Since we started Planet Money Records and released the 47-year-old song "Inflation," the song has taken off. It recently hit 1 million streams on Spotify. And we now have a full line of merch — including a limited edition vinyl record; a colorful, neon hoodie; and 70s-inspired stickers — n.pr/shopplanetmoney. After starting a label and negotiating our first record deal, we're taking the Inflation song out into the world to figure out the hidden economics of the music business. Things get complicated when we try to turn the song into a viral hit. Just sounding good isn't enough and turning a profit in the music business means being creative, patient and knowing the right people.This is part three of the Planet Money Records series. Here's part one and part two. Listen to "Inflation" on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, Amazon Music & Pandora. Listen to our remix, "Inflation [136bpm]," on Spotify, YouTube Music & Amazon Music. "Inflation" is on TikTok. (And — if you're inspired — add your own!) This episode was reported by Erika Beras and Sarah Gonzalez, produced by Emma Peaslee and James Sneed, edited by Jess Jiang and Sally Helm, engineered by Brian Jarboe, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Music: "Inflation," "Superfly Fever," "Nola Strut" and "Inflation [136bpm]." Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Silicon Valley Bank was the 16th largest bank in America, the bank of choice for tech startups and big-name venture capitalists. Then, in the span of just a few days, it collapsed. Whispers that SVB might be in trouble spread like wildfire through group texts and Twitter posts. Depositors raced to empty their accounts, withdrawing $42 billion in a single day. Last Friday, after regulators declared that SVB had failed, the FDIC seized the bank.As the dust settles on the biggest bank failure — and bank rescue — in recent memory, we're still figuring out what happened. But poor investment choices, weak regulation, and customer panic all played their parts. We'll look into the bank's collapse to understand what it can teach us about the business of banking itself.This episode was produced by Willa Rubin, with help from Dave Blanchard. It was edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Brian Jarboe. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Our acting executive producer is Jess Jiang.Music: "I Don't Do Gossip," "Groovy Little Penguins" and "Vision." Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Over the past year, dozens of shows have been disappearing from streaming platforms like HBO Max and Showtime. Shows like Minx, Made for Love, FBoy Island, and even big budget hits like Westworld have been removed entirely.So why did these platforms, after investing millions of dollars in creating original content, decide not just to cancel those shows, but to make them unavailable altogether?We dive into the economics of the television industry looking for answers to a streaming mystery that has affected both fans and creatives. And we find out what happens when the stream runs dry.This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer. Engineering by Josh Newell. Sierra Juarez checked the facts. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.We want to hear your thoughts on the show! We have a short, anonymous survey we'd love for you to fill out: n.pr/pmsurveyHelp support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
As a kid, Ryanne Jones' friend accidentally hit her in the mouth with a hammer, knocking out her two front teeth. Her parents never had enough money for the dental care needed to fix them, so Ryanne lived much of her adult life with a chipped and crooked smile. Ryanne spent a while as a single mom working low-wage jobs, but she had higher aspirations: she interviewed dozens of times a year for higher-paying roles that she was more than qualified for. But she never landed any of them. And to her, it really seemed like the only thing standing between her and a better job was her rotting, brown front teeth. Our physical appearances can communicate a lot about our financial status. There are some things, such as clothing, that we have more control over. But there are other things that we don't — and they can have serious long-term economic consequences.This episode was originally run as part of Marketplace's This is Uncomfortable podcast.Reported by: Reema KhraisEdited by: Micaela Blei. Produced by: Zoë Saunders, Peter Balonon-Rosen, Megan Detrie, Hayley Hershman and Daniel Martinez. The Planet Money version was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry.Mastered by: Charlton ThorpMusic: WonderlyHelp support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
The 90s sit-com Seinfeld is often called "a show about nothing." Lauded for its observational humor, this quick-witted show focussed on four hapless New Yorkers navigating work, relationships...yada yada yada.Jerry, George, Elaine & Kramer set themselves apart from the characters who populated shows like Friends or Cheers, by being the exact opposite of the characters audiences would normally root for. These four New Yorkers were overly analytical, calculating, and above all, selfish.In other words, they had all the makings of a fascinating case study in economics.Economics professors Linda Ghent and Alan Grant went so far as to write an entire book on the subject, Seinfeld & Economics. The book points readers to economic principles that appear throughout the show, ideas like economic utility, game theory, and the best way to allocate resources in the face of scarcity.On today's show, we make the case that Seinfeld is, at its heart, not a show about nothing, but a show about economics. And that understanding Seinfeld can change the way you understand economics itself.This episode was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer. It was mastered by Robert Rodriguez and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
