It can take a lifetime in any profession to reach over a million dollars in earnings. However, women have no trouble dominating the music industry where talent goes a very long way to beefing up bank accounts.
Music is one of the most consumed forms of entertainment in the world. Whether it is physical albums, digital downloads, or live concerts, musicians are in a special position to make millions of dollars per year while doing what they love and attracting a legion of loyal fans. Although the problem of pirating music continues to grow, the industry’s most enterprising female stars have found a range of ways to use their talents and their profile to their advantage, raking in millions upon millions each year.
It’s not as easy as writing a few songs and crossing your fingers for good luck. It takes a tremendous amount of talent, skill, and dedication to reach double-digit millions, and maintain that level of income year after year. The millions come from more than album sales and shows. They are generated from brand endorsements, public appearances, and the sale of general merchandise. Successful musicians, including women, must effectively brand themselves and create an appealing franchise around them in order to stay relevant and keep the money flowing in.
The following list of the top-earning female musicians of 2014 is a good lesson for aspiring musicians and entertainers: Never quit. It’s a long and hard journey to the top, but you’re likely to have a long and lucrative career if you hit the big time. We can almost guarantee these women would say the same thing. These are the highest-earning female singers in 2014, ranked by their 2014 earnings according to Forbes.
10. Britney Spears – $20 Million
Britney Spears was once the biggest pop star in North America before a series of unfortunate events led her into a tail spin. It might have been the unrelenting success or the overbearing paparazzi that caused Spears to take a break from the limelight. Still, she continues to release albums, including her latest, Britney Jean, and plays live shows. Her current residency in Las Vegas pays out a healthy $350,000 per concert and there is word that this figure may be increased to half a million per night.
9. Lady Gaga – $33 Million
Fashion guru and singer Lady Gaga hasn’t earned as much this year as she did in 2009 when she peaked at $90 million, but she is still far from being broke. Her latest album, Artpop, didn’t do as well as her other chart-topping albums, but she still remains one of the most relevant pop idols in the world, and certainly in the United States. This year she grossed $33 million through album sales and live gigs.
8. Celine Dion – $36 Million
Quebec-born music legend Celine Dion took the world by storm not only with her best-selling albums, but as the voice behind the main song of the movie Titanic — the highest-grossing film ever made at the time. Today she has taken a permanent residency in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. Between her shows in Las Vegas, Europe, and Canada, she is still one of the most successful and wealthy female performers in the world and earned $36 million in 2014.
7. Miley Cyrus – $36 Million
From Disney stardom to pop-culture debauchery, Miley Cyrus has grown up in the spotlight, turning from the girl next to door to urban badass. Who knew twerking could cause such a controversy? Either way, she is not one to shy away from the attention and the fans it attracts to her music. Her latest album, Bangerz, is certified platinum and she is as in-demand as ever for live shows. In 2014, she earned $36 million.
6. Jennifer Lopez – $37 Million
As a Hollywood actress, dancer, and singer, Jennifer Lopez has done it all. She is also a reality television star with her work this year as a judge on American Idol. She launched her newest album, A.K.A., while working on the show. Her song, “We Are One”, was the official song of the World Cup — one of the biggest sporting events in the world. That kind of world-wide attention has earned her $37 million in 2014.
5. Katy Perry – $40 Million
It’s hard to go anywhere without hearing a song performed by Katy Perry. Her pop-dance albums and sexy videos have caught the attention of fans across the globe. Despite playing only 20 public concerts in 2014, she is the fifth highest-earning female musician in the world today (though her paid endorsements for CoverGirl might have a lot to do with that). She also makes a considerable sum playing private events and parties. Altogether, Perry has made $40 million in 2014.
4. Rihanna – $48 Million
Rihanna is relatively new to the pop world in comparison to most of the other female musicians on this list. Nonetheless, she has made more than a name for herself with her top-selling albums throughout the last 5 years. Only 26-years old, she has released at least three number one hits and is one of the most active social media users when compared to her peers. In 2014, she earned a very healthy $48 million.
3. Pink – $52 Million
Pink has been writing and performing music for at least a decade. She has also left and reentered the spotlight on multiple occasions. But 2014 was such a big year for Pink she managed to take in about $1 million per concert. She may not be as recognized these days as other musicians on this list, but she is going as strong as ever. In 2014, the megastar grossed a total of $52 million.
2. Taylor Swift – $64 Million
Taylor Swift got her start in the country music scene, but thanks to her popular music, she has risen to be an almost unrivalled pop diva, second only to the Queen who tops our list.
Swifty has sold millions of albums and performed countless concerts throughout her career, but 2014 has been her best year for profits. Her albums and concerts, plus some major endorsements for Diet Coke and CoverGirl, have earned Swift $64 million.
1. Beyonce – $115 Million
Not only is Queen Bey and her marriage to Jay-Z the focus of the world’s media spotlight, she’s also the top-earning woman in music in 2014 and has been listed as one of the most powerful women in the world.
With a massive tour in 2014 (playing about 95 concerts), she was able to make roughly $2.4 million per city. Despite very little marketing, her self-titled album, Beyonce, has made it to the top of 2014’s best-selling albums. This year Beyonce earned a massive $115 million.