August 04, 2021
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Best Songwriters of All Time

How Big is the Songwriting Industry?

The songwriting industry is a major industry all across the world. In 2019, the music industry racked up to about $21.5 billion, with streaming from the best songwriters making up 56% of this amount of money. 

How Many Professionals Are in the Songwriting Industry?

There are 1.1 million songwriters with 17 million songs to listen to. 

Different Types Within the Songwriting Industry

Songwriting for themselves: These are the artists that write their own songs and perform them for crowds. 

Songwriting for a band: These are the artists who write songs and sell them to other bands to perform.

Songwriting for other artists: These are the artists who write songs and sell them to other famous singers.

Freelance Songwriter: These are the artists who write songs and perform them in various venues to make money. 

Interesting Statistics About Songwriters

The number of female songwriters in the United Kingdom jumped by 60% from 2018 to 2019. However, the top female songwriters generated 67% less revenue than the top male songwriters.

Fun Facts About Songwriting

According to Copyright laws, the moment you put your idea down in writing it immediately becomes intellectual property. However, if you don’t write your ideas down then the idea has no value and cannot become intellectual property. Therefore, if you have an idea about something, it’s best to write it down just in case. Also, it takes a long time to get paid for a hit song since you only get a small number of royalties each time someone purchases your song.

The History of Songwriting

Songwriting has been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the Middle Ages where most of their music was destroyed, but most of it aligned with the Christian Church. Then over the years, many genres developed from the renaissance era to the classical and romantic eras, to the music we know and love today.

How We Chose the Best Songwriters

We chose them based on how well-known each artist is and how many hits, awards, and successes they have had. 

How to Get Into the Songwriting Industry

A good way to get discovered nowadays is to go on YouTube and post videos of yourself jamming out to your songs. Then share it on social media and seeing who sees your content. You never know who might stumble upon your songs. 

