Despite Rodrigo’s success only 15 of the top 100 songwriters in the world are women
Pop was the top genre, replacing Rap from the year before
An average of 4.4 songwriters were involved in creating a top 100 song in 2021, down from the previous year’s 5
While American and British songwriters dominate the chart, the number in the top 100 declined from the previous year, with slots being filled by artists from other countries including India, Puerto Rico, and Australia
A new report from music licensing and data platform Blokur and The Ivors Academy, the UK’s representative body for songwriters and composers, has revealed that Olivia Rodrigo is the most successful songwriter on the planet thanks to hits like Drivers Licence and Good 4 U. Despite her success, only 15 of the top 100 songwriters worldwide are women, based on top charting songs on digital platforms.
Blokur analysed the top charting songs of 2021 against its database of song data to identify the proportion of each song credited to each songwriter. These results were then used to determine the leading songwriters of 2021 based on their contribution to the chart.
Some key trends identified in the report include a year-on-year decline in the average number of songwriters contributing to a top song from 5 to 4.4 – possibly brought about by Pop replacing Hip-hop as the top genre – and the ongoing rise of non-English language music on YouTube.
At the top of the overall songwriter list is teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo. But despite a woman topping the chart for the second year in a row, perhaps most striking is the revelation that of the top hundred songwriters contributing to high charting songs in 2021 only 15 were women.
Michelle Lewis, Director of SONA and a singer-songwriter who has worked with Cher, Hilary Duff and Kelly Osbourne commented, “As the Executive Director of SONA, I work on the front lines of the battle for fair compensation for the people who write the music that fuels all of these streaming platforms in the first place. I always tell people that this isn’t just about raising royalty rates, it’s about saving the job of songwriter. This chart confirms what we believe – that songwriters are still essential to the global music economy. It also highlights the fights within the fights, for equity and recognition.”
Commenting on the report Graham Davies of The Ivors Academy stated, “Music starts with the song and songs drive the streaming economy. We are thrilled to partner with Blokur on the 2021 Songwriter Report to showcase the profile of global songwriting success so that songwriters can be properly credited for their contributions. The continuing lack of gender parity is something that the music industry must continue to address and this report provides important information to increase awareness and accelerate change.”
Phil Barry, Founder of Blokur, commented, ”Without songwriters and composers, there is no music. We are excited to collaborate with The Ivors Academy on this report to shine a light on the people behind the melodies and lyrics that make us dance, laugh and cry.”
On Thursday 3rd November at 4:30pm UK-time, The Ivors Academy and Blokur are hosting an online event to explore the themes and issues coming out from the report. Sign up.