Variety Names Hitmakers’ Top 25 Songs of 2023: ‘Last Night,’ ‘Kill Bill’ and More!

Hitmakers of 2023: SZA, Metro Boomin; Olivia Rodrigo

For the past seven years, Variety has honored the top songs of the year and the Hitmakers behind them, with a special issue of the magazine and accompanying online rollout, and a celebration taking place in Los Angeles. We’ll be presenting all of the above over the coming week — including major articles on our Hitmaker of the Year: SZA; Group of the Year, Boygenius; Producer of the Year, Metro Boomin; Storyteller of the Year, Olivia Roddigo and of course articles on the 25 songs — starting with the chart below.

As you can see from the chart, 2023 had no shortage of hits, but something we grapple with every year is an almost comically existential question: What constitutes a hit? How do you measure it — and who measures it?

Like success, the definition is usually up to the beholder. But in this era of streaming and “consumption” and “video creates” and everything else in the music world that adds up to an old-fashioned “sale,” a hit is an elusive quantity. How do you count the number of hearts melted by SZA’s beautiful voice and melodies? The fists pumped in the air for Morgan Wallen’s anthems? The abuelos perking up to the familiar, centuries-old strains of Eslabon Armado’s revamped musica Mexicana? 

Also like success, a hit has many parents. So, in another well-intended yet deeply imperfect effort to identify those parents as fairly and squarely as time and sanity allowed, we present Variety’s seventh annual Hitmakers issue, awards and event. The chart data comes from the best possible source — our colleagues at Billboard and Luminate, with details below the chart — but the other decisions are ours, based on research, conversations and arguments masquerading as conversations. You’ll see the stories behind the songs below — and some, but not all of the people behind them — rolling out online and in print all week, starting today.

As we celebrate the biggest songs of 2023 and the Hitmakers and Hitbreakers behind them, one thing is certain: Everyone here is a winner.