Monday, September 4, 2023

Highest-Earning Songs All Time

Highest-Earning Songs of All Time:

Surprisingly, there aren’t many resources out there listing royalties earned by songs. There are variations of a top-ten list that have floated around since at least 2014 (see sources at bottom of page) but that’s about it. This page lists twelve songs which have earned $30 million or more and then lists high-selling songs which may be in that bracket as well. Songs with royalty information are listed by songwriters and not the performers. Songs with numbers of copies sold are listed by the performers. Note that earnings and number of copies sold are often estimates.

Check other lists based on charts, sales, and airplay here.

Songs with Royalties of $30 Million or More:

  1. “Happy Birthday to You” by the Hill Sisters (1893). Earnings: $70 million
  2. White Christmas” (1942) by Irving Berlin (1942). Earnings: $66 million, copies sold: 52 million
  3. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector (1964). Earnings: $65 million
  4. Yesterday” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (1965). Earnings: $60 million
  5. All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey & Walter Afanasieff (1994). Earnings: $60 million, copies sold: 16 million
  6. Unchained Melody” by Alex North, Hy Zaret (1955). Earnings: $55 million
  7. Stand by Me” by Ben E. King, Elmo Glick, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller (1961). Earnings: $50 million
  8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town by Haven Gillespie & Fred J. Coots (1934). Earnings: $50 million
  9. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells (1944). Earnings: $45 million
  10. “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney (1979). Earnings: $40 million

  11. Every Breath You Take” by Sting (1983). Earnings: $35 million
  12. (Oh) Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison & Bill Dees (1964). Earnings: $30 million

    Other High-Selling Songs But Royalties Unknown:

  13. Shape of You” performed by Ed Sheeran (2017). Copies sold: 42 million
  14. Despacito” performed by Luis Fonsi with Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber (2017). Copies sold: 38 million
  15. Candle in the Wind 1997” performed by Elton John (1997). Copies sold: 33 million
  16. “In the Summertime” performed by Mungo Jerry (1970). Copies sold: 31 million
  17. Silent Night” written by Joseph Mohr (1818). Copies sold: 30 million
  18. We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” performed by Bill Haley & His Comets (1955). Copies sold: 25 million
  19. I Will Always Love You” performed by Whitney Houston (1992). Copies sold: 24 million
  20. Something Just Like This” performed by The Chainsmokers with Coldplay (2017). Copies sold: 23 million
  21. It’s Now or Never” performed by Elvis Presley (1960). Copies sold: 22 million
  22. Perfect” performed by Ed Sheeran & Beyoncé (2017). Copies sold: 22 million

  23. We Are the World” performed by U.S.A. for Africa (1985). Copies sold: 20 million
  24. “If I Didn’t Care” by the Ink Spots(1939). Copies sold: 19 million
  25. “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” performed by Baccara (1977). Copies sold: 18 million
  26. My Heart Will Go On” performed by Celein Dion (1997). Copies sold: 18 million
  27. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You” performed by Bryan Adams (1991). Copies sold: 15 million
  28. You’re the One That I Want” by Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta (1978). Copies sold: 15 million
  29. “Wind of Change” performed by the Scorpions (1991). Copies sold: 14 million
  30. “Sweet Mother” performed by Prince Nico Mbarga (1976). Copies sold: 13 million
  31. Sukiyaki” performed by Kyu Sakamoto (1963). Copies sold: 13 million
  32. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” performed by Gene Autry (1949). Copies sold: 12.5 million

  33. I Want to Hold Your Hand” performed by The Beatles (1963). Copies sold: 12 million
  34. Time to Say Goodbye” performed by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman (1995). Copies sold: 12 million
  35. Y.M.C.A.” performed by the Village People (1978). Copies sold: 12 million

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 9/14/2023.

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