In order to build a successful music career, you need more than just a great voice. This is an operation that involves a lot of people and cannot be done on your own. If you want to reach the big bucks, you must have at least one long-lasting hit in your career. Most of the successful artists learn how to write their own songs, but not just any ordinary song, but a hit song.
In the past, there were cases where artists retired early and live lavish off of the royalties from their most popular songs. The music business is just like a normal business where you need to produce the right product and find that sweet spot that has a high demand.
From every record sell, the songwriter receives 9.1 cents in mechanical-royalty payments. In today’s article, we will highlight the highest-earning songs of all time.
Dolly Parton – I Will Always Love You
Dolly Parton is responsible for writing and recording I Will Always Love You, back in 1973. At the time, Dolly wrote the song for her partner Porter Wagoner and had extraordinary commercial success. It reached Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1974 and 1975.
This song has earned Dolly millions of dollars.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney – Yesterday
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the main songwriters for the Beatles. This iconic due made an agreement to share the credit for all written songs 50/50, no matter how much either of them contributed.
Just because of this agreement, John Lennon earned millions for Yesterday even though McCartney was 100% responsible for the writing and singing of the song.
Yesterday is one of the biggest hits in the history of radio. It is covered by more than 2200 different artists, and experts predict that the earnings of this song alone are close to $30 million.
Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector – You’ve Lost That Feeling
Barry Mann and his Wife Cynthia worked together with the legendary producer Phil Spector to produce this massive hit after it was recorded by The Righteous Brothers.
This song is included in movies like Top Gun, and more than 2000 artists made a cover from this song on the radio.
Experts estimate that the song made over $32 million dollars over the years.
Irvin Berlin –White Christmas
Christmas songs are some of the songs with the best royalties just because they are popular for a longer period of time.
Even though Mariah Carey is currently most popular with her song “All I Want for Christmas is You”, there has never been a song that captures the Christmas spirit the way that White Christmas does.
The song is surrounded by irony, just because Irvin was a Jewish immigrant from Russia.
This song is covered by many famous artists and sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. The song still remains popular and it is played during the Christmas period everywhere in the world. White Christmas brought in an estimated $36 million dollars to the artist and songwriter.
The Hill Sisters – Happy Birthday
The Hill sisters needed a song for their kindergarten class to sing on birthdays back in 1893. They made the Happy Birthday song and here we are almost 130 years later we are still singing it.
Over the years, the ownership of this song has changed multiple times. In 1990, Warner Chappell (a music holding company) bought the rights for this song for $25 million.
Today this song earns around $5,000 per day and $2 million a year in royalties. If you want to use this song in a movie or TV it will cost you $25,000, and the weirdest thing is that it is against the law to sing the Happy Birthday song in a large group of unrelated people, such as at an office party.
So far, experts estimate that this song generated around $50 million. That is more than the highest paid player earns in NBA, Twinspires Edge top expert pick LeBron James per year ($39 million). It’s a lot of dough!