Forbes list of highest-earning musicians

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Forbes logo

The highest-earning musicians, also published as the "highest-paid musicians", have been reported annually by Forbes since at least 1987. For measurement, the magazine used pretax earnings—before deducting fees for agents, managers or lawyers.[1] Most of the lists were estimated within a June-to-June scoring period, except for 1999, 2021, and 2022 when a calendar year period was used instead.[2][3][4]

U2 became the annual highest-earning musician five times, more than any other act. They were also the top-earning music group in a record eight different years. Michael Jackson became the first musician to earn over $100 million in a year (1989),[5] and has become the top-earning male soloist a record seven times. Dr. Dre currently holds the record for the highest annual earnings for a musician, collecting $620 million in 2014, mainly through the sales of his headphone-manufacturing company, Beats Electronics.[6]

Madonna is the first woman in music to earn $100 million for a year (2009) and has become the top-earning female artist a record 11 times. Taylor Swift remains the female artist with the highest-earning ever in a year (first with $170 million in 2016, and $185 million in 2019), breaking previous record-holders Madonna ($125 million in 2013) and Katy Perry ($135 million in 2015).[7][8] Although Forbes named Rihanna as the world's richest female musician, she has never topped any annual earnings list. Most of her wealth does not come from her music income, but from the stock value of her cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty.[9]

Highest-earning musicians by year[edit]

U2 became the annual highest-earning musician a record five times and the annual highest-earning music group a record eight times
Michael Jackson became the annual highest-earning musician three times and the annual highest-earning male solo artist a record seven times
Madonna became the annual highest-earning musician three times and the annual highest-earning female artist a record eleven times
Key
*
Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Top 40 entertainers list of the respective year
^
Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the respective year
Top-earning musicians of the year
Year Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 Bruce Springsteen United States $56 million $144 million [10][11]
1988 Michael Jackson * United States $97 million $240 million [12][13]
1989 Michael Jackson * United States $125 million $295 million [14][15]
1990 Michael Jackson United States $100 million $224 million [16]
1991 New Kids on the Block * United States $115 million $247 million [17][18]
1992 New Kids on the Block United States $62 million $129 million [19]
1993 Guns N' Roses United States $53 million $107 million [20][21]
1994 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $62 million $122 million [22][23]
1995 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $250 million [24]
1996 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $243 million [25]
1997 The Beatles United Kingdom $98 million $179 million [26]
1998 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $57 million $102 million [27]
1999 Backstreet Boys United States $60 million $105 million [28]
2001 The Beatles United Kingdom $70 million $116 million [29]
2002 U2 Ireland $69 million $112 million [30]
2003 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $66.5 million $106 million [31]
2004 Bruce Springsteen United States $64 million $99 million [32]
2005 Madonna United States $50 million $75 million [33]
2006 U2 Ireland $110 million $160 million [34]
2007 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $110 million $155 million [35]
2008 The Police United Kingdom $115 million $156 million [36]
2009 Madonna United States $110 million $150 million [37]
2010 U2 Ireland $130 million $174 million [38]
2011 U2 Ireland $195 million $254 million [39]
2012 Dr. Dre United States $110 million $140 million [40]
2013 Madonna United States $125 million $157 million [41]
2014 Dr. Dre United States $620 million $766 million [42]
2015 Katy Perry United States $135 million $167 million [43]
2016 Taylor Swift ^ United States $170 million $207 million [44]
2017 Diddy ^ United States $130 million $155 million [45]
2018 U2 Ireland $118 million $138 million [46]
2019 Taylor Swift ^ United States $185 million $212 million [1]
2020 Kanye West United States $170 million $192 million [47]
2021 Bruce Springsteen United States $435 million $470 million [4]
2022 Genesis United Kingdom $230 million $230 million [48]

Group[edit]

