Mark Foster, writer, Foster the People's 'Pumped Up Kicks'
TRACK SALES: 3.8 million
ALBUM SALES: 671,000
TOTAL SONGWRITING ROYALTIES: $406,861
In terms of pure mechanical royalties, "Pumped Up Kicks" is among the lowest-earning songs on our list –but Foster the People frontman Foster may well out-gross all the others. First, he doesn't have to share his income with any other writers. Second, "Kicks" has been Hollywood's go-to background track for more than a year. It has appeared in TV's Entourage, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries and the movies Friends With Benefits and Fright Night. That's a lot of licensing money.