If you are a congressperson or a senator and you have an idea for a new piece of legislation, at some point someone will have to tell you how much it costs. But, how do you put a price on something that doesn't exist yet?Since 1974, that has been the job of the Congressional Budget Office, or the CBO. The agency plays a critical role in the legislative process: bills can live and die by the cost estimates the CBO produces.The economists and budget experts at the CBO, though, are far more than just a bunch of number crunchers. Sometimes, when the job is really at its most fun, they are basically tasked with predicting the future. The CBO has to estimate the cost of unreleased products and imagine markets that don't yet exist — and someone always hates the number they come up with.On today's episode, we go inside the CBO to tell the twisting tale behind the pricing of a single piece of massive legislation — when the U.S. decided to finally cover prescription drug insurance for seniors. At the time, some of the drugs the CBO was trying to price didn't even exist yet. But the CBO still had to tell Congress how much the bill would cost — even though the agency knew better than anyone that its math would almost definitely be wrong.We want to hear your thoughts on the show! We have a short, anonymous survey we'd love for you to fill out: n.pr/pmsurvey Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
More than 20 years ago, something unusual happened in the small town of Dixfield, Maine. A lady named Barbara Thorpe had left almost all of her money—$200,000—to benefit the cats of her hometown. When Barbara died in 2002, those cats suddenly got very, very rich. And that is when all the trouble began.Barbara's gift set off a sprawling legal battle that drew in a crew of crusading cat ladies, and eventually, the town of Dixfield itself. It made national news. But after all these years, no one seemed to know where that money had ended up. Did the Dixfield cat fortune just...vanish?In this episode, host Jeff Guo travels to Maine to track down the money. To figure out how Barbara's plans went awry. And to understand something about this strange form of economic immortality called a charitable trust.This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Dave Blanchard. It was engineered by Josh Newell. Sally Helm edited the show and Sierra Juarez checked the facts. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting Executive Producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
This episode originally ran in 2020.In 2005, Franklin Leonard was a junior executive at Leonardo DiCaprio's production company. A big part of his job was to find great scripts. The only thing — most of the 50,000-some scripts registered with the Writers Guild of America every year aren't that great. Franklin was drowning in bad scripts ... So to help find the handful that will become the movies that change our lives, he needed a better way forward.Today on the show — how a math-loving movie nerd used a spreadsheet and an anonymous Hotmail address to solve one of Hollywood's most fundamental problems: picking winners from a sea of garbage. And, along the way, he may just have reinvented Hollywood's power structure.This episode was produced by James Sneed and Darian Woods, and edited by Bryant Urstadt, Karen Duffin and Robert Smith. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Every year, the U.S. government spends more money than it takes in. In order to fund all that spending, the country takes on debt. Congress has the power to limit how much debt the U.S. takes on. Right now, the debt limit is $31.4 trillion dollars. Once we reach that limit, Congress has a few options so that the government keeps paying its bills: Raise the debt limit, suspend it, or eliminate it entirely. That debate and negotiations are back this season. One thing that is in short supply, but very important for these negotiations, is good information. Shai Akabas, of the Bipartisan Policy Center, knows this well. Right now, he and his team are working on figuring out when exactly the U.S. government could run out of money to pay its obligations — what they've dubbed: the "X Date." Shai is determined to help prevent the U.S. government from blowing past the X Date without a solution. But this year's debt-ceiling negotiations are not going very well. Which is daunting, because if lawmakers don't figure something out, the ramifications for the global economy could be huge. So, how did Shai become the go-to expert at the go-to think tank for debt ceiling information? It started in 2011, back when he and current Chair of the Federal Reserve Jay Powell, armed with a powerpoint and the pressure of a deadline, helped stave off economic disaster. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
A lot of the time, economic policy can seem pretty impersonal — cold, hard, data-driven. But at the heart of the Federal Reserve are people: fallible, complicated people who are just doing their best to steer the economy in the right direction. Often, we remember them just for their economic decisions. But today, we're airing two episodes from our daily economics show The Indicator that profile the people inside the Fed. First, we're heading back to the 1970s to revisit Arthur Burns' oft-criticized stint as Fed chair. Next, we have a conversation with Mary Daly, the current president of the San Francisco Fed, about her remarkable path from high school dropout to one of the most important economic voices in the nation.These two Indicator episodes were originally produced by Viet Le and Brittany Cronin. They were fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Dylan Sloan and edited by Kate Concannon. The Planet Money version was produced by Dylan Sloan, engineered by Josh Newell and edited by Dave Blanchard.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.