Tones and I, Masked Wolf among world’s top songwriters of 2021: report
Toni Watson, the busker-turned-hitmaker whose 2019 single “Dance Monkey” broke records everywhere, was one of the best songwriters on the planet last year, a new report reveals.
Watson, better known as Tones And I, is the highest ranked Australian on the Songwriters Review 2021at number 13.
Californian teenage sensation Olivia Rodrigo tops the list of top 100 songwriters, which was compiled by digital rights expert Blokur for The Ivors Academy, and analyzes data from Spotify, Apple, Amazon and YouTube.
Ed Sheeran and Doja Cat (real name Amala Dlamini) round out the podium spots respectively.
Watson and those top three fly high thanks to the fact that they write their own songs, and those songs happen to be global streaming juggernauts.
Several Australian songwriters have made a strong impression in the past year, with Sydneysider No. 23 Charlton Howard, or The Kid Laroi for his many fans.
Additionally, Harry Michael (aka Masked Wolf) comes in 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 racked up over a billion streams on Spotify alone, was the #2 song on all platforms, just behind Dua Lipa’s “Levitating.” Blokur researchers are using the song as a case study of how the TikTok algorithm influences rankings.
The second annual report “helps us understand the popularity of different repertoires on 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 , Group CEO. Ivors Academythe independent professional body for songwriters and composers in the UK
The average number of songwriters per song “has gone down and there’s an increase in the number of songwriters on the charts who aren’t also artists,” he explains.
According to the 22-page report, an average of 4.4 songwriters were involved in creating a top 100 song in 2021, up from 5 previously.
And while Rodrigo is at the top, “there continues to be a lack of gender parity overall – something the industry needs to continue to address,” Davies continues.
“This report provides vital information that helps us realize the importance of songwriting to global streaming consumption.”
Of the top 100 songs, 35 feature female singers. However, only 15 female songwriters appear on this list, a figure unchanged from 2020 levels, the researchers found.
A “strong disparity between songwriters and female singers was evident across all platforms,” the report says, with YouTube showing the largest gap.
“This chart confirms what we believe,” comments songwriter, composer and SONA director Michelle Lewis, “that songwriters are still vital to the global music economy. It also highlights fights within fights, for fairness and recognition.
Olivia Rodrigo was the top songwriter in 2021, but only 15% of the top 100 were women
Discover more interesting facts and trends about the biggest songwriters of 2021 in our new songwriter review, proudly sponsored by @IvorsAcademy!
— Blokur (@BlokurHQ) November 1, 2022
Despite slow improvements, initiatives such as “The Boulanger Initiative” and “She Is The Music” strive to “improve the representation of women in the industry by promoting music composed by women and providing resources” , details the report.
In other takeaways, Australians have a growing appetite for K-pop, although English-language repertoire is still king globally, accounting for 83 of the top 100 songs, up from 80 last time out.
Pop was the dominant genre, replacing rap from the previous year.
For its document, Blokur analyzed the top 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 top songwriters of 2021 based on their contribution to the rankings.
Download the full report here.