As the colorful holiday melodies remind us, we are about to roll the calendar into 2017. Jumping into the new year is exciting, but first let’s take a look at how Nashville’s Top 100 Country Songwriters fared in 2016.
The weekly Nekst Top 60 Country Songwriter chart is based upon streaming, download and airplay activity. Points awarded to songs are split evenly between co-writers, much the same way as royalties are divided.
Interestingly, the total number of country songwriters gaining points in our system has been relatively constant since we started the chart in late 2013. In 2016, a total of 342 songwriters earned points. In 2015 there were 322; and in 2014, 327. However, don’t let that relatively large number convince you that success with a six string and a tracking laptop is assured. Hardly! Not everyone—even in the top 100—is earning a living as a full time songwriter.
But generalities don’t work reliably in the music business, for example, we noted the challenging economic realities facing songwriters, even in the Top 100. But then sitting at No. 94 is Taylor Swift!! (Our reliable sources say that she is earning a “full time” living as a musician, albeit mostly in the pop world.)
When you hear a conversational lyric tell an engaging story that makes you feel attached to its characters it often makes you think, “Hey I could’ve done that. It wrote itself.” Ha. Just try it, Leroy! And, if you are one of the lucky few who can perform that magic, then we look forward to honoring your work in coming years.
Ashley Gorley—Top 100 Country Songwriter 2016
Ashley Gorley rides an incredible wave of success this past year to become Nekst’s Top Country Songwriter 2016. He reigned at the top of the chart (No. 1) for a solid 20 weeks.
Ross Copperman topped the list for 13 weeks followed by Shane McAnally (11 weeks) and Lori McKenna (6 weeks). In our final chart for 2016, Gorley had an amazing 8 singles that were actively earning points, more than anyone else on the chart.
Gorley also joins a group of distinguished melody-makers. In 2014 our Songwriter of the Year was Rodney Clawson, and last year’s (2015) winner was Shane McAnally who nabbed the No. 1 position for a staggering 26 weeks. Both previous winners ended up in the Top 10 for 2016.