The Top-Earning Songwriters of All Time
The average annual income for a commercial songwriter is $34,455. While some songwriters make a decent amount, if they’re really good, they can earn millions.
Many successful musical artists write their own songs, however, you'd be surprised how many famous songs were actually written by somebody else. Here’s a list of the richest songwriters of all time. Some of these net worths will blow your mind.
You can thank Sia for writing hits like Rihanna’s Diamonds, Beyoncé’s Pretty Hurts and Katy Perry’s Double Rainbow. Sia is also a singer, record producer and music video director. Is there anything that this talented woman can’t do?
With a $25 million net worth, Beck is one of the most successful artists in the world. He isn’t a “stick to one genre” kind of guy. In fact, Beck has played alternative rock, anti-folk, art pop and alternative hip hop. Critics and the public know Beck as one of the most creative musicians of the 1990s and 2000s.
In February 2019, Ariana Grande became the first artist to hold the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart since the Beatles in 1964. Her song 7 Rings topped at No. 1, while Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored ranked No. 2 and Thank U, Next reached No. 3.
John Mayer wrote his first song after a trip to the hospital. When he was 17 years old, Mayer spent a weekend in the hospital due to an abnormal heartbeat, later, learning that it was an episode of arrhythmia. Mayer found this experience in the hospital frightening.
Taylor Swift is one of the world’s biggest and wealthiest celebrities. Her net worth is an estimated $320 million. What’s the secret to her success? The majority of her wealth comes from endorsements, record sales and touring. In 2018, Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour earned her over $266 million, becoming the highest-grossing tour in US history.
Paul Simon is a singer-songwriter and actor whose music career has spanned seven decades. He first rose to fame when he teamed up with Art Garfunkel to form the duo, Tom & Jerry, popularly known as Simon & Garfunkel. From 1956 to 1970, Simon wrote almost all of the duo’s songs, including their hottest hits: The Sound of Silence, Mrs. Robinson and Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Michael Bublé almost became a journalist. Before Bublé reached success and fame, he was a struggling artist. He nearly gave up on his dreams of being a singer to pursue a career in journalism. His luck turned around after performing at a wedding, however.
Born Peter Gene Bayot Hernandez, Bruno Mars is now known for his energetic, fun-loving and sultry songs. His third album 24K Magic was released in 2016 with its successful singles 24K Magic, That's What I Like and Finesse. Mars’achievements have garnered him a jaw-dropping net worth of almost $150 million.
Janet Jackson started her music career in 1982 when she signed a recording contract with A&M Records. She became a pop icon after dropping her albums Control and Rhythm Nation 1814. Fans went crazy for Jackson’s hit singles Nasty and Miss You Much.
Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman) has heavily influenced popular culture for six decades. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Dylan has a net worth of $200 million. However, The Richest estimates his net worth at $180 million. His achievements include 10 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and a place in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Before Calvin Harris became a famous DJ, he experimented with tunes in his bedroom as a teenager. After finishing high school, Harris worked at a supermarket and secretly wrote songs during his shifts. He was a songwriter by day and an aspiring DJ by night.
Justin Timberlake is more than the annual meme “It’s Gonna Be May.” Timberlake is a singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and record producer. The gifted artist rose to prominence as a member of NSYNC, one of the best boy bands of the 1990s.
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, best known as Sting, first rose to prominence as the lead singer for the new wave rock band the Police. From 1977 to 1984, Sting was the primary songwriter for the band, writing hits like Every Breath You Take.
The extraordinarily successful musician, Justin Beiber, was discovered on YouTube. Bieber’s YouTube song covers wowed talent manager Scooter Braun. Soon, Bieber landed a record deal, working with Braun and R&B singer Usher. Justin Timberlake reportedly bid to sign Bieber, but he lost to Usher.
Cherilyn Sarkisian, best known as Cher, is an Armenian-American singer and actress. Cher rose to prominence by singing in the folk-rock husband-wife duo, Sonny & Cher. Their hit song, I Got You, Babe, topped American and British charts. Time Magazine called Cher and her late ex-husband, Sonny Bono, rock’s “it” couple.
If your nickname is “The Boss,” you’re a big deal. Bruce Springsteen reportedly got “The Boss” nickname before he became a rock and roll superstar. During his club days, Springsteen's job was to collect money and distribute it to his band, E Street Band. The E Street Band started calling him “The Boss” and the name has stuck.
Pete Townshend wrote more than 100 songs as a member of the rock band, the Who. For more than 50 years, Townshend has been the band’s lead guitarist, second vocalist and main songwriter. According to BBC News, the Who is one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century.
If you’re from Europe, you know that Nana Mouskouri is a big deal. Mouskouri earned the Echo Music Prize for outstanding achievements by the German music association Deutsche Phono-Akademie in 2015. Throughout her career, Mouskouri has sold over 300 million records. Her net worth is $280 million.
With a jaw-dropping net worth of $355 million, Beyoncé does not play around when it comes to business. A lot of her net worth comes from her tours. In 2016, Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour raked in $250 million. Her record sales are also massive. Beyoncé has sold over 17 million albums throughout her career.
Toby Keith (born Toby Keith Covel) is a country singer-songwriter, actor and record producer. He’s best known for his hit songs Should've Been a Cowboy and How Do You Like Me Now?! from the 1990s. The Richest reports that Keith has an impressive net worth of $360 million.
Reginald Kenneth Dwight, also known as Sir Elton Hercules John, is a legend in the music industry. Not only is he an English singer-songwriter, but John is also a talented pianist and composer. He went from performing as a pub pianist to one of the best-selling musical artists in the world.
Guinness World Records has dubbed Mariah Carey as the “Songbird Supreme.” Carey is best known for her mind-blowing vocal range. In the 1990s, she rose to fame with her unforgettable hits Vision of Love and Emotions from her self-titled album. Five of her singles from Mariah Carey topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Dolly Parton first saw mainstream success in 1971 when she released her No. 1 single Joshua. Shortly after, she released many more hits, including Coat of Many Colors, The Right Combination and Travelin’ Man. In 1973, Parton released her biggest hit of all, Jolene.
John Lennon co-founded one of the most popular and influential bands in music history, The Beatles. Lennon and his bandmate, Paul McCartney, were the main songwriters for The Beatles. The band formed in 1960, but it took four years of hard work for the Beatles to become international stars.
Sean Combs has explored many stage names throughout his career, like Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Puffy and Diddy. Combs helped various artists find success in the music industry with his work on the MTV reality show, Making the Band. Combs was already an established hip hop recording artist when he joined the reality show in 2002.
Michael Jackson first captured the hearts of fans as an important member of the Jackson 5 with his brothers Tito, Jermaine, Jackie and Marlon. After Jackson launched his extremely successful solo career, he became known as “The King of Pop.” When he died, Jackson’s net worth stood at $236 million.
Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z, is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. Born Shawn Corey Carter, Jay-Z was the first rapper to be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Throughout his career, he took home 22 Grammy Awards. That’s the most Grammy Awards won by a rapper ever. His success doesn’t stop there.
Before Madonna became the iconic singer and actress we all know today, she worked as a dancer in New York City. When she later started in the music industry, little did she know that she would write over 150 of some pop music's most successful songs of all time.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
The richest songwriter of all time is Andrew Lloyd Webber. Webber is an English composer and impresario of musical theatre. He’s composed songs for the most loved musicals, such as Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
If you like Enrique Iglesias, you should check out Julio Iglesias, his dad. Julio Iglesias has a net worth of $600 million according to Celebrity Net Worth. Other sources say Julio Iglesias’s net worth is closer to $300 million.