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20 Richest Song Writers Of All-Time

Richest Songwriters

When you hear a song that you like, there are often a few things that you like. The words, the beat, the tune, and the sound of the singer all make for a great song. What you may not know is that in many cases, the words, the tune, and the beat were written by someone else. While some singers do write and perform their own songs, there are many who don’t. There is a songwriter behind your favorite songs who often don’t get the credit. Below is a list of the richest songwriters in the world. Some performed their songs and many prefer to stay behind the scenes.

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Sia on stage


Sia $20 Million

Sia spent the beginning of her career writing amazing songs for other artists. She has written songs for Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Beyoncé, Pitbull, and Jennifer Lopez. After doing all of this writing for other artists, she decided to perform songs herself including the monster hit, “Chandelier” that she co-wrote.

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2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - Day 3


Beck $25 Million

Beck has made a nice chunk of change writing and performing his own songs. A few of his best include Feel Good Time, Feather In Your Cap, and Little One. In 2014, he won a Grammy for the Album of the Year for Morning Phase. On this album, he wrote and composed every song himself. He has shared his gift with other artists and he wrote “Dancin’ in Circles” for Lady Gaga and “Heaven Can Wait” by Charlotte Gainsbourg.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)

john mayer on stage


John Mayer $40 Million

John Mayer has an original sound and he is a huge talent. He has plenty of songs on plenty of albums. With an exception of a few, he wrote all of his songs himself. A few of his most popular include “Your Body Is a Wonderland”, “Shadow Days”, “Neon”, “Queen of California”, and “Daughters.”

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BFI Epiphany: Tim Rice Introduces 'From Here To Eternity'


Tim Rice $200 Million

Tim Rice has written some very popular songs over the years. The ones that earned him the most money are the ones from Disney movies. He wrote many of the songs for The Lion King. Many of these songs were extremely popular. He also wrote songs for Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. The songs he wrote for Beauty and the Beast were used again for the very popular, live-action version of the movie. Many of his songs are used in other movies and in television shows and kids learn to sing these songs when they are young and they stick with them forever.

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'Sensation - The Story Of The Who's Tommy' - UK Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals


Pete Townsend $215 Million

Pete Townsend is one of those musical geniuses who is not only in a band, but he also writes some amazing songs. The is a member of the band, The Who. He also wrote most of the songs written for the band. The songs that he has written are on albums and are played all over the world. Many people consider him to be a huge part of music history. Pete Townsend is a musical genius and he has written some of the most famous songs in rock history. He has also managed to make a good living writing and performing his songs.

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A Celebration Of Carole King And Her Music To Benefit Paul Newman's The Painted Turtle Camp


Herb Alpert $250 Million

In the 1960’s, Hank Alpert was in a band called Tijuana Brass, which is one of the most famous bands of all time. He is also the writer of most of their songs. Although his band isn’t that famous today, he is still making an awful lot of money. He has his own record label, his own brands, and many chart topping songs. A few of his most popular songs include, “This Guy’s in Love With You”, “Tijuana Taxi”, “The Lonely Bull”, and “Lollipops and Roses”.

(Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Painted Turtle Camp)

(Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for The Painted Turtle Camp)



Lady Gaga $275 Million

Over the last decade, Lady Gaga has become a huge hit. She started out as a DJ and then started writing and performing her own songs. Most of the songs she has performed, she has written herself. Some of her most popular songs include “Edge Of Glory”, “Born This Way”, “Poker Face”, and “Just Dance”. She has also lent her songwriting talents to Britney Spears with the song Quicksand. She is a huge talent and her net worth is the proof.

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

mick jagger on stage


Mick Jagger $300 Million

Mick Jagger is famous for being the lead singer of The Rolling Stones. He is not just a famous rock star and an amazing singer, he is also an amazing songwriter. He has written plenty of songs for the Stones, including “Dancing In the Streets”, “State Of Shock”, “Hard Woman”, and “Sweet Thing”. In 2004, he wrote the song “Old Habits Die Hard” for the film Alfie and he won a Golden Globe for the best original song. He has written plenty of songs during his solo career and he even wrote the song “Freedom” for rapper Pitbull. Mick Jagger’s musical talents are amazing and have made him a very wealthy man.

