Gender issues being what they are, women have always struggled to gain equal footing in the workplace. One area where women have often had some success in equality is in the entertainment business. Musicians and actresses have been pulling in large paydays for some time now – and some of them have become very, very rich. In many instances female musicians have surpassed men in regards to raw wealth. Oddly enough it seems that the most successful female singers are those that become multi-faceted. They become actresses, models, spokeswomen and business women. They use the fame they earn to propel them into new ventures. Here are ten of the richest female rock stars of all time.
10) Janet Jackson — Net Worth: $160 million
Michael’s little sister has done pretty well for herself. Janet became famous singing with the Jacksons but she emerged as a solo artist and her career quickly took off. Her sexually charged music featured a mix of pop and rock and her live performances often included extensive dance routines. She’s believed to be worth at least $160 million. Her career has spanned several decades and her popularity has only increased over the years. She’s acted in several movies, and still tours to support her music.
9) Mariah Carey — Net Worth: $250 million
Mariah built her career on love songs and power ballads. Her first album, Mariah Carey, went multiplatinum and spawned a series of hits that climbed to number one on the Billboard Music charts. Mariah became so popular that during the mid-1990s she was Columbia Records’ best-selling act. She toured (and continues to tour) extensively and released album after album which shattered records. She’s appeared in nine movies, several times as herself. While most of her performances were rather bland (or just downright bad) she did earn national acclaim for her role in the movie Precious. To date Mariah is worth roughly $250 million. She remains as popular today as she was when she first came onto the music scene in 1990.
8) Tina Turner — Net Worth: $350 million
She hasn’t released a studio album since 1999, but her hits have been re-released several times since the height of her fame. Tina Turner suffered through an ugly marriage to Ike Turner, tried to commit suicide by swallowing valium, and faced numerous personal issues. Despite it all she skyrocketed to success in the 1980s and her albums and tours earned her acclaim – and a lot of money. Tina Turner has an estimated worth of $350 million, and if sales of her compilation albums are any indication she remains as popular as ever. Most of her wealth comes from music, but she’s also a best-selling author and has appeared in a movie as an actress. She’s called the Queen of Rock and Roll for good reason.
7) Beyoncé — Net Worth: $390 million
Beyoncé broke free of her first group Destiny’s Child and become a best-selling solo artist. She’s acted in numerous roles on film and married Jay-Z. In 2013 Beyoncé’s net worth was an estimated $390 million and quickly growing. In addition to being a musician and actress Beyoncé is a political activist, songwriter, spokesperson and fashion designer. Like many women on this list she’s broken free from the role of singer/songwriter and is active in a variety of other mediums. Beyoncé is also known for her philanthropy. She