Fri 30 Nov 2012
This week Forbes ranked their annual Highest-Paid Musician list for 2012, and the results may surprise you. Superstars from all genres ranked in the top 25, which also included a few rappers and singers. Rihanna came in at #13 with 55 million, Diddy at #15 with 45 million, Beyonce at #18 with 40 million, Jay-Z at #20 with 38 million, and Kanye at #22 with 35 million. However, the top spot went out to Mr. Beats By Dre himself. Were you surprised?
1. Dr. Dre ($110 million)
His long-awaited album, Detox, is still on the shelf, but Dre still rakes in cash from old albums, production and the occasional concert. And then there’s that headphone line. The superproducer collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year, at the beginning of our scoring period (earlier this year, he and his partners bought back half of what they sold).
2. Roger Waters ($88 million)
A founding member of Pink Floyd, Waters continues to rake in cash from his The Wall Live tour, in which he plays the aforementioned album straight through. According to Billboard Boxscore, he grossed $131 million from November 2011 to May 2012 alone.
Check out more of 2012’s highest paid musicians after the jump…
3. Elton John ($80 million)
The Rocketman is still going strong with over 100 shows in our scoring period, including a lengthy Las Vegas stint. His animated film Gnomeo and Juliet brought in $200 million at the box office. He’s also got his 30th solo album on the way.
4. U2 ($78 million)
The legendary Irish rockers wrapped up their record-breaking 360 tour—which grossed $736 million over three year—in August of 2011, just late enough to count a summer of touring in our scoring period.
5. Take That ($69 million)
The British boy band’s reunion tour grossed a record $61 million for eight dates at London’s Wembley Stadium alone, the highest-grossing single-stadium stand recorded to that point, while dozens of dates around Europe provided even more.
6. Bon Jovi ($60 million)
The veteran New Jersey rock act wrapped a world tour last summer but still managed to out-earn relative whippersnappers Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne and Kate Moss combined. Could a breakup be on the horizon? Frontman Jon Bon Jovi has been spotted duetting with Warren Buffett in the Forbes building.
7. Britney Spears ($58 million)
The pop diva returns to the ranks of music’s elite earners with millions from endorsements and a fragrance line with Elizabeth Arden. Her latest album, Femme Fatale, earned platinum certification in the U.S.
8. Paul McCartney ($57 million, tie)
Sir Paul continues to rock, playing three dozen shows during our scoring period, including a rollicking Grammy performance that included a finale with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen. Royalty checks from his Beatles days don’t hurt, either.
8. Taylor Swift ($57 million, tie)
Swift grossed over $1 million per night on the road this year, and also earns big as one of the faces of CoverGirl. Her latest album, Red, moved 1.2 million units its opening week this fall, the best debut since 2002.
10. Justin Bieber ($55 million, tie)
The 18-year-old is the youngest name on our list, thanks to sales of music and merchandise—and, more recently, stakes in startups including Tinychat, Stamped and Spotify. More: Justin Bieber, Venture Capitalist.
10. Toby Keith ($55 million, tie)
With his Ford sponsorship entering its second decade and his I Love This Bar And Grill restaurant chain booming, Keith tops country earners for the second consecutive year. New album Clancy’s Tavern helped him sell out shows across the country.
Read the top 25 at Forbes