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Michael Jackson Not Guilty


Michael Jackson $350 Million

Michael Jackson is known as the King of Pop. He began his career when he was just a child with The Jackson 5. When he went solo, his career exploded. He has many hit songs that he wrote himself including
“Bad”, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean,” “Black or White”, and “Dirty Dian”a. He has also written songs for other artists as well. He wrote “Don’t Stop the Music” for Rihanna, “Joy” for Blackstreet and “Keep On Keepin’ On” for MC Lyte. Sadly, Michael Jackson died too young. He left behind three children and a musical legacy that will last a lifetime. Nobody ever will come close to being the success that Michael Jackson was when he was alive.

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian-Pool/Getty Images)

taylor swift on stage


Taylor Swift $360 Million

Taylor Swift has made quite a career for herself for a girl who is so young. She has won many prestigious awards in the music industry. She also writes all of her own songs. Most of her songs are about her boyfriends, her ex-boyfriends, and her own experiences. Some of her most popular songs include “Back To December”, “You Belong With Me”, “Fearless”, and “Fifteen”. On her 2010 album, Speak Now, she wrote every song herself. She has also lent some of her songwriting talents to other artists such as “Better Man” by Little Big Town. It seems as though Taylor just started out in career, therefore, you can expect her to make millions more in the future.

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up close shot of sting


Sting $395 Million

Sting hasn’t been a solo artist all his life. He was actually in the band, The Police, early on in his career. When he was with The Police, he wrote plenty of songs including “Next To You, Roxanne”, “ll Be Missing You”, and “Can’t Stand Losing You”. He has also written songs for other artists, including “Dance For Me” by Mary J. Blige. When he went solo, he wrote plenty of his own songs like All This Time, Seven Days, and Shape of My Heart. Today, he is focusing greatly on his charity work, however, his talent and his songs has made him a musical legend.

(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

jimmy buffet speaking


Jimmy Buffett $400 Million

Jimmy Buffet is a huge musical talent. He is a musical genius and he writes many of his own songs. Some of his most popular include “Boat Drinks”, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, “One Particular Barbour”, and “A Pirate Looks Forty”. His most popular song to date is “Margaritaville”. If you ever visit one of Jimmy’s many restaurants, you will feel like you are sitting on a beach, having a cocktail. It is not uncommon to hear some of his greatest hits playing the background before you eat. His beachy summertime style where he wears sandals and shorts is just part of what makes Jimmy so amazing and it has made him more money than he knows what to do with.

(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

George Harrison Makeshift Memorial


George Harrison $400 Million

Paul McCartney wasn’t the only member of the Beatles to write songs for the group. He also wrote plenty of songs for his solo career and when he was a member of The Traveling Wilburys. A few of his most popular songs include “Any Road”, “Let It Roll”, “Beautiful Girl”, “Flying”, and “I Need You”. Unfortunately, George’s career wasn’t the easiest. While he was a member of The Beatles, he was a bit paranoid. After John Lennon was murdered, he took it very hard and he became a paranoid recluse. He was stabbed once and he developed cancer. Although he had surgery to have a tumor removed, the cancer eventually killed him. Even though his life was difficult, he will always be remembered as one of the most famous musicians and songwriters in the world.

(Photo by Sion Touhig / Getty Images)

dolly parton on stage


Dolly Parton $450 Million

Dolly Parton has been a musical force to be reckoned with for many years. Her musical talent has made her millions, and she has written most of her songs. A few of her most popular were “9 to 5” for the movie that she starred in, “Circle of Love”, “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind”, “Forever Country”, and “Jolene”. She is also behind one of the most famous songs of all time, however, many people don’t know it. One of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits of all time was “I Will Always Love You”, this song was actually written by Dolly. She was hired to write a song for the movie, The Bodyguard and she wrote this song for Whitney Houston to perform. Dolly has performed the song a few times and many people believe that she is singing a cover. What they don’t know is that Dolly actually wrote the song herself.

