Detailed Pedia

Forbes list of highest-earning musicians

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. Most of the lists were estimated within a June-to-June scoring period, except for 1999, 2000, and 2021 when a calendar year period was used instead.

Highest-earning musicians by year

Key
*
Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Top 40 list of the respective year
^
Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the respective year
U2 have become the annual highest-earning musicians five times, more than any other act.
Top-earning musicians of the year
Year Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 Bruce Springsteen United States $56 million $134 million
1988 Michael Jackson * United States $97 million $222 million
1989 Michael Jackson * United States $125 million $273 million
1990 Michael Jackson United States $100 million $207 million
1991 New Kids on the Block * United States $115 million $229 million
1992 New Kids on the Block United States $62 million $120 million
1993 Guns N' Roses United States $53 million $99 million
1994 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $62 million $113 million
1995 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $231 million
1996 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $225 million
1997 The Beatles United Kingdom $98 million $165 million
1998 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $57 million $95 million
1999 Backstreet Boys United States $60 million $98 million
2001 The Beatles United Kingdom $70 million $107 million
2002 U2 Ireland $69 million $104 million
2003 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $66.5 million $98 million
2004 Bruce Springsteen United States $64 million $92 million
2005 Madonna United States $50 million $69 million
2006 U2 Ireland $110 million $148 million
2007 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $110 million $144 million
2008 The Police United Kingdom $115 million $145 million
2009 Madonna United States $110 million $139 million
2010 U2 Ireland $130 million $162 million
2011 U2 Ireland $195 million $235 million
2012 Dr. Dre United States $110 million $130 million
2013 Madonna United States $125 million $145 million
2014 Dr. Dre United States $620 million $710 million
2015 Katy Perry United States $135 million $154 million
2016 Taylor Swift ^ United States $170 million $192 million
2017 Diddy ^ United States $130 million $144 million
2018 U2 Ireland $118 million $127 million
2019 Taylor Swift ^ United States $185 million $196 million
2020 Kanye West United States $170 million $178 million
2021 Bruce Springsteen United States $435 million $435 million

Group

Top-earning music groups of the year
Year Music group Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 U2 Ireland $37 million $88 million
1988 U2 Ireland $42 million $96 million
1989 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $56 million $122 million
1990 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $88 million $183 million
1991 New Kids on the Block * United States $115 million $229 million
1992 New Kids on the Block United States $62 million $120 million
1993 Guns N' Roses United States $53 million $99 million
1994 Pink Floyd United Kingdom $62 million $113 million
1995 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $231 million
1996 The Beatles United Kingdom $130 million $225 million
1997 The Beatles United Kingdom $98 million $165 million
1998 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $57 million $95 million
1999 Backstreet Boys United States $60 million $98 million
2001 The Beatles United Kingdom $70 million $107 million
2002 U2 Ireland $69 million $104 million
2003 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $66.5 million $98 million
2004 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $51 million $73 million
2005 Eagles United States $45 million $62 million
2006 U2 Ireland $110 million $148 million
2007 The Rolling Stones United Kingdom $110 million $144 million
2008 The Police United Kingdom $115 million $145 million
2009 Rascal Flatts United States $60 million $76 million
2010 U2 Ireland $130 million $162 million
2011 U2 Ireland $195 million $235 million
2012 U2 Ireland $78 million $92 million
2013 Bon Jovi United States $79 million $92 million
2014 Eagles United States $100 million $114 million
2015 One Direction United Kingdom / Ireland $130 million $149 million
2016 One Direction United Kingdom / Ireland $110 million $124 million
2017 Coldplay United Kingdom $88 million $97 million
2018 U2 Ireland $118 million $127 million
2019 Eagles United States $100 million $106 million
2020 Jonas Brothers United States $68.5 million $72 million
2021 Red Hot Chili Peppers United States $116 million $116 million

