The music industry is a huge business. A massive chunk of the big names in the music industry earns their living from making music and selling records to their fans. The music industry is a gold mine thanks to the efforts of artists, agents, managers, promoters and all other creatives. Music may rake in millions for highest-paid musicians in the world, but having an additional stream of income and partnering with brands has elevated the financial success of artistes.
Lists are made annually to rate musicians and the wealth they accumulate every year. Forbes is one of the most popular platforms that make such lists. It ranks musicians with the highest income annually by checking their touring statistics, numbers they get from fans who consume the music and doing interviews with personnel affiliated with the artistes like managers, and agents. The lists only include the income earned without deduction of taxes and maintenance expenses.
20 highest-paid musicians in the world
The following are some of the highest-paid musicians.
1. Taylor Swift
Swift's income is $185 million and net worth $360 million. The 30-year-old pop singer is among the most popular modern icons today. Taylor Swift first came into the limelight at age 14 where she became the youngest artist signed by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. Taylor is known for the songs she sings about her personal life.
Swift’s more than one decade in the music industry has seen her release many records and go on tours across the world. Most of her earnings come from tours. She has also made money from endorsing products from big companies like Coca Cola, Apple, and At&T.
2. Kanye West
Kanye West earns an income of $150 million and has an estimated net worth of $240 million. Kanye is undoubtedly one of the top-earning hip hop artistes. A few years back, Mr West's earnings primarily came from selling music records and having tours.
He, later on, launched a shoe line, Yeezy, where he partnered with Adidas. He continues to make money from selling shoes and other merchandise. Yeezy shoes alone have raked in more than $1 billion in sales. His clothing line with the same name also makes him millions of dollars every year.
3. Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is not only a successful musician but also one of the youngest best-paid musicians in the industry. The Halifax born singer and songwriter is worth $500 million with earnings of about $100 million. Ed Sheeran’s The Divide tour has made him most of his earnings. The tour which took two years grossed more than $600 million both domestically and worldwide.
The 29-year-old is lauded for his versatility and ability to produce quality records with whoever artist he works with. Most of Ed Sheeran’s earnings come from music sales, tours, and product endorsements.
With an income of $100 million, The Eagles are indisputably one of the most successful American rock bands in history. The group which has been active since the 1970s has had over a dozen band members who have collectively and individually shared musical success.
An Evening With The Eagles, their first long-running tour since 2016 earned the group $3.5 million per stop along the way. The Eagles have been making most of their money from their iconic tours. The Eagles were honoured as one of the top-earning bands on Forbes in 2019.
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5. Elton John
Elton John has for decades serenaded the hearts of his fans with his soothing voice and sweet lyrics. The English singer’s income is $84 million and his net worth $450 million. Elton John is not celebrated as one of the bestselling music artists for nothing.
The 73-year-old has sold over 300 million records, having made over 60 joint albums, solo albums, compilation albums, and live albums. His most iconic tour was the Rocket's Mans: Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour which had more than 300 international shows.
6. Jay Z
Hip Hop's first billionaire is no newcomer to highest-paid musician lists. Jay Z has an income of $81 million and a net worth of $1 billion. Jay Z has had several successful tours, but his joint On the Run II' tour with wife Beyonce stands out among his recent tours.
The tour made the celebrity couple a gross $250 million. Being the first billionaire in hip hop means that Jay Z has had to have multiple streams of income. The rapper has alcohol ventures including Armand de Brignac champagne and D'Usse cognac, where he partners with Barcadi. Jay Z has a streaming service, Tidal, and has a stake in Uber worth about $70 million among other investments.
7. Paul McCartney
Most of the Beatles members may have died, but that does not stop the popularity of the band. One surviving member of the Beatles has had an incredible solo career even after some members quit or died. Paul McCartney continues to wow fans with his vocals and skills he has while playing the bass guitar.
Paul McCartney is undoubtedly one of the highest-paid musicians of all time. He is also among the richest musicians of all time. He has a net worth of $1.2 billion with his latest earning being about $100 million. Paul McCartney makes about $4 million per show.
Beyoncé is ultimately one of the best performers today. She knows how to deliver when doing live performances, incorporating her distinct choreography and killing the set with her powerful vocals. Other than being an all-rounded musician, Beyoncé’s is also known for her business acumen. The singer has collaborated with big brands like Adidas to push merchandise.
Most of the singer’s recent earnings came from her collaboration On the Run II" tour with Jay z and her Homecoming album in 2019. Beyoncé has an activewear clothing line, Ivy Park, which is a joint project with Adidas. Her estimated net worth as of 2019 was $470 million. Beyoncé’s earning is $81 million and is currently ranked among the highest-paid musicians of 2020.
The rising Canadian star continues to make a fortune off his music. Drake’s earnings have been increasing over the years, with his current earning being $75 million. One popular tour that collected the hip hop star millions was the 'Aubrey and the Three Migos' tour, with rap trio, Migos. The tour lasted four months and earned the artiste $79 million.
Drake is one of the richest rappers in the world with an estimated net worth of$170 million. Some of Drake’s business enterprises include October's Very Own (OVO), which he is a part-owner. OVO is an umbrella company for his clothing line, record label, and radio station. He has also ventured into real estate and works as an ambassador for the NBA's Toronto Raptors.
10. Sean Combs
Sean Combs is known for his many monikers like P. Diddy and Puffy Combs, and being at the top of every richest rappers list. Despite making very little money from music, Sean Combs could not fail to appear among the top earners in the music industry. Diddy is among the world’s highest-paid musicians making some of his earnings from streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer.
