In two weeks, Oliver Anthony went from an unknown artist to the owner of the No. 1 track on the Hot 100 chart with the surprise hit “Rich Men North of Richmond” — and in the process went from earning less than $200 in weekly royalties to roughly $356,000 in his chart-topping week.
“Rich Men North of Richmond” generated an estimated $218,000 in royalties for both recorded music and music publishing from track purchases and on-demand audio streams in the week ended Aug. 17, Billboard estimates based on Luminate data. And because he owns his master – released through digital distributor Vydia – and publishing, Anthony will pocket all that money. The track, released through digital distributor Vydia, generated 147,000 track sales and 17.5 million audio on-demand streams over that time period. Luminate did not track any on-demand video streams for the recording. The track also earned Anthony a small amount of publishing royalties from 517 spins at radio.
After the unlikely, whirlwind week in America’s spotlight, Anthony’s long list of accomplishments include the first artist to debut a first Hot 100 chart entry at No. 1; No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs charts; the 23rd song to top both the Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously (and the first to do so by a solo male); the first solo-written Hot 100 No. 1 since Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” in March and April 2022; and a rare independently released recording to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.
The intense interest in “Rich Men North From Richmond” — it instantly found favor in conservative political circles and became a cultural lightning rod among liberals — bled over to the other 18 individually released tracks in Anthony’s catalog and generated an additional $139,000 from 73,000 track sales, 14.8 million audio on-demand streams, 658,000 on-demand video streams and 65,000 programmed audio streams. Anthony had four of the week’s top 10 track downloads: “Ain’t Got a Dollar” was a distant No. 2, “I’ve Got to Get Sober” was No. 5 and “I Want to Go Home” was No. 10. (Strong download sales also put “Ain’t Got a Dollar” and “I’ve Got to Get Sober” onto the Hot Country Songs chart.) In all, Anthony had 16 of the top 100 track downloads in the country last week.
Country music took the top three spots on the Hot 100 but took different routes to get there. Track purchases was the deciding factor in “Rich Men North of Richmond” beating out Luke Combs’ “Fast Car” and Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night.” “Fast Car” had just 10,000 track purchases, 7% as many as “Rich Men North of Richmond,” but its radio audience of 101.7 million was more than 100 times more than the 937,000 achieved by “Rich Men North of Richmond.” Combs’ “Last Night” had the most on-demand audio streams of the trio — 20.5 million to 17.5 million for “Rich Men North of Richmond” and 16.4 million for “Fast Car” — but the fewest track purchases with 6,000 and a radio audience — 70.5 million — about 69% the size the audience of “Fast Car.”
Daily data suggests Anthony’s hot streak will continue. This week’s track purchases of “Rich Men North of Richmond” may decline from last week but through the first two days of the tracking week purchased enough to likely give Anthony the top download for a second consecutive week. And with radio programmers following the lead of consumer purchases and streams, this week’s broadcast radio spins will easily top last week’s count. That’ll all mean more money for the independent artist — and plenty of leverage as he considers offers coming in from major labels “rushing” to sign him.