There are a few things in life I could not see myself living without red wine, My Porsche 911 and the sweet soulful voice of Adele there I was just the other day sitting in my library with a cup of warm tea being serenaded by the angel herself. I couldn’t help but wonder how much does Adele make from the glorious melodies and thus came the topic of my next blog “How Much Money Does a Hit Song Make?”
In this article I’ll break down all of the ways in which a song on the top charts can bring loads
of cash to the artists who wrote it .There are plenty of money pits that these hit songs pull from but the biggest cash cows include that of streaming services, royalties, physical or digital sales and concerts or any sort of live performances. Before we get started it’s important to note that a musical artists earnings vary based on the contract between them and their record label. So to make things easy let’s assume that their hypothetical hit song we’re analyzing is one written and performed by that of an independent artist unburdened by contractual ties to a tyrannical record label.
So let us begin with all of the cash gathered from streaming services. In this day and age streaming music is much more common than actually buying the music. It’s becoming more and more rare for people to actually purchase an album physically in CD form or via digital copies like iTunes and Napster.These days listeners just pay a monthly fee for a streaming platform like Spotify or Apple music and listen to any music there groovy heart desires. So if an artist writes a hit song it will inevitably end up on the top playlists of these streaming platforms.
Let’s look at Spotify specifically, a reasonable estimate for the number of streams a hit song Morgana is about five million per week if we’re talking massive hits likes a blurred lines or Gangnam style well then you’re looking at more like seven million-plus. On Spotify the holder of the music gives point zero zero six of $1.00 per stream seems rather small doesn’t it well multiply that by five million and you’re left with $30,000 .let’s just assume for a minute that the song is on the top charts for a year ,of course songs rarely if ever sit atop the charts for an entire year but if it’s somehow managed, the income from Spotify alone would be well over 1.5 million.
Then you’ve got Apple music and where Spotify pays about $7 per thousand streams apple pays between twelve and fifteen dollars there’s. Plenty of other streaming platforms and some are more popular than others, so the numbers get rather complicated but a pragmatic estimate of the earnings from a hit song per month is an incredible total of four hundred thousand dollars.
Moving on to royalties, the first royalties that come to the mind are plays on the radio. It seemed obvious that anytime a song is played on the radio, the artists would be paid a small amount for their troubles. However this may be a surprise but in the US terrestrial broadcasters otherwise known as a.m. or FM stations do not pay performers or sound copyright owners,they only pay the songwriters .Radio airplay is considered a public performance but these public performances only generate performance royalties for songwriters so as much as Britney Spears and Rihanna have been featured on the Airways, for most of their hit songs they didn’t make a cent from the radio stations that air them.
The songwriters of huge songs like pokerface ,all rolling in the deep’ make around 500,000$ per year in royalties. it’s the songs like these that continue to be played year after year that in the big box. But royalties extend much farther than just the radio. Mariah Carey recently went on record explaining that her hit song all I want for Christmas still earns her sixty million dollars every year just from royalties I mean it makes sense considering how often you hear the song but 60 million that’s a lot of money. Of course this isn’t the best comparison considering that it’s the most popular and most played
Christmas song of this decade what an absolute banger it is. According to income research from Northwestern University law, professor Peter de Kola the bottom 99 percent of working musicians earns on average 10 percent or less of their income from songwriting royalties. The top one percent however earns an average of almost 30 percent of their income from songwriting royalties and that 30 percent represents the biggest portion of a 1 percenters total income. This makes sense considering it’s the big hits that anyone really cares about or uses this statistic just goes to show that once you’ve began to make significant money in royalties you’ve already made a killing off of your music in the music world .Royalties are kind of like sponsorships, once an artist gets to that point it’s just a massive cherry on an already massive pie. As far as the money garnered from album sales physical
or digital ,as long as we’re still assuming the artist is independent, they get pretty much all of the income from the direct album or single sales unless it’s through an avenue such as iTunes.Where they will probably confiscate about 30% of that sale .While it’s not as popular as streaming an artist with a
killer song at the top of the charts will make hundreds of thousands from these purchases from their fans. As the great Jake whole once advised little pump in his track 1985 never quit touring cuz that’s the way we eat out here in this rap game and that’s true, touring and performing live in front of enormous audiences is where artists who are attracted to record labels, make majority of their cash.
Depending on how popular you are .A hefty concert can pull you in between 50,000 and $100,000 a gig that’s one night and you’re pulling in six figures. Eventually you’ll start to feel like Floyd money Mayweather himself. say on the reins of a hit song an artist goes on a tour around Europe where they play 50 different concerts, if the artist is on the higher end of the popularity spectrum they’d be making 5 million easy from that tour not to mention all of the merchandise and physical albums being sold at the concerts ,as well as smaller contributions like meet and greets and things of that nature. Then of course there’s the general snowball effect that shows up in any business related to media a hit song brings the artists to stardom if they’re not already there .This variable is immeasurable but can’t
be ignored.Once the artist reaches this point of view, then wings of social media will take them from
there. The face and name of this artists are now valuable for the indefinite future. The artist is now a celebrity and the money is simply something that comes with that.
There are plenty of other factors that are difficult to quantify ,but still add up to a significant amount of cheddar. Things like sponsorships, monetization of content and guest appearances are all big cash grabs for artists and can be a direct result of a hit song. Long story made short the least a hit song can make you a millionaire. Artists like Mariah Carey make millions upon millions from their hit songs but not all hit songs come from such popular artists. You’ve heard “tainted love” but have no clue whose soft sell is, you’ve sung along too “come on Elieen” plenty of times but Dexys Midnight Runners just doesn’t ring a bell. You’ve likely never heard or remember hearing of the band the knack, but you’ve undoubtedly heard their hit song “my Sharona” this track as well as the others are the epitome of one-hit wonders. Berton averre lead guitarist of the knack and one of the songwriters of my Sharona literally lived off that one song. He definitely put it best when he said “I’m lucky when people ask me what do you do for a living I say I just go to my mailbox a couple of times a month that song has been so good to me”. Averre hasn’t made another song even close to the magnitude of “My Sharona” but he couldn’t care less. So the real answer of how much does a hit song make you is enough “My Sharona” is now a diamond record with over 10 million units sold. Legend Berton averre, the lead singer doug Fieger wrote the 1979 mega hit in just 15 minutes,they mixed it in just 15 minutes as well.,after recording the majority of the song including lead vocals in a single take. That’s all it took and from then on their bank accounts skyrocketed. That 15-minute song would go on to sell half a million copies in 13 days, making it the fastest debut single to earn gold status since the Beatles I want to hold your hand back in 1964 .Whether it an unfamiliar band like the knack or a musical powerhouse like Mariah Carey, recording that hit song is what it’s all about in the world of music.
what’s your favorite hit song? do you have a favorite one-hit wonder? let us know in the comments section below.Hope you like our article How Much Money Does a Hit Song Make?.Thank you & Have a nice day.