Best Songwriters of All Time
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1. Taylor Swift
Name Search / Names starting with T / Taylor Swift
Profession/Category Listed: She is a singer-songwriter for her own music and writes pop, country, and alternative music.
Born: She was born on December 13, 1989, in West Reading, PA Location Listed: She currently has many homes but lives in Nashville, TN most of the time. Experience Listed: 16 years How She Got Into the Industry: She moved from West Reading, PA to Nashville, TN with her family when she was only 15 years old to pursue a career in music. She signed with Sony but left them due to not having enough time to complete an album. She performed at Bluebird Cafe which caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, the founder of a new record company at the time Big Machine Records. He signed Taylor Swift on, and she released her first album on October 24, 2006. Interesting Stats/Accomplishments: Since then, she has released eight successful albums and has won many awards. She has won 10 Grammy Awards, 32 American Music Awards which is the most won by any artist, an Emmy award, 23 Billboard Music Awards which is the most won by a female artist, has broken 7 Guinness World Records, 12 Country Music Awards, 8 Academy of Country Music Awards, and a Brit Award. She also won Artists of the Decade for the 2010s by the American Awards.
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2. Bob Dylan
Name Search / Names starting with B / Bob Dylan
Profession/Category Listed: He is a singer-songwriter and writes folk, the blues, rock, gospel, and country music.
Born: He was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, MN. Location Listed: Malibu, CA Experience Listed: About 59 years How He Got Into the Industry: While attending high school, he formed many bands that would perform covers to many songs from artists like Little Richard and Elvis Presley. He began performing at a coffee shop, then dropped out of college and started performing in clubs. He then signed to Columbia Records and recorded his first album. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s won numerous awards internationally and nationally, including a Pulitzer Prize, Tom Paine Award, and a 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. He has also won more than 10 Grammy awards and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
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3. Paul Mccartney
Name Search / Names starting with P / Paul Mccar...
Profession/Category Listed: He is a singer-songwriter that focuses on classic rock songs.
Born: He was born on June 18, 1942, in Walton, Liverpool, United Kingdom Location Listed: He owns various homes in various parts of the world and travels a lot. Experience Listed: About 63 years How He Got Into the Industry: He met John Lennon and his band the Quarrymen when he was just 15 years old. The Quarrymen invited McCartney to play rhythm guitar for their band. They formed a close working relationship and changed the name of the band to The Beatles. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 for being a member of the Beatles and then again as a solo artist in 1999. He was also honored in the Guinesses Book of World Records for being the most honored composer and performer in music and most successful songwriter.
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4. Elton John
Name Search / Names starting with E / Elton John
Profession/Category Listed: He is a singer-songwriter that performs rock, pop-rock, glam rock, and soft rock music.
Born: He was born on March 25, 1947, in Pinner, United Kingdom. Location Listed: He has two homes in England. Experience Listed: About 58 years. How He Got Into the Industry: He played at many bars and pubs in England, and formed a band called Bluesology. He answered an ad in the magazine New Musical Express where Ray Williams gave Elton John lyrics from Bernie Taupin to write the music for. He wrote the music and gave it back to Taupin, which formed a partnership between the two. Elton has also released solo hits as well. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Elton and Taupin were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. He also received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 1975.
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5. Smokey Robinson
Name Search / Names starting with S / Smokey Rob...
Profession/Category Listed: He is a singer-songwriter and writes classic soul music.
Born: He was born on February 19, 1940, in Detroit, Michigan. Location Listed: He lives in Detroit, Michigan. Experience Listed: About 65 years How He Got Into the Industry: In 1955, he formed his first group Five Chimes, and then later changed their name to the Matadors then the Miracles. They began touring around Detroit venues and met Berry Gordy after a failed audition. He was impressed by how many songs Robinson wrote and helped them release their first single. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2005, he was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame. In 2009, The Miracles group was also offered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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6. Eminem
Name Search / Names starting with M / Marshall M...
Profession/Category Listed: He is a rapper who writes his own songs about his life and other topics.
Born: He was born on October 17, 1972, in St. Joseph, Missouri Location Listed: He lives in Rochester Hills, Detroit, Michigan Experience Listed: About 32 years How He Got Into the Industry: He would rap with his high school friend and would sneak into another high school’s lunchroom on freestyle rap battle days. He also attended open-mic contests at the Hip-Hop Shop on West 7 Mile. He formed his first rap group New Jacks and changed their name to Soul Intent. They released their first EP in 1995. He then released his first solo debut album in 1996. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He has become one of the best-selling music artists of all-time. He has had 10 number-one albums on the Billboard 200 and was the best selling music artist from 2000 to 2009. He has also won 15 Grammy Awards, 8 American Music Awards, and 17 Billboard Music Awards. He was awarded Artists of the Decade from 2000-2009.
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7. Stevie Wonder
Name Search / Names starting with S / Stevie Wonder
Profession/Category Listed: He is a singer-songwriter known for writing rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk, and jazz music
Born: He was born on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. Location Listed: Detroit, Michigan Experience Listed: About 59 years How He Got Into the Industry: He was only 11 years old when signed onto Motown’s Tamla label. He worked together with Clarence Paul on two albums, where he saw some success in both of them. As his voice started maturing, his record label considered dropping him but gave him another chance, which is when he got his first number-one single. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: He has won 25 Grammy awards in his lifetime as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1996. He has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2014.
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8. Keith Richards And Mick Jagger
Name Search / Names starting with M / Mick Jagger
Profession/Category Listed: Songwriters for the classic rock band The Rolling Stones
Experience Listed: About 60 years How They Got Into the Industry: They met each other on a train while Jagger was going to college at the London School of Economics. The rhythm and blues albums Jagger was carrying sparked a mutual interest in Richards and they sparked up a conversation. Jagger was in a band that Richards later joined called the Blue Boys, which later changed to the Rolling Stones. One of their band members, Brian Jones, left the band giving songwriting duties to Richards and Jagger. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: The Rolling Stones have won many awards in their 60 years of being a band. They have won an Artist Achievement Award from Billboard Music Awards in 1994, 4 Grammy Awards, 3 VMA’s, and 3 of their songs, and 4 of their albums have been inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
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9. Madonna
Name Search / Names starting with M / Madonna
Profession/Category Listed: She is a singer-songwriter and writes genres pop music, electronica, and dance music.
Born: She was born on August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan Location Listed: Lisbon, Portugal Experience Listed: 41 years How She Got Into the Industry: Madonna dropped out of college to move to New York City with just $35 in her pocket to pursue her dream. At first, she worked at Dunkin Donuts just to make it financially. She then started working as a backup dancer, and then a backup singer. She formed her first rock band called The Breakfast Club where Madonna played drums and guitar. She then left that band to form a band called Emmy with her then-boyfriend and wrote songs with him. She then left the band to become a solo act and write songs for herself. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: She is the wealthiest woman in the music industry with a net worth between $590 million to $800 million. She has sold 300 million records worldwide, which allowed the Guinness Book of World Records to recognize her as the best-selling female music artist of all time.
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10. Stevie Nicks
Name Search / Names starting with S / Stevie Nicks
Profession/Category Listed: Singer-songwriter who writes her own rock songs.
Born: She was born on May 26, 1948, in Phoenix, AZ. Location Listed: Santa Monica, CA Experience Listed: 54 years How She Got Into the Industry: She went to college at San Jose State University originally to become an English teacher. However, with her father’s blessing, she dropped out of college to pursue a career in music. She joined the rock band Fritz with her then boyfriend’s invite and opened for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Mick Fleetwood asked her boyfriend to join Fleetwood Mac but refused unless Nicks could join too. Fleetwood accepted this deal. Interesting stats/Accomplishments: She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. She has become the first woman to become inducted twice, she was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her group Fleetwood Mac. She has a charity called Stevie Nicks’ Band of Soldiers that helps better the lives of wounded military personnel.

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