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

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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