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Women make up just 15% of top songwriters, new report finds

By | Published on Wednesday 2 November 2022

Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo was the most popular songwriter in the world in 2021, according a new report published by Blokur and UK songwriter organisation The Ivors Academy analysing which writers were behind the biggest music on the streaming platforms. However, below her only fourteen other female songwriters feature in the top 100.

To compile this list, Blokur took the top charting tracks of 2021 on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube and compared them against its database of song data to determine who wrote each song and what share of the copyright they took. Based on all that number crunching, the company then came up with its Top 100 list of the songwriters “who made the biggest contribution to the music we listened to in 2021”.

In the main, songwriters on the list come from the US and UK, although other countries, including India, Puerto Rico and Australia, are also represented. The biggest British songwriter was – have a guess – Ed Sheeran, coming in at number two in the Blokur chart, with Doja Cat, Lil Nas X, Sheeran collaborator Johnny McDaid and Billie Eilish also appearing in the top ten.

Blokur also worked out the average number of writers on each song, and compared that to the similar number crunching exercise it undertook last year. On that basis, it concluded that the average number of songwriters on a track has fallen from five to 4.4.

“Music starts with the song and songs drive the streaming economy”, says Graham Davies of The Ivors Academy. “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”.

Noting that, despite Rodrigo topping Blokur’s survey, the Top 100 at large skews very much male, he goes on: “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”.

Meanwhile, Blokur founder Phil Barry adds: “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”.

An online event discussing the report will take place tomorrow at 4.30pm UK time. Register for that here. You can also download the full report for free here.