Britney Spears' 'Toxic': How Much Does the Enduring Smash Hit Make for Its Songwriters Each Year?

Britney Spears in the video for "Toxic."
Courtesy Photo

Britney Spears in the video for "Toxic."

Britney Spears' smash hit "Toxic" – from her 2003 album In the Zone – remains one of her best-known and most beloved songs, even years after descending from its No. 9 peak on the Billboard Hot 100. Fans keep returning to the song year after year, and the songwriters reap the financial returns to the tune of about $48,000 a year, if you are just looking at U.S. sales, streaming, and radio airplay. Billboard estimates that the song generated about $40,000 collectively for the songwriters in 2013, nearly $60,000 for the songwriters in 2015 and, this year as of Sept. 2016, about $45,000.

In the last almost three years -- two years, 8 months and three weeks, to be exact -- its combined U.S. publishing total for radio, sales, and streaming comes to about $145,000.

The song has four songwriters, Cathy Dennis, who has this song with Sony/ATV via a deal she did with EMI Music Publishing, who has a 50 percent writer’s share; Christian Karlsson (Bloodshy), with a 22.5 percent writer's share; Pontus Winnberg (Avant) with a 22.5 percent writer's share, and Henrik Jonback with a 5 percent writer’s share, all with BMG. Dennis has a traditional publishing deal on this song, which suggests a 50/50 split with the publisher; while the other three are believed to have co-publishing deals, via contracts they acquired with a Swedish publisher, which was acquired by one of the many publishing companies that BMG has gobbled up since it re-launched its music business in 2008. Since Billboard is not privy to what kind of co-publishing deal the three writers have, we are assuming each has a 2/3s split with the publishing company getting 1/3 split.

So based on those estimates and those splits, Billboard concludes that Cathy Dennis made about $36,000 over the last two years and almost 9 months; Winnberg and Karlsson each almost made $22,000; Jonbak made nearly $5,000; BMG garnered about $24,000 and Sony/ATV about $36,000.

Those numbers are based on track sales of 239,000; album sales of 177,000; radio plays of 65,000; on-demand audio streams of 37 million; on-demand video streams of 32 million, and nearly 2 million in programmed streams.

If you feel like reliving the magic (and thereby sending some extra scratch to the songwriters behind "Toxic"), watch the immortal video below. 


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