The Last of Us: "Long Long Time" Singer Linda Ronstadt Isn't Making Any Money From Song's New Popularity

Ever since episode 3 of The Last of Us ended this weekend, plays on the Linda Ronstadt song "Long Long Time," featured throughout the episode and heard at its conclusion, have exploded. According to Spotify, streams of the song rose by 4,900% in the hour after the show's conclusion, plus the song immediately climbing the iTunes charts with users downloading the single. Ronstadt's performance of the song not only ties into the thematic nature of the episode itself, but also gets a shoutout from Pedro Pascal's Joel as the episode ends. Viewers may be shocked to learn though that Ronstadt isn't getting paid at all for the song's newfound popularity. 

Luckily there's not an insidious reason that Ronstadt isn't seeing any money from her song's resurgence, she previously sold all of her recorded music assets to the Iconic Artists Group back in March of 2021. This tactic has been deployed with frequency lately by many musicians, with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks, and Barry Manilow, selling either a majority stack or all of their catalogs to music publishers. Details are seldom disclosed on these but many have fetched in the hundreds of millions.

Speaking via email with Billboard, Ronstadt was asked about not seeing any money from "Long Long Time" in the wake of its new streams and sales, she said: "I still love the song and I'm very glad that Gary will get a windfall," Gary being songwriter Gary White who penned the track originally. Ronstadt's manager noted to the outlet that the performer, who was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy in 2019, is "not unhappy" about selling her catalog two years prior.

"I'm going to text my friend Seth Rudetsky," series co-creator Craig Maizin said in The Last of Us podcast. "He's a wonderful guy, he also has the most encyclopedic knowledge of all music, all of it from classical to show tunes to popular music, all of it. I texted him and I just said 'Here's what I'm looking for, lifelong loss and longing, a sense that you'll never ever get there. So a sort of Woe Is Me song.' And within four seconds, 'Long Long Time,' Linda Ronstadt and it was one of those songs I had forgotten existed and I played it and I was like oh my God it couldn't have been more perfect."

When does The Last of Us air?

For more Last of Us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight's new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast will include breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The Last of Us airs on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. Eastern every Sunday with The Last of Pods debuting immediately following each show.