We’ve ranked every Beyonce song by revenue in the chart below. The total Beyonce song money comes to $71.6 million for all Beyonce singles. Those are just the 45 singles where the diva takes the lead. Beyonce is also featured in 11 singles from other artists. Those Beyonce songs add another $13 million, making a total of nearly $85 million. That doesn’t include the money made from sales of albums, which would add another $414 million to our calculations. All together, that makes a total of almost half a billion in revenue generated by sales of Beyonce music. That doesn’t even include streaming services like Spotify or YouTube.
Beyonce’s #1 smash hit is 2008’s Single Ladies. That song has sold an estimated total of 5 million copies since it was released. At $10.99 each, that’s a total of $9.95 million. It’s unlikely that Beyonce kept more than 9% of that money since producers, promoters, advertising and other costs eat up the lion’s share.
2013’s Drunk in Love takes second place with 3.75 million copies sold and $7.5 million earned. Rounding out Beyonce’s top five money making songs are Halo, Irreplaceable and If I Were a Boy with $6 million, $5.5 million and $5.5 million each.
Read more: What’s Beyonce’s Net Worth?
1. Single Ladies: $9,950,000
The 2008 single Single Ladies made the most money of any Beyonce song with $9.95 million. That Beyonce song money estimate comes from five million copies sold at $10.99 each. The album went 4 times RIAA platinum in the U.S., which means it sold four million copies nationally. Its other worldwide certifications only account for another 800,000 in total unit sales. However, it’s a safe bet another 200,000 copies were sold outside the certifications. In fact, since the next RIAA award would add another 500,000 copies, it’s possible the song has sold as many as six million copies around the world.
The song’s co-writer, Terius Nash, said he thought up the original lyrics after he learned that Beyonce and Jay Z had been married in secret. Nash apparently thought that when news of the marriage got out, throngs of men would be disappointed that the gorgeous singer was “off the market.” He showed the song to Beyonce, who later said she was drawn to it because it mixes a happy, up-tempo tune with an examination of a serious issue women face every day. Namely, the unwillingness of many men to commit. Critics have likened the song to other feminist anthems like Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive and Aretha Franklin’s Respect. Justin Timberlake and Beyonce did a parody of the song on Saturday Night Live. Beyonce nearly backed out of doing the parody until Timberlake talked her into it.
2. Drunk in Love: $7,462,500
At number two on our list of Beyonce song money makers is Drunk in Love from 2013. The song went triple platinum in the U.S. and sold an estimated 3.75 million copies, earning $7.46 million. The song features Beyonce’s husband Jay Z.
The video for the song was shot by director Hype Williams in a rented Miami Beach mansion. Beyonce has been quoted as saying it was her favorite video because she didn’t worry too much about the planning part of things. She said the team approached the project with an idea of folding mistakes into the work instead of trying to cut them out. The result for Beyonce was a very in-the-moment feel. A Hungarian folk singer named Monika Juhasz wasn’t quite as excited about the Beyonce song. She sued Beyonce and husband Jay Z, saying they used her voice without permission. The lawsuit alleged that the Juhasz song was about hopelessness, and the singer said Beyonce perverted that message with sexual imagery. The singer reportedly asked for a percentage of the Beyonce song money and also requested that her voice be removed from the song in the future. The judge dismissed the case.
3. Halo: $5,970,000
The third biggest Beyonce song money maker is the single Halo from 2009. That song sold an estimated three million copies and made $5.97 million worldwide. The song’s intent was to give fans a look at Beyonce’s real life, beyond all the glamor and glitter. Writer Ryan Tedder later said he wrote the song after tearing his Achilles tendon and enduring surgery to fix it. Soon after, Tedder wrote Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone, which was heavily criticized as being very similar to the Beyonce song Halo. Clarkson agreed and fought the record company to try to get her own song killed out of respect for Beyonce. The studio overruled her and both songs were released. Tedder’s name surfaced again in connection to Beyonce some years later. When the diva was accused of putting her name in the writing credits of songs she’d barely changed, Tedder defended her. The songwriter said even if Beyonce only changes a few words, those words change the song in a profound way. As evidence, he cited Halo. Tedder has said Beyonce threw out the bridge he wrote and added her own, making it his favorite part of the entire song.
4. Irreplaceable: $5,472,500
Tied for fourth place on our list of Beyonce song money makers is 2006’s Irreplaceable with $5.47 million and 2.75 million copies sold. The song is about cheating. Songwriter Ne-Yo wrote the lyrics about an experience his aunt had when he was young. His aunt was wealthy and powerful and lavished her boyfriend with gifts until he cheated on her. When he came home, he found a little box and asked what was inside it. The songwriter’s aunt said it was all the things he actually owned. Ne-Yo has said that he originally wrote the song as a country ballad for Shania Twain. Beyonce did in fact perform it as a country song in 2007, at the American Music Awards.
5. If I Were a Boy: $5,472,500
Also tied for fourth, If I Were a Boy has sold an estimated 2.75 million units and pulled in $5.47 million in revenue. The 2008 Beyonce song money maker was a departure for Beyonce. Director Jake Nava made the accompanying music video. In it, Beyonce plays a police officer. While her husband ignores the flirting advances of beautiful women in his workplace, Beyonce flirts without a conscience. The song and video explore the things men do that hurt their women, like ignoring calls and texts. At the end of the video it’s revealed that Beyonce hasn’t actually been doing all the hurtful, cheating things. That part was fantasy. All those hurtful things were actually being done to her.
Every Beyonce Song by Money
The table below shows every Beyonce song money figure by year.
All Beyonce Singles (As Lead Artist)
|Beyonce Song Title||Year||Unit Sales||Total Revenue|
|Work It Out||2002||1,000,000||$1,990,000|
|Crazy in Love||2003||750,000||$1,492,500|
|Me, Myself and I||2003||100,000||$199,000|
|The Closer I Get to You||2004||100,000||$199,000|
|Wishing on a Star||2005||100,000||$199,000|
|Check on It||2005||1,100,000||$2,189,000|
|Ring the Alarm||2006||550,000||$1,094,500|
|Get Me Bodied||2007||100,000||$199,000|
|If I Were a Boy||2008||2,750,000||$5,472,500|
|Broken Hearted Girl||2009||1,200,000||$2,388,000|
|Why Don't You Love Me||2010||100,000||$199,000|
|Run the World||2011||750,000||$1,492,500|
|Best Thing I Never Had||2011||1,500,000||$2,985,000|
|Love on Top||2011||750,000||$1,492,500|
|End of Time||2012||100,000||$199,000|
|Drunk in Love||2013||3,750,000||$7,462,500|
|Beyonce Song Totals||36,000,000||$71,640,000|