Music inspires, relaxes, instigates, encourages, communicates. But it also brings pots of money to the artists. Albums, tours, endorsements, these and more are all excellent money makers for singers. It’s very common for an artist or a band to make hundreds of millions of dollars in a year just by touring around the world. Curious who the highest earning musicians of the past year are? Check out this top 25 and be amazed.
1. U2: $195 million
After ending their two year tour around the globe, U2 will have been singing for some 7 million fans. They have been around for decades and are still adored by countless music lovers everywhere. The tour will sell tickets worth $700 million.
2. Bon Jovi: $125 million
Also an artist whose music hasn’t aged at all, Bon Jovi played in 74 shows during the last 12 months and generated $200 million. President Obama named him to the White House Council for Community Solutions. Not bad for one year.
3. Elton John: $100 million
Sir Elton John has sold more than 250 million records in his over-three-decades career. The last twelve months have seen him on stage, doing live shows for over one hundred times and generating $204 million. His personal life is also very full of events, as he and his partner David Furnish now have a surrogate son, Zachary.
4. Lady Gaga: $90 million
The last 12 months have been very lucrative for young Lady Gaga. After putting on 137 shows in 22 countries, she made $170 million. Its true that she needs pots of money to make her shows unforgettable in a typical “Gaga” style, but then again, she also earns heavily from endorsements, recorded music and heavy radio play.
5. Michael Bublé: $70 million
His road to success was not paved with diamonds, but he finally managed to get where he wanted: an internationally famous singer. Not only did he accomplish that, but the Canadian artist even made it among the top five highest earning musicians of today. The good looking crooner did great for himself!
6. Paul McCartney: $67 million
Thirty shows in twelve moths were enough to win the former Beatle a whopping $130 million. The artist made it in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful songwriter of all times and is still one of the most beloved singers alive.
7. The Black Eyed Peas: $61 million
Over the last year, the Black Eyed Peas generated more than $68 million, performing 62 shows in different cities around the world. Endorsement deals with Pepsi, Samsung, Chase, Verizon, Honda and others have also brought them big cash.
8. The Eagles: $60 million
The still very successful rockers are continuing to make pots of money with their old hits. In fact, it’s mostly the old songs that bring together thousands of fans at their shows, as the Eagles haven’t had any new big hits in recent years.
9. Justin Bieber: $53 million
The boy is only 17 years old and is already a star. Clearly, Bieber is the youngest artist on the list, but that didn’t stop him from making it to the top ten! Already touring around the world and grossing a lot of cash form the “Never Say Never” biopic and the “Someday” fragrance, Justin is a potential future number one of the list.
10. Dave Matthews Band: $51 million
How about grossing over $1 million per night? You would love that, wouldn’t you? Well, this is how much money Dave Matthews Band generated over the past year by putting on 68 shows. Their 2009 album called “Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King” brought to them a new wave of success.
11. Toby Keith: $50 million
At no. 11, Toby Keith is the highest earning country star. His money comes not only from his music, but also from his restaurant chain named “I Love This Bar and Grill”, a mescal line and an endorsement deal with Ford.
12. Usher: $46 million
The past has year brought Usher two Grammy awards, which clearly means that the artist has no fame or fortune problems. He also held a concert tour to support his “Versus” album, which obviously brought him a lot of cash.
13. Taylor Swift: $45 million
Young and beautiful, Taylor Swift grosses some $750,000 per night while touring. Her latest album “Speak now” sold over one million copies in its first week, so it’s safe to say that she is one of the most popular singers of today.
14. Katy Perry: $44 million
There have been only nine albums in music history with 4 chart-topping singles and Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is one of them. And since the artists is also the brand ambassador for Adidas, Ubisoft and Proactiv, it’s no wonder that her fortune is so big. Oh, and let’s not forget “Purr”, her own fragrance.
15. Brad Paisley: $40 million
With a lot of touring during the year and some heavy endorsement deals (Skinny Water, Sea Ray boats and Chevrolet), Brad Paisley has made it to the top 15. The country star was named Entertainer of the Year at the 44th annual CMA Awards.
16. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: $38 million
Sixty years old and still bringing together loud crowds that sing along with him enthusiastically, Tom Petty is showing the world just how long success can last. Over the years he has sold 60 million albums. In 2006 Petty and The Heartbreakers celebrated their 30th anniversary, which sais a lot about them!
17. Jay-Z: $37 million
Jay-Z’s various business ventures have set him a little higher than his also very successful wife, Beyoncé Knowles. This actually has happened for the first time since their marriage in 2008. But worry not, the hot R&B singer is just one entry below, still in the top 20.
18. Beyoncé Knowles: 35 million
The only reason why Beyoncé is not closer to the top of the list is that she didn’t release a new album this year (yet) and she did not go touring around the world either. But where did her money come from? Dereon clothing line and endorsement deals with General Mills, DirectTV, L’Oreal and others.
19. AC/DC: 35 million
In 2013, the world-famous rock band will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Their music is still adored by countless fans all over the world and is very well reflected in the money they make. The band’s last tour generated $60 million.
20. Sean “Diddy” Combs: $35 million
Today less than twenty percent of Diddy’s earnings come from music. Where does the rest come from? His clothing line “Sean John”, his upscale restaurant named Justin’s (his boy’s name), the Ciroc Vodka and other ventures.
21. Tim McGraw: $35 million
His line of cologne sells great, he starred in “Country Song” with Gwyneth Paltrow, and he has recently been on a very successful tour. Consequently, he was given a special place on this list, next to the other musicians that have made $35 million during the past 12 months.
22. Muse: $35 million
Also at the $35 million threshold stands Muse, the British rock group that has performed 63 shows during the past year. Add to this the fact that their songs have made it on all three Twilight soundtrack albums and you get a pretty nice outcome: fame plus money.
23. Rascal Flatts: $34 million
The recipe for this kind of money is pretty simple: sing in 61 shows over a period of twelve months (generating $45 million), make sure you get a lot of radio play and sign some endorsement deals with JC Penny and others. Now you try it!
24. Kenny Chesney: $30 million
After releasing his new album Hemingway’s Whiskey, Kenny Chesney went on a very lucrative tour to support the album. By putting on 14 shows in twelve moths, he generated almost $40 million. All this in one year.
25. Rihanna: $29 million
During the past year, Rihanna grossed no less than $1 million per night in 38 shows. Other income sources include endorsements (Secret, Cover Girl and others), Reb’l Fleur fragrance and more. Also, her latest album “Loud” enjoyed a lot of success, binging her a nice financial reward too.