The Beatles became the annual highest-earning musician four times and the annual highest-earning music group four times
The Rolling Stones became the annual highest-earning musician three times and the annual highest-earning music group five times
Eagles became the annual highest-earning music group three times
Top-earning music groups of the year
Year Music group Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 U2 Ireland $37 million $95 million [10][11]
1988 U2 Ireland $42 million $104 million [12][13]
1989 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $56 million $132 million [14][15]
1990 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $88 million $197 million [16]
1991 New Kids on the Block * United States $115 million $247 million [17][18]
1992 New Kids on the Block United States $62 million $129 million [19]
1993 Guns N' Roses United States $53 million $107 million [20][21]
1994 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $62 million $122 million [22][23]
1995 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $250 million [24]
1996 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $243 million [25]
1997 The Beatles United Kingdom $98 million $179 million [26]
1998 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $57 million $102 million [27]
1999 Backstreet Boys United States $60 million $105 million [28]
2001 The Beatles United Kingdom $70 million $116 million [29]
2002 U2 Ireland $69 million $112 million [30]
2003 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $66.5 million $106 million [31]
2004 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $51 million $79 million [32]
2005 Eagles United States $45 million $67 million [33]
2006 U2 Ireland $110 million $160 million [34]
2007 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $110 million $155 million [35]
2008 The Police United Kingdom $115 million $156 million [36]
2009 Rascal Flatts United States $60 million $82 million [37]
2010 U2 Ireland $130 million $174 million [38]
2011 U2 Ireland $195 million $254 million [39]
2012 U2 Ireland $78 million $99 million [40]
2013 Bon Jovi United States $79 million $99 million [41]
2014 Eagles United States $100 million $124 million [42]
2015 One Direction United Kingdom / Ireland $130 million $160 million [43]
2016 One Direction United Kingdom / Ireland $110 million $134 million [44]
2017 Coldplay United Kingdom $88 million $105 million [45]
2018 U2 Ireland $118 million $138 million [46]
2019 Eagles United States $100 million $114 million [1]
2020 Jonas Brothers United States $68.5 million $77 million [47]
2021 Red Hot Chili Peppers United States $116 million $125 million [4]
2022 Genesis United Kingdom $230 million $230 million [48]

Male[edit]

Bruce Springsteen became the annual highest-earning musician three times and the annual highest-earning male solo artist six times
Elton John became the annual highest-earning male solo artist three times
Garth Brooks became the annual highest-earning male solo artist three times
Top-earning male solo musicians of the year
Year Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 Bruce Springsteen United States $56 million $144 million [10][11]
1988 Michael Jackson * United States $97 million $240 million [12]
1989 Michael Jackson * United States $125 million $295 million [14][15]
1990 Michael Jackson United States $100 million $224 million [16]
1991 Michael Jackson United States $60 million $129 million [17][18]
1992 Michael Jackson United States $51 million $106 million [19]
1993 Prince United States $49 million $99 million [20][21]
1994 Garth Brooks United States $41 million $81 million [22][23]
1995 Michael Jackson United States $67 million $129 million [24]
1996 Michael Jackson United States $90 million $168 million [25]
1997 David Bowie United Kingdom $63 million $115 million [26]
1998 Master P United States $56.5 million $101 million [27]
1999 Lou Bega[a] Germany $6 million $11 million [28]
2001 Dr. Dre United States $35 million $58 million [29]
2002 Elton John United Kingdom $30 million $49 million [50]
2003 Paul McCartney United Kingdom $59 million $94 million [31]
2004 Bruce Springsteen United States $64 million $99 million [32]
2005 Prince United States $49.7 million $74 million [33]
2006 Bruce Springsteen United States $55 million $80 million [34]
2007 Elton John United Kingdom $53 million $75 million [35]
2008 Toby Keith United States $48 million $65 million [36]
2009 Bruce Springsteen United States $70 million $95 million [37]
2010 Bruce Springsteen United States $70 million $94 million [38]
2011 Elton John United Kingdom $100 million $130 million [39]
2012 Dr. Dre United States $110 million $140 million [40]
2013 Toby Keith United States $65 million $82 million [41]
2014 Dr. Dre United States $620 million $766 million [42]
2015 Garth Brooks United States $90 million $111 million [43]
2016 Garth Brooks United States $70 million $85 million [51]
2017 Diddy ^ United States $130 million $155 million [45]
2018 Ed Sheeran United Kingdom $110 million $128 million [46]
2019 Kanye West United States $150 million $172 million [1]
2020 Kanye West United States $170 million $192 million [47]
2021 Bruce Springsteen United States $435 million $470 million [4]
2022 Sting United Kingdom $210 million $210 million [48]

Female[edit]