His wealth, however, primarily comes from the beverage empire Ciroc vodka. The celebrity rapper also jointly owns DeLeón tequila with Diageo. P. Diddy also co awns Aqua hydrated water. Sean Combs has an income of $70 million and is valued at a net worth of $825 million.
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The American heavy metal band was created in 1981 and has had a significant influence on pop culture over the years. The group has had some of the original members drop out while new members join in along their career. Metallica has made millions from selling their records and having tours.
One of the most notable recent tours that gathered Metallica millions was the WorldWired tour which they started in 2016. The tour made them over $250 million. Metallica has an income of $68 million and is valued at a net worth of around $820 million.
Rihanna is a renowned RnB singer and one of the highest-paid musicians, according to Forbes. The musician made a fortune from her music up until she ventured into other businesses like the Fenty Beauty make-up line. The high-end make-up line made about $570 million from sales in 2019.
The marketing strategy applied by the brand and inclusion of a variety of foundation shades that fit almost every race is what made the make-up line make that much. With Rihanna as the face behind the make-up line, Fenty Beauty was going to be successful. The Fenty Beauty co-owner makes an income of $62 million and has a net worth of $600 million.
13. Katy Perry
Katy Perry’s most recent iconic tour was the Witness Tour. The tour is reported to have grossed more than $1 million a night on her 37 stops in the last year. Katy Perry’s is one of the top paid musicians with an income of $57 million and a net worth of $330 million. Katy Perry’s singles have featured on Billboard Hot 100 on several occasions.
She has sold millions of records and performed on packed concerts where she gets most of her earnings. Katy Perry’s other earnings are from celebrity endorsement of products, movies and serving as a judge on ABC's American Idol.
14. Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods tour is the most memorable of all his tours. The tour grossed over $225 million a little over a year when he started. The 39-year-old star has made his fortune from doing shows, making music and featuring in movies.
His current earning is $57.5 million. Justin Timberlake is valued at a net worth of $250 million. J. T as he is popularly known created the Tennessee Braspberry Supertea flavour for Bai Brands as the company's Chief Flavor
BTS is a seven-member South Korean band that continues to take the pop industry by storm. The group is famed for its catchy music and unique sound. BTS had its first international breakthrough in 2017 after they appeared in the 2017 Billboard Music Awards despite being popular in their home country.
With fame came higher ratings and more money. BTS income is estimated to be $57 million with a net worth of an estimated $60 million. The K-Pop idols solely make their money from music sales, tours, and brand endorsements.
Pink is sometimes stylized as P!nk. The 40-year-old’s annual income has increased to over $57 million as of 2019. The majority of her income came from concert ticket sales and albums sold, with the remaining share coming from product endorsements.
Her latest album, Hurts 2B Human, together with her Beautiful Trauma world tour, raked her millions of shillings in two years alone. P!nk made about $3 million per stop during the tour. The entire tour grossed over $397 million. Pink's net worth is more than $110 million.
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17. Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars has an estimated annual income of $51.5 million. Bruno Mars's most notable tour was the 24K Magic tour in 2018. The tour grossed $237 million and was reported as the highest-grossing tour in 2018. The 34-year-old singer, dancer and multi-instrumentalist have sold more than 130 million records worldwide, placing him among the top highest-selling musicians in the last decade.
Bruno Mars’ s 2020 net worth is about $175 million. Other than music, Bruno Mars has made money off endorsing products from companies like Pepsi, Selvarey Rum, Bench, and Chromatik.
18. Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett is still ranked among the highest earners in the music industry despite not making new music for years. Jimmy Buffett continues raking in millions from his lifestyle brand named after his hit song Margaritaville. The 73-year-old American singer is famed for his exceptional style in music that often depicts an 'island escapism' lifestyle.
His hospitality company, Margaritaville, manages a restaurant chain, casinos, lodging facilities and other Jimmy Buffett-themed merchandise like alcohol, clothing line and home décor. Jimmy Buffett makes an annual income of $50 million with an estimated net worth of $560 million.
Eminem has been rapping for over three decades now. The artiste’s longevity in the music scene has seen him gain millions of followers all over the world while performing at shows and selling records. Eminem’s income is $15 million with a net worth of over $190 million.
The 2000s were great for the rapper as he was rated among the highest-paid musicians of the decade. The 47-year-old continues to make music and go on tours which bring him a vast fortune. His other sources of income include movies and celebrity product endorsements.
20. Travis Scott
Born Jacques Berman Webster II, Travis Scott is one of the most influential rappers to most millennials. The rapper is known for his hit songs and being the partner of Kylie Jenner. Travis Scott is valued at a net worth of $40 million with an income of $21 million. After releasing his 3rd studio album Astrowrld, Travis Scott went on the Astroworld tour which grossed him approximately $65 million.
The Astroworld tour was one of the most iconic recent tours the rapper has been. He also appeared on the song "Power is Power" together with RnB stars The Weeknd and SZA. The song was featured on the Game of Thrones album For the Throne.
The music industry today is worth more than $20 billion. Streaming of music and selling of digital records have contributed to this growth. Highest paid musicians do not, however, rely on just those two to make earnings. A lot of the highest-paid musicians take years before getting to be a household name. A majority of them venture into other businesses once they are established artistes, creating additional streams of income. Veteran musicians like P. Diddy, Paul McCartney and Dr Dre are still rated as the highest-paid musicians despite not making new music for years.
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