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How 10 Major Songwriters Make Big Money

Calculating song royalties is a tricky business, but it's clear that these rights holders are raking it in
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Lady Gaga
Larry Busacca/MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images

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Lady Gaga, Co-Writer, 'Poker Face'

TRACK SALES: 6.5 million
ALBUM SALES: 1.5 million
TOTAL SONGWRITING ROYALTIES: $728,000

Stefani Germanotta didn't truly become Lady Gaga until she collaborated with Moroccan-born producer RedOne, trained in the songwriting arts as a young man in Sweden. They first worked together on "Just Dance," then on one of Gaga's signature hits, "Poker Face." Eventually the songwriting money became so big for Gaga hits that collaborator Rob Fusari sued her for $30.5 million in 2010, saying he should have received 20 percent in royalties for songs on The Fame. Gaga counter-sued, and the case was settled out of court.

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