190801 Katy Perry
Katy Perry Image Credit: AP

It’s expensive to promote a Katy Perry hit, a music executive told a jury that will decide how much the pop superstar and other collaborators on her 2013 song ‘Dark Horse’ will pay the creators of a Christian rap song.

Just how pricey? More than $13,000 (Dh47,742) for a wardrobe stylist for one night. More than $3,000 (Dh11,000) for a hairdo and over $800 for a manicure. Nearly $2,000 for flashing cocktail ice cubes.

Steve Drellishak, a vice president at Universal Music Group, testified Wednesday that expenses like these are essential to the brand of Perry.

“She always has to be in the most fashionable clothes, the most fashionable make-up,” said Drellishak, who is the first witness to testify after a nine-person jury found that Perry and her ‘Dark Horse’ collaborator improperly copied elements of the 2009 song “Joyful Noise.”

“She changes her look a lot,” Drellishak said. “That’s core to what the Katy Perry brand is.”

Attorneys for the creators of ‘Joyful Noise’, a song by plaintiff Marcus Gray who released it under the stage name “Flame,” say Capitol Records received more than $31 million for the “Dark Horse” single and the album and concert DVD on which it appeared. Attorneys for both sides told the jury Tuesday that Perry herself earned $3 million, minus $600,000 in expenses.

An attorney for Capitol Records told jurors Tuesday that expenses trimmed the label’s profits to roughly $650,000. Capitol Records is owned by Universal Music Group.

Drellishak said ‘Prism’ has sold 1.2 million physical copies, but ‘Dark Horse’ has been streamed 1.89 billion times.

‘Dark Horse’, a hybrid of pop, trap and hip-hop sounds that was the third single from Perry’s 2013 album ‘Prism’, spent four weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 in early 2014. It earned Perry a Grammy Award nomination and was part of her 2015 Super Bowl halftime performance.

While copyright infringement claims are common in music, they rarely result in such losses for high-profile artists.

A jury in 2015 returned a multimillion verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell over their 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’.

The judgement, which remains on appeal, was in favour of the children of Marvin Gaye, who sued alleging that ‘Blurred Lines’ copied from their father’s hit ‘Got to Give It Up’.