(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

jay z at movie premiere


Jay-Z $475 Million

Jay-Z is more than just a husband, a father, and a rapper. He is also a very popular songwriter. He has written plenty of songs for himself, including ” ’03Bonnie & Clyde”, “99 Problems”, and “Big Pimpin'”. He has also written songs for many artists, including his wife, Beyonce. For his wife, he has written, “Deja Vu” and “Crazy In Love”. He also wrote “Come Fly With” Me for Foxy Brown, “Back In the Day” for Missy Elliott, “3 Kings by Rick Ross”, and “Heartbreaker” for Mariah Carey. When he writes songs for other artists, he often doesn’t even take credit. Not only is Jay-Z talented, he is also a great guy.

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Mariah Carey smiling


Mariah Carey- $500 Million

Mariah Carey has an amazing voice. She can hit high notes like nobody ever. Some of her most popular songs are “Hero” and “One Sweet Day”. What you may not know is that she didn’t only perform these songs, she has also written them as well. She has more number one singles than any other solo artist in the world and she wrote most of the songs herself. While she does go to songwriters no and again for a song or two, her biggest hits were written by Mariah herself She has also written songs for other artists as well.

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sean combs being interviewed


Sean Combs $550 Million

Sean Combs has gone by many names in the past. Diddy, P.Diddy, Puffy, and Puff Daddy. Through all of these name changes, he has still managed to be an enormous amount of money. He is a rap star, an entrepreneur, he owns his own production company, his own label, and he is also a pretty great songwriter. He has written “I’ll Be Missing You”, “Last Night”, “I Need a Girl”, and “Bad Boy For Life”.

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

Musician Bono attends the 25th annual Palm Springs Film Festival - Talking Pictures on January 5, 2014 in Palm Springs, California.


Bono $600 Million

Bono is the lead singer of U2, which is one of the most popular bands of all time. Most people know that his band made him famous, however, they don’t know that he is the man behind most of their songs. A few of his best songs include “With Or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Beautiful Day”, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. Bono doesn’t keep his talent just to himself. He ha written plenty of songs for other artists and he doesn’t even take the credit. Some of these songs include, “Mystery Girl” for Roy Orbison, “Jah Love” for the Neville Brothers, “Goldeneye” for Tina Turner, and “Slow Dancing” for Willie Nelson. He also collaborated with Johnny Cash on “The Wanderer”.

(Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for PSFF)

Paul McCartney departs from the High Court


Paul McCartney- $800 Million

Paul McCartney was a member of one of the most famous bands of all time, The Beatles. Thanks to his songs and his band, he is considered to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Luckily for Paul, this has also brought him a lot of money throughout his career. Paul goes out of his way to make sure that people know that he was not just a member of the band. Some of his most popular songs include, “Eleanor”, “Let It Be”, and “Rigby”, and “Say Say Say”. Many of Paul’s songs continue to be fan favorites today.

(Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Andrew Lloyd Webber poses during a photocall


Andrew Lloyd Webber- $1.2 Billion

Andrew Lloyd Webber, without a doubt, is the most popular songwriter of all time. Most people hear his name and they recognize it immediately, especially those who are fans of the theater. He is famous for writing the music for some of the most famous musicals of all time including Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also wrote the famous song, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, for Evita. He is so amazing, that he has been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Based on the outrageous fortune that Andrew Lloyd Webber has made, it goes to show you that if you are good, you can make money if you aren’t much of a performer. Other artists have made millions writing and performing their own songs. Either way, there is great money to be made in songwriting.

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Written by Camille Moore

Camille has a master's degree from Saint Joseph University's Writing Studies program. Her writing has been published on several websites, and she enjoys writing articles and short stories in her spare time. You can follow Camille on Twitter @CamealAshley.