Taylor Swift became the annual highest-earning musician twice and the annual highest-earning female artist four times
Celine Dion became the annual highest-earning female artist four times
Beyoncé became the annual highest-earning female artist four times
Top-earning female musicians of the year
Year Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 Madonna United States $47 million $121 million [10][11]
1988 Madonna United States $46 million $114 million [12][13]
1989 Madonna United States $43 million $102 million [14][52]
1990 Madonna United States $62 million $139 million [16]
1991 Madonna United States $63 million $135 million [17][18]
1992 Madonna United States $48 million $100 million [19]
1993 Madonna United States $37 million $75 million [20][21]
1994 Barbra Streisand United States $57 million $113 million [22][23]
1995 Barbra Streisand United States $63 million $121 million [24]
1996 Mariah Carey United States $32 million $60 million [25]
1997 Celine Dion Canada $65 million $118 million [26]
1998 Celine Dion Canada $55.5 million $100 million [27]
1999 Shania Twain Canada $48 million $84 million [28]
2001 Britney Spears United States $38.5 million $64 million [29]
2002 Mariah Carey United States $58 million $94 million [30]
2003 Cher United States $33.1 million $53 million [31]
2004 Celine Dion Canada $28 million[b] $43 million [32]
2005 Madonna United States $50 million $75 million [33]
2006 Celine Dion Canada $40 million $58 million [34]
2007 Madonna United States $72 million $102 million [35]
2008 Beyoncé United States $80 million $109 million [36]
2009 Madonna United States $110 million $150 million [37]
2010 Beyoncé United States $87 million $117 million [38]
2011 Lady Gaga ^ United States $90 million $117 million [39]
2012 Britney Spears United States $58 million $74 million [40]
2013 Madonna United States $125 million $157 million [41]
2014 Beyoncé ^ United States $115 million $142 million [42]
2015 Katy Perry United States $135 million $167 million [43]
2016 Taylor Swift ^ United States $170 million $207 million [44]
2017 Beyoncé United States $105 million $125 million [45]
2018 Katy Perry United States $83 million $97 million [46]
2019 Taylor Swift ^ United States $185 million $212 million [1]
2020 Ariana Grande United States $72 million $81 million [47]
2021 Taylor Swift United States $52 million $56 million [4]
2022 Taylor Swift United States $92 million $92 million [48]

Highest-earning musicians by decade[edit]

2010s[edit]

Dr. Dre became the highest-earning musician of the 2010s decade.
Top 10 highest-earning musicians of the 2010s decade[55]
Rank Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
1 Dr. Dre United States $950 million $1,087 million
2 Taylor Swift United States $825 million $944 million
3 Beyoncé United States $685 million $784 million
4 U2 Ireland $675 million $773 million
5 Diddy United States $605 million $692 million
6 Elton John United Kingdom $565 million $647 million
7 Jay-Z United States $560 million $641 million
8 Paul McCartney United Kingdom $535 million $612 million
9 Katy Perry United States $530 million $607 million
10 Lady Gaga United States $500 million $572 million

