It has been an unusual year and then some for musicians. 2021 is here but COVID is still making concert attendance dangerous. For almost two years now, COVID-19 has kept the world indoors.
Since concert revenues – which bring in millions themselves – are not on the agenda for right now. Instead, musicians have been getting creative with investments, endorsements, and designing their own clothing lines.
It’s turned out to be a very lucrative enterprise for them. We list four billionaires in our top three who did just that.
Here are the 20 highest-paid musicians in the world with a bit about their current new worth and how they got so rich!
1. Kanye West—$2 Billion
On June 4, 2020, Billboard named Kanye West as the highest paid musician in the world. But it’s his fashion investments that are making him the real money. West’s Yeezy brand – the Yeezy tennis shoes he designs for Adidas– brought him $191 million in royalties in 2020.
Now, Kanye has a deal with the Gap, which promises to make more millions. Because of these investments, combined with his royalties, real estate, investments, and the $4-5 million he gets per endorsement for the brands he endorses. But who would doubt that Kanye would be a financial success, since everything he attempts turns platinum?
West acknowledges that it took encouragement from friends and family to help him achieve everything he has in life. Kanye once said, “It’s about motivating the doers. Because I’m here to follow my dreams and inspire other people to follow their dreams, too.”
His wide-ranging musical talents, from producing instrumental soundtracks for dramatic films to singing rap songs with Jay-Z, Kanye will always belong in the flashing lights – every night.
2. Jay-Z and Beyonce—$1.9 Billion
It’s no shocker this power-couple’s combined net worth in 2021 would reach $1.9 billion. Both superstars had already broke a million but Jay-Z’s 2021 sales of half of his Armand de Brignac champagne to LVMH, owner of Dom Pérignon, which netted him $ 315 million combined with the sale of half of his streaming service, Tidal, for a whopping $640 million dollars, combined with Beyonce’s $500 million net worth, sets them well into billionaire status.
But the high-performance couple earn millions for just one performance too. Their on the Run II stadium tour garnered $5 million a night, bringing them a grand total after the tour of $250 million.
3. Rihanna—$1.7 Billion
At only 33 years old, Rihanna also achieved billionaire status in 2021. Rihanna is not only the richest black woman in America, she’s also the best-selling female musician in the world and is widely acknowledged as one of the best-selling musicians of all time. She’s won 9 Grammy’s and 12 American Music Awards.
Like Kanye, she used the money she had saved to start a posh company, Fenty Cosmetics, a line of cosmetics designed to make the most of every woman’s complexion. Rihanna also conceptualized Savage X Fenty, a complete line of deeply sexy lingerie that celebrates all sizes of women. No matter what she does, Rihanna is always a marvel of creativity and talent.
4. Paul McCartney—$1.2 Billion
Of course, one of the two last Beatles alive (Ringo being the other) of the surviving members of is a billionaire! McCartney is the one Beatle who had an especially lucrative career both with Wings and solo.
Wings was especially successful in the 1970s and 80s with number one hits that stayed at the top of the chart for months such as “Silly Love Songs,” (5 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard charts) and his duet with Stevie Wonder “Ebony and Ivory” which stayed at number one for 7 weeks in 1982 – and that’s back when people actually bought albums.
5. Andrew Lloyd Webber—$1.2 Billion
Webber is our only British composer to have broken into billion-dollar status. With his first big musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, to Cats, another super-nova hit, and his Phantom of the Opera, which made him a cool $6 million, Webber has acquired a fortune in money and property—with a two-story home in London.
Recently, Webber made a mistake in turning Cats the musical into a movie. It bombed.
Though slated to make some $100 million at the box office, the film has been called “the laughing stock of the internet,” according to The Insider. However, the original musical was a super-smash, earning some $3.5 billion dollars and Webber a Tony.
6. The Rolling Stones—$900 Millions
There will never be another group of musicians and lyricists with such a unique sound and so much talent. The Stones stand in a room together for 5 minutes and they come up hits like “Honkey Tonk Blues” or “She’s so Cold.” They are considered the wealthiest band in the world, with tours grossing over half a billion dollars.