Male

Michael Jackson has become the annual highest-earning male solo artist a record 7 times throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
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 $134 million
1988 Michael Jackson * United States $97 million $222 million
1989 Michael Jackson * United States $125 million $273 million
1990 Michael Jackson United States $100 million $207 million
1991 Michael Jackson United States $60 million $119 million
1992 Michael Jackson United States $51 million $98 million
1993 Prince United States $49 million $92 million
1994 Garth Brooks United States $41 million $75 million
1995 Michael Jackson United States $67 million $119 million
1996 Michael Jackson United States $90 million $155 million
1997 David Bowie United Kingdom $63 million $106 million
1998 Master P United States $56.5 million $94 million
1999 Lou Bega Germany $6 million $10 million
2001 Dr. Dre United States $35 million $54 million
2002 Elton John United Kingdom $30 million $45 million
2003 Paul McCartney United Kingdom $59 million $87 million
2004 Bruce Springsteen United States $64 million $92 million
2005 Prince United States $49.7 million $69 million
2006 Bruce Springsteen United States $55 million $74 million
2007 Elton John United Kingdom $53 million $69 million
2008 Toby Keith United States $48 million $60 million
2009 Bruce Springsteen United States $70 million $88 million
2010 Bruce Springsteen United States $70 million $87 million
2011 Elton John United Kingdom $100 million $120 million
2012 Dr. Dre United States $110 million $130 million
2013 Toby Keith United States $65 million $76 million
2014 Dr. Dre United States $620 million $710 million
2015 Garth Brooks United States $90 million $103 million
2016 Garth Brooks United States $70 million $79 million
2017 Diddy ^ United States $130 million $144 million
2018 Ed Sheeran United Kingdom $110 million $119 million
2019 Kanye West United States $150 million $159 million
2020 Kanye West United States $170 million $178 million
2021 Bruce Springsteen United States $435 million $435 million

Female

Madonna has become the annual highest-earning female artist a record 11 times across the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.
Top-earning female musicians of the year
Year Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
Ref.
1987 Madonna United States $47 million $112 million
1988 Madonna United States $46 million $105 million
1989 Madonna United States $43 million $94 million
1990 Madonna United States $62 million $129 million
1991 Madonna United States $63 million $125 million
1992 Madonna United States $48 million $93 million
1993 Madonna United States $37 million $69 million
1994 Barbra Streisand United States $57 million $104 million
1995 Barbra Streisand United States $63 million $112 million
1996 Mariah Carey United States $32 million $55 million
1997 Celine Dion Canada $65 million $110 million
1998 Celine Dion Canada $55.5 million $92 million
1999 Shania Twain Canada $48 million $78 million
2001 Britney Spears United States $38.5 million $59 million
2002 Mariah Carey United States $58 million $87 million
2003 Cher United States $33.1 million $49 million
2004 Celine Dion Canada $28 million $40 million
2005 Madonna United States $50 million $69 million
2006 Celine Dion Canada $40 million $54 million
2007 Madonna United States $72 million $94 million
2008 Beyoncé United States $80 million $101 million
2009 Madonna United States $110 million $139 million
2010 Beyoncé United States $87 million $108 million
2011 Lady Gaga ^ United States $90 million $108 million
2012 Britney Spears United States $58 million $68 million
2013 Madonna United States $125 million $145 million
2014 Beyoncé ^ United States $115 million $132 million
2015 Katy Perry United States $135 million $154 million
2016 Taylor Swift ^ United States $170 million $192 million
2017 Beyoncé United States $105 million $116 million
2018 Katy Perry United States $83 million $90 million
2019 Taylor Swift ^ United States $185 million $196 million
2020 Ariana Grande United States $72 million $75 million
2021 Taylor Swift United States $52 million $52 million

Highest-earning musicians by decade

2010s

Dr. Dre became the highest-earning musician of the 2010s decade.
Top 10 highest-earning musicians of the 2010s decade
Rank Musician Nationality Earnings Adjusted earnings
(in 2022 dollar)
1 Dr. Dre United States $950 million $1,007 million
2 Taylor Swift United States $825 million $874 million
3 Beyoncé United States $685 million $726 million
4 U2 Ireland $675 million $715 million
5 Diddy United States $605 million $641 million
6 Elton John United Kingdom $565 million $599 million
7 Jay-Z United States $560 million $594 million
8 Paul McCartney United Kingdom $535 million $567 million
9 Katy Perry United States $530 million $562 million
10 Lady Gaga United States $500 million $530 million

Historical achievements

Michael Jackson is the first musician to earn over $100 million in a year (1989). He also has the most appearances in the top among male musicians, with 7 during his life, followed by Bruce Springsteen with 6 as of 2021. In 2016, the Michael Jackson Estate earned at $825million, the largest annual gain for an entertainer, living or dead. In 2020, Forbes recognized Jackson as the top-earning dead celebrity each year since his death except 2012.

Madonna is the first female musician to earn $100 million in a year (2009), as well the first to earn it twice (2009 and 2013) followed by Beyoncé (2014 and 2017) and Taylor Swift (2016 and 2019). Madonna also has the most years at the top (11 times), and the only one among woman in various consecutives years (1987–1993) as well decades (1980s–2010s).

As of 2019, Taylor Swift is 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).


This page was last updated at 2022-08-18 23:51 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Contact

Top