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Male soloists were largely absent in 1999. Lou Bega only reached number 87 on the Celebrity 100 list.[49]
  2. ^ Although Forbes listed Celine Dion and Cher each with rounded earnings of $28 million in 2004, the former was ranked higher than the latter.[53][54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e 06:30am EST. "The World's Top-Earning Musicians Of 2019". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-14. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  2. ^ "Forbes.com: Forbes Celebrity 100". Forbes. Archived from the original on May 21, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  3. ^ "Forbes.com: Forbes Celebrity 100 2001". Forbes. Archived from the original on 22 June 2003. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Highest-Paid Entertainers 2022". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2022-02-10. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  5. ^ McAleer 1991, p. 82
  6. ^ "Highest annual earnings for a musician ever". Archived from the original on 2023-02-28. Retrieved 2023-03-14.
  7. ^ Glenday 2015, p. 167
  8. ^ "Highest annual earnings ever for a female pop star". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on November 12, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  9. ^ "Billionaire Rihanna named world's richest female musician". The Guardian. August 4, 2021. Retrieved September 5, 2023.
  10. ^ a b c d "Of the Show Biz Rich, Bill Cosby Is Top Star". Los Angeles Times. September 7, 1987. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d Winship, Frederick M. (September 6, 1987). "Bill Cosby tops list of highest paid entertainers". United Press International (UPI). Archived from the original on January 22, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d "A NEW, OLD LOOK FOR THE RIVIERA – Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. September 22, 1988. Archived from the original on July 30, 2022. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c "Michael Jackson tops list of best-paid entertainers". United Press International (UPI). September 18, 1988. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d Barty, Billy (November 30, 1989). "Tickertape: Million Dollar Bash" (PDF). Cash Box. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c "Michael Jackson tops Forbes's 'richest stars' list again". United Press International (UPI). September 16, 1989. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  16. ^ a b c d "Forbes Magazine's Highest-Paid Entertainers With PM-Richest Entertainers". Associated Press. September 17, 1990. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  17. ^ a b c d "High Life: A Weekly Forum for High School Students: Foothill Teen Wins Poster Prize". Los Angeles Times. September 26, 1991. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  18. ^ a b c d "Forbes Magazine's Highest-Paid Entertainers With AM-Richest Entertainers". Associated Press. September 15, 1991. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d "Forbes Magazine's 40 Richest Entertainers With AM-Richest Entertainers". AP News. 1992-09-13. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  20. ^ a b c d "Talking Pays Big, Puts Oprah at Top of Earnings List". 13 September 1993. Archived from the original on 30 July 2022. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
  21. ^ a b c d "Oprah Tops Forbes List of Highest Grossing Celebs: CELEBRITIES (List Top 25)". Jet. September 27, 1993. p. 13. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  22. ^ a b c d "Spielberg Is Top-Paid Entertaier; Syrupy Barney Rings in at No. 3". Deseret News. September 12, 1994. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  23. ^ a b c d "Spielberg tops Forbes list". United Press International (UPI). September 11, 1994. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  24. ^ a b c d "Beatles In The Money Again, Forbes Says Band Earned Third Most Money, Behind Steven Spielberg, Oprah | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  25. ^ a b c d Gerhart, Ann (1996-09-09). "Yoga Teacher Makes Peace In Cleveland Park". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2022-07-30. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  26. ^ a b c d "In the money". Tampabay.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-30. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  27. ^ a b c d "Forbes list of entertainers". Associated Press. 1998-09-07. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-27.
  28. ^ a b c d "Backstreet Boys Become 1999's Top Money-Making Musicians". MTV. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  29. ^ a b c d "Beatles, Britney Most Powerful Music Artists, Forbes Says | News". MTV. 2001-10-02. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-27.
  30. ^ a b c "Forbes.com: Forbes Celebrity 100". Forbes. February 16, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-02-16.
  31. ^ a b c d "The Best Paid Musicians". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  32. ^ a b c d "The Best Paid Musicians". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  33. ^ a b c d "The Best Paid Musicians". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-07-30.
  34. ^ a b c d "The Celebrity 100 - Forbes.com". images.forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  35. ^ a b c d "The Top-Earning Musicians". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012.
  36. ^ a b c d Rose, Lacey. "In Pictures: World's Best-Paid Music Stars". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  37. ^ a b c d "In Pictures: The Year's Top-Earning Musicians". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2022.
  38. ^ a b c d Fried, Melanie (July 19, 2010). "U2, Beyonce, Britney Make Forbes 'Top-Earning Musicians' List". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  39. ^ a b c d "U2 top list of world's highest-paid musicians". the Guardian. June 17, 2011. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  40. ^ a b c d Billboard, Jason Lipshutz (November 29, 2012). "Dr. Dre Is Forbes' 2012 Highest-Paid Musician". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  41. ^ a b c d "Madonna named highest-earning musician in 2013". the Guardian. November 21, 2013. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  42. ^ a b c d "Dr. Dre is Forbes' top-earning 2014 musician". San Diego Union-Tribune. December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  43. ^ a b c d Greenburg, Zack O'Malley. "The World's Highest-Paid Musicians Of 2015". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  44. ^ a b c "Taylor Swift Is Officially the Highest-Paid Musician in the World". Fortune. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  45. ^ a b c d Penrose, Nerisha (December 7, 2017). "Diddy, Beyonce, & Drake Top Forbes' Highest-Paid Musicians of 2017 List". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  46. ^ a b c d Furdyk, Brent (December 4, 2018). "U2 Tops Forbes' List Of 2018's Highest-Earning Musicians As Joshua Tree Tour Grosses $316M". Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  47. ^ a b c d Mamo, Heran (September 2, 2020). "Kanye West, Ariana Grande & More Musicians Crowned Forbes' 100 Highest-Paid Celebrities of 2020". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 27, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  48. ^ a b c d "The World's 10 Highest-Paid Entertainers". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2023-02-17. Retrieved 2023-03-14.
  49. ^ "Forbes.com: Forbes Celebrity 100 2000". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2001-11-20. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  50. ^ "Forbes Celebrity 100 2002". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  51. ^ "Highest paid musicians of 2016 revealed". NME. 30 November 2016. Archived from the original on 28 July 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  52. ^ Fatsis, Stefan (September 16, 1989). "Michael Jackson Remains Highest-Paid Entertainer; Aging Rockers On A Roll". Associated Press (AP). Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
  53. ^ "Celine Dion > Pay Rank 35". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 9, 2008. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  54. ^ "Cher > Pay Rank 42". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 23, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2023.
  55. ^ 11:07am EST. "From Taylor Swift To Dr. Dre: The 10 Top-Earning Musicians Of The Decade". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2022-07-27. Retrieved 2022-07-28.

Print sources[edit]