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News November 2, 2022

Tones And I, The Kid Laroi, Masked Wolf Among World’s Top Songwriters In 2021: Report

Senior Journalist, B2B
Tones And I, The Kid Laroi, Masked Wolf Among World’s Top Songwriters In 2021: Report

Toni Watson, the busker-turned-hitmaker whose 2019 single “Dance Monkey” smashed records everywhere, was one of the top songwriters on the planet last year, a new report reveals.

Watson, better known as Tones And I, is the highest ranked Australian on the 2021 Songwriters’ Review, at No. 13.

California teen sensation Olivia Rodrigo tops the list of top 100 songwriters, which was compiled by digital rights specialist Blokur for The Ivors Academy, and crunches data from Spotify, Apple, Amazon and YouTube.

Ed Sheeran and Doja Cat (real name Amala Dlamini) respectively complete the podium positions.

Watson and those top three fly high thanks to the fact they write their own songs, and those songs just happen to be global streaming juggernauts.

Indeed, when “Dance Monkey” was blowing up, Watson landed at No. 1 on Blokur’s rankings.

Several Australian songwriters made a big impression last year, with chart-topping Sydneysider Charlton Howard, or The Kid Laroi to his many fans, at No. 23.

Also, Harry Michael (aka Masked Wolf) arrives at No. 24 on the list, thanks to the popularity of “Astronaut In The Ocean,” with his collaborator on the song, Tyron Hapi, close behind at No. 25.

“Astronaut In The Ocean,” which has accumulated more than 1 billion streams on Spotify alone, was the No. 2 song across all platforms, behind just “Levitating” by Dua Lipa. Blokur’s researchers use the song as a case study for how the TikTok algorithm is influencing the charts.

The second annual report “helps us understand the popularity of different repertoires across different platforms with the success of Indian and Latin pop on YouTube, country on Amazon, rap on Apple and pop on Spotify,” comments Graham Davies, CEO of the Ivors Academy, the independent trade body for songwriters and composers in the U.K.

The average number of songwriters per song “has reduced and there are increases in the number of songwriters in the charts who are not also artists,” he explains.

According to the 22-page report, an average of of 4.4 songwriters were involved in creating a top 100 song in 2021, down from 5.

And while Rodrigo is on top, “there continues to be a lack of gender parity overall – something the industry must continue to address,” Davies continues.

“This report provides vital information that helps us grow awareness of the importance of songwriting to global streaming consumption.”

Of the top 100 songs, 35 feature female vocalists. However, only 15 female songwriters appear across that list, a figure unchanged from 2020 levels, researchers found.

A “sharp disparity between female songwriters and vocalists was evident on all platforms,” the report explains, with YouTube showing the biggest gap.

“This chart confirms what we believe,” comments songwriter, composer and SONA director Michelle Lewis, “that songwriters are still essential to the global music economy. It also highlights the fights within the fights, for equity and recognition.”

Despite slow improvements, such initiatives as “The Boulanger Initiative” and “She Is The Music” are working towards “improving women’s representation in the industry by promoting music composed by women and providing resources,” the report details.

In other takeaways, Australians have a growing appetite for K-pop, though English-language repertoire is still king on the global basis, accounting for 83 of the top 100 songs, up from 80 last time.

Pop was the top genre, replacing rap from the previous year.

For its document, 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.

Download the report in full here

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