How many writers does it take for a hit song?
A new study has revealed an increase in the number of writers and publishers on a hit song.
In the golden age of the 60’s, an average song on the Billboard Top 10 had an average of 1.87 writers and 1.68 publishers annually.
In today’s times, popular mainstream songs have an average of 4 writers and 6 publishers each.
This is a clear indication of the licensing and rights administration challenges the music industry is facing.
Music Reports used and analysed data from its Songdex catalog registry to dig into the Billboard’s annual Top 10 hits from the 1960’s to the 2010’s, decade by decade.
The results are interesting as it doesn’t show a straight-line increase but certain spikes throughout the times.
Down the stream line.
Here is a break-down of writers and publishers for Billboard Top 10 hits throughout the decades:
The LP era didn’t see a dramatic rise in songwriters and publishers.
60’s- 1.87 writers
80’s- 1.95 writers
The 90’s saw a spike in numbers.
Why is this? The spike coincides with the introduction of digital music formats aka the MP3.
Napster launches in 1999 and with it, a whole new era of data overload.
The boom of digital music formats saw a “market need for registration, licensing and reporting systems,” says Music Reports.
Billboard Top 10 hits had an average of…
-4.96 publishers annually.
This is due to the increased complexity in music rights ownership.
The past decade has seen the emergence of streaming as a major source of revenue for record labels, thus resulting in an increase of publishers.
As digital music formats and streaming continue to dominate the music industry, will we keep seeing an increase in writers and publishers per hit song?