On, top of that, they’re not exactly young. Yet they still do lengthy tours and Mick still jumps and gyrates all over the stage as if he were still 19. Mick, thank you. You guys never fail to impress.
7. Metallica—$900 Millions
Metallica is the biggest metal band and one that has influenced countless bands and performers as well. Their first album, Kill ‘Em All showcased the guitarists talents for speed metal-playing and advanced musical compositions that no other metal bands were attempting at that time. In this way, they raised the bar early and high for all metal acts to follow.
Metallica has a huge, varied, and dedicated following of people from all walks of life — math metal lovers, concert guitarists — everyone loves to study the songs in this band if they play because Metallica is always playing at the absolute highest levels of heir virtuosity. Metallica is also not one to rest on their laurels.
They’ve released about 10 albums between 2019 and 2021. Their best-selling album, by far, was the Black Album, released in 1991, and featuring favorites like “Enter Sandman,” “The Unforgiven,” and “Wherever I May Roam.”
8. The Eagles —$800 Millions
To see the Eagles even together on a stage is quite a treat for most of their older fans. That’s because we remember. They weren’t supposed to get back together until, as Henley said, “When hell freezes over.”
So, when they did get back together, they called the concert the “Hell Freezes Over” tour. The tour proved lucrative, making $147 million dollars by the tour’s end. The band now commands some $100 million dollars a year.
The Eagles are just as beloved by an adoring public who finds comfort in the fact that they know they are not alone when the Eagles sing their songs. And sometimes, often, we just need to know that we are not alone in our feelings, so much.
9. Dr. Dre (Andre Young)—$800 Millions
Besides being a musical legend in his own right with the infamous rappers, N.W.A., then going on to hit the top of the chats with songs like California and Still, Dr. Dre signed many famous artists to his record label, Death Row Records. Eminem is the most famous of that entourage and the two have had a deep partnership and friendship for decades.
But what really made Dr. Dre money was his partnership with Jimmy Iovine to create Dr. Dre’s Beats Headphones, which Apple quickly scooped up for a whopping $3 billion. Dre made $585 million before taxes on that deal.
10. Queen—$600 Millions
“We Will Rock You” off their album News of the World,” released in 1977, is officially 40 years old, and it’s never been more popular. Despite Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, the film Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) has had profound effect on the world public. In fact, the band has experienced a complete resurgence in concert attendance, song streams and downloads—everything.
The band commented that they now had more of a new worth than the Queen of England and that owing to the success of Bohemian Rhapsody, the film, the surviving three band members now enjoy a net worth of some $600 million dollars!
11. Elton John—$500 Millions
Some people aren’t just born to be a star, they are born to be super-novas. Elton John is one such star. A lifetime of hits, being knighted by the Queen of England, and two Vegas show tours, the Red Piano and the Million Dollar Piano, have secured Sir Elton John with a health net worth of $500 million dollars.
Elton John is second only to Elvis Presley in the number of hits he has had to reach the top 40. Nine of those hit number one. Among his biggest hits are the songs “Your Song,” “Rocket Man,” and “Candle in the Wind,” which stayed at number one for 14 weeks following the death of Princess Diana.
On the importance of music and becoming a legend, Elton John had this to say, “If you write great songs with meaning and emotion, they will last forever because songs are the key to everything.”
12. Taylor Swift—$400 Millions
Taylor Swift has always been an overachiever, even now that she’s a glittering star that refuses to be ignored amongst all the shining stars in the galaxy. Swift has sold over 200 million albums, yet continues to work as hard as she did to be discovered and firmly imprint herself in the hearts and minds of a global public.
Even during the pandemic, while most people were so depressed they couldn’t decide whether to stay in bed all day or simply veg out and watch too much television, Taylor released two hit albums instead. The star is one of the best-selling musical artists of all time and one of the highest paid musicians as well. The public loves her, the media loves her – she can anything and everything but wrong.
13. Phil Collins—$300 Millions
Phil Collins gives one heck of his concert. During a recent one, he took the time to explain the story behind every song he has written, during Genesis and his solo career. But because he is so good, he commands high ticket prices.
In just one year of touring, he made 58 million dollars. Collins is also involved with a surprising number of women’s clothing companies, cosmetic companies, and even designed his own perfume for women.
Collins is known for being one of the most technically savvy drummers in the world. His crossovers and ability to do a double bass while playing the high hat fascinate drummers everywhere.
14. Pink—$200 Millions
Pink is a big draw at the concert arenas. Her 2019 concert was the highest drawing act of 2019 and grossed some 215 million dollars! Pink has a net worth of $200 million.
She sells records like crazy, having sold 90 million records in her lifetime worldwide. Like J-Lo she rakes in a hefty 45 million a year doing endorsements for companies like T-Mobile, CoverGirl, Volkswagen and more.
15. Backstreet Boys—$200 Millions
The Backstreet Boys hadn’t been on a highest paid list since 2002, but their new world tour raked in a heft7 $45 million dollars and sold over a million tickets. Their most recent album, DNA (2019) hit number one on the Billboard charts.
They hadn’t hit number one on any chart since back when George Bush Jr. was just moving into the White House and Clinton was vacating it. Now that’s quite a hiatus!
16. Ed Sheeran—$200 Millions
Ed Sheeran is a multi-faceted artist – actor, singer, songwriter, and producer. He learned guitar at a very young age and credited Van Morrison with being his earliest inspiration. When he had the opportunity to sing on Taylor Swift’s album Red in 2004, his career really gained momentum.
His first album, The Orange Room, was released in 2005. He went on to release two more, a self-titled album in 2006 and Want Some in 2007. More recently, Sheeran has been working on an album of collaborations with other artists, from Justin Bieber to Bruno Mars.
17. Ariana Grande—$180 Millions
With all of her many talents and obvious smarts, you almost forget to say anything about how beautiful she is. Ariana Grande’s star ascended so quickly that a lot of people had no idea who she was even though she had already achieved stardom. She was literally an overnight sensation at 13.
In fact, Ariana Grande made a cool $146,400,000 from her 2019 Sweetener tour alone. She also holds the current honor of being the highest-paid female star on the 2020 Celebrity 100. Ariana just got an offer for $20 to $25 million a year to be a judge on The Voice.
Ariana has achieved just as much fame with her strong social presence on social media sites Instagram, Spotify, and YouTube. In 2021, she released a full greatest hits album. Still young – only 28 years old – she has already accumulated a net worth of $180,000.000.
18. Drake—$150 Millions
Drake is one of our most energetic and philanthropic rappers and artists. He is always giving back to the people and the less fortunate. In 2020, Drake released a greatest hits album and then in 2021 he released Certified Lover Boy.
His song “God’s Plan” shows him giving all the money he made from the video to the people in the new version of the video. He won a Grammy for that song. Drake was just named the Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine.
19. J. Lo—$150 Millions
Jenny from the Block still knows how to draw them to the box office… and the concert hall as well. Whether she’s singing, dancing, or acting, she is a master performer. One of her first movies was Selena (1997), in which she played the lead role.
In movies, she holds her own quite expertly with stars like George Clooney in the movie Out of Sight, which the critics really loved her performance in. She also starred in movies such as Maid in Manhattan (2002), Jersey Girl (1992), Gigli (2003), and many more.
In 2019, she grossed some $55 million dollars doing Vegas shows. Now, Lopez has residence in Las Vegas. But a lot of Ms. Lopez’ millions come from the many endorsements she does for everyone from Versace to discount shoe manufacturer DSW.
20. The Jonas Brothers—$150 Millions
The Jonas Brothers – Nick, Joe, and Kevin – have always been known for their handsome looks and their upbeat music, with happy, optimistic lyrics. The trio started out together on Disney and then became a boy band in 2005. They were hugely popular.
The brothers started making albums that year and also started partnering with Disney. They did many soundtracks for Disney. By the time they released their third album, A Little Bit Longer (2008), the album debuted at number one.
In 2008, the Jonas brothers just released their first album together in 6 years. Each brother gets a third of that net worth, to the tune of $50 million apiece.