Today it is difficult to give an answer to the question of which song and which artist brought the largest amount of fees in the history of the modern music industry. There are only opinions of experts in the music industry, based on various methods of calculation and analysis.
So, the most outstanding hit, it turns out, was the song «Happy Birthday to You»,the words to which were written by Patty Hill, and the music was written by Mildred Hill. But this ingenious creation appeared back in 1893. Since 1990, the copyright for this most popular song was acquired by Warner Chappell and brought it more than $40 million in royalties until 2016.
The song is always performed for the birthday not only in English-speaking countries, but also around the world. By tradition, the song «Happy Birthday to You» is sung by guests at a birthday celebration, welcoming the birthday party.
There has been heated debate over the copyright topic for this popular composition for decades, and it itself is something like a detective story. Experts argued that the copyright for it has long been lost. Good Morning To You Productions Corp even made a documentary about the song, while still paying $1.5 thousand in royalties to the copyright holder. Subsequently, a trial arose. In June 2016, the court finally approved an agreement to resolve this dispute. The song «Happy Birthday to You» has legally become public, and Warner Chappell Music has pledged to pay $14 million in compensation to those from whom the company previously charged fees for playing the song. But it is this composition that leads the list of singles with the largest royalties in history.
«White Christmas» Irving Berlin is in second place, and in third – the famous hit of The Beatles – «Yesterday», which was written and performed by Paul McCartney. By the way, it was «Yesterday» that was recognized as the best music composition of the 20th century according to a survey of music experts and listeners of BBC Radio.