rickrolling prank raked in for its star?

Well, as of 2010, he had received the princely sum of … $12. This is because Astley didn’t write the song, so he only receives a performer’s share of the sound recording copyright. Since that is the latest figure, maybe he's made twice that by now?

For the record: Astley doesn’t seem to have any hard feelings about rickrolling. “Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny," he said. "My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it.”

And despite the prevalence of the meme, he has no plans to remix or re-release the song to cash in on the phenomenon.

“I don’t really know whether I want to be doing that,” he said. “I’m not being an ageist, but it’s almost a young person’s thing, that. I think the artist themselves trying to remix it is almost a bit sad. No, I’m too old for that.”

If you want to see Sir Rick Astley being knighted by the Queen earlier this year, click here.