Breaking Down the Brutal Price of Olivia Rodrigo and Paramore's Songwriting Controversy

Olivia Rodrigo reportedly lost out on about $1 million in royalties after giving songwriting credits to Paramore and Taylor Swift. Here’s how much each artist has made from Rodrigo’s tracks.

By Lindsay Weinberg Sep 02, 2021 8:44 PMTags
Watch: Necessary Realness: Is Olivia Rodrigo the New It-Girl?

When Olivia Rodrigo gave Paramore and Taylor Swift songwriting credits on her SOUR hits, she wasn't just sharing the glory. She was sharing the sweet profits. 

In fact, Rodrigo and her producer and co-writer, Dan Nigro, have given up more than $2 million in songwriting royalties on "good 4 u," "deja vu" and "1 step forward, 3 steps back" after crediting the big names that inspired her, according to Billboard

News broke a week ago that Rodrigo, 18, had retroactively credited Paramore singer Hayley Williams and former guitarist Joshua Farro for interpolating "Misery Business" when she wrote "good 4 u," which was released in May. 

Billboard estimates the banger has made at least $2.4 million in global publishing royalties so far, leaving Williams and Farro to split their share of $1.2 million. Nigro and Rodrigo split the other $1.2 million. 

Though the High School Musical reboot actress gave them credit about three months after the song's release, sources told both Billboard and Variety that Paramore's team was in touch with her before it dropped.  

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Rodrigo also gave songwriting credits to Swift and her producer Jack Antonoff on two more songs, "deja vu" and "1 step forward, 3 steps back." The first earned $1.3 million in royalties, per Billboard, yet Nigro and Rodrigo each took home only $320,000 or so. The rest went to "Cruel Summer" creators Swift (who receives 25 percent, or $325,678), Antonoff (20 percent, or $260,542) and St. Vincent (5 percent, or $65,135), who collaborated on the original Lover number. 


The SOUR artist struck another deal with Swift and Antonoff on the more mellow "1 step forward, 3 steps back," which has made $258,379 in royalties, according to Billboard. Rodrigo didn't work with Nigro on this one, which is an interpolation of Swift's reputation era song "New Year's Day." That means Rodrigo, Swift and Antonoff divide the royalties three ways, with each earning about $86,000 so far. 

Variety also notes that the music publishers take a slice of the pie as well, writing, "Half of that goes to whatever publishers are involved; in this case, Sony Music Publishing represents Rodrigo and Dan Nigro... Now, with Williams and Farro added to the credits, Warner Chappell Music has a piece of this, too."  

As of this week, Rodrigo and Nigro have lost a hefty chunk of change by each giving up about $1 million to their muses, without other fees considered. But "good 4 u" will be sending more big bucks their way soon: "A song like that can earn $10 million," one prominent music attorney told Variety.

It seems this was the price they had to pay in order to give credit where credit was due. 

Rodrigo's rep declined to comment when contacted by E! News.

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