Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pop Shock: Artists Like Post Malone, Lil Nas X, Lizzo “Billions” of Streams Yield Not So Many Millions in Dollars


The biggest hit single, financially, for 2019, was “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. According to, “Old Town Road” earned $8.8  million. It was easily number 1.

Post Malone had positions 2 and 3. Billie Eilish had number 4. Ariana Grande was number 5.

Number 50 was a song I’ve never heard of called “Sweet but Psycho” by Ava Max, with $2.2 million.

Taylor Swift did not make the top 50 of top earning songs. If she made a lot of money in 2019, it came from actual sales and downloads, not streaming.

Just to give you an idea of how streaming works: “Old Town Road” had 977,322,000 streams– nearly a BILLION. After all the hype, that BILLION yielded $7.4 million.

The “truth hurts.” Lizzo’s song of that name had almost 500 million streams. The actual yield? $3.7 million.

Even those millions sound like a lot of money. But the artist is splitting that with the record company, paying the writers and producers, and numerous other expenses attributed to that single. Then, of course, there’s the IRS.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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