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How much money does a hit song really make? Plugin Presets/Expansions
Old 5 days ago
Here for the gear

Thread Starter
How much money does a hit song really make?

Apparently I have greatly underestimated the potential profits from writing a hit song.
Never thought that you can become a millionaire writing songs..
The-Dream, the R&B singer,songwriter and record producer boasted of a $15 million payday for writing Rihanna's 2007 smash "Umbrella."
Maybe he is exaggerating maybe not.
Any ideas?
How much do songwriters generally get paid for a big hit? Like a Billboard Hot 100 number-one or a top ten hit
Old 5 days ago
Lives for gear
Analogue Mastering's Avatar
Umbrella, he didn’t have much work on the drums, that’s for sure (logic vintage funk kit 03" loop)
Old 5 days ago
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boombapdame's Avatar
@Mr.ko the reality is you won't be a millionaire in the Spotify era.
Old 5 days ago
Gear Nut
Court papers in a recent infringement dispute involving Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and the estate of Marvin Gaye have revealed that the song “Blurred Lines” earned almost seventeen million dollars in under two years, mainly from radio play, with Thicke and Williams each getting more than five million dollars.
When a track crosses over into Top 10 Pop Radio, ASCAP+BMI counts the spins as double. If it hit number one, they get a quadruple bonus. That explains the million dollar pay outs.

Not to mention they can make a Million easily off Syncs -anytime you hear a song in a Commercial or Movie Trailer - they might have gotten $20k-200k payout depending on how big the client is. (Most Number one hits get dozens of syncs)

And If the Artist is on your label? Good lord. MikeWill started EarDrummers and signed Rae Sremmurd, so he gets a cut of the master, check out this article where he's dropping hints about his economic success.

How Mike Will Made It | The New Yorker
“When I started shooting videos, I had to pay ten thousand dollars just to rent one. I was like, ‘I do all these music videos, and I still don’t own a red camera? So I spent about a hundred thousand dollars to buy one. My own bread. Boom! We can go shoot a movie right now. Why not? We’re just using the utensils at hand.”
We walked up Wilshire Boulevard to the Fairmont Hotel, where Will had been staying.
The S63, Mike Will’s ride when he’s in Atlanta, is a top-of-the-line white Mercedes sedan with gold-colored rims and massage seats.
Will watched Beyoncé’s performance of his song on the Super Bowl halftime show at Iovine’s place in L.A. with Jimmy and his friends. “I ain’t gonna lie,” he said. “I was with four billionaires watching the TV.
(And keep in mind this article came out a full year before "Black Beatles" & "Humble" came out, which were his first number ones - when this article was written most of MikeWill's productions didn't get past Urban Radio)
Old 2 days ago
Gear Nut
Awesome set of interviews with Anthony Ray!! He co-wrote Pussycat Dolls "don't Cha" with Cee-Lo Green, and more recently "Anaconda" with Nicki Minaj and Jamal "Polow" Jones. Pretty fascinating guy - he's been based out of Seattle, WA his whole career, which is a very unusual place to make Pop Music - he truly did it his own way. He confirms that, over his 30 year career he's earned over $100M off one of his tracks.

Old 2 days ago
Lives for gear

Yeah there's millions upon millions up at the top, if you can write a "timeless" song like Umbrella (and note that not every Rihanna #1 is as big as that song) then yeah 15 million is probably just his share, with millions more made off it by others too.

Falls off quick though . . I squeaked one in at #36 once that I had 50% publishing on, and it made me a few hundred grand, mostly from syncs due to the accessibility of the hook. Others that only hit the #30s , without the same level of syncability, may not even make a writer 10k.
Old 1 day ago
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Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@Mr.ko the reality is you won't be a millionaire in the Spotify era.
Songs still get played on radio and TV, and that is where a lot of income originates - I'm still getting royalties for airplay on a very minor hit I co-wrote 20 years ago - albeit, not very much these days, but as I said, it was a very minor hit - with a major hit, you can definitely generate millions in airplay.

Airplay income, for a writer, almost always far outstrips mechanicals (in which I include downloads and streams).

Not to mention syncs (which I won't, as the poster above has). There's also a writers royalty for live performances.

[Note: I'm speaking from a UK perspective here - not sure if everything I've said holds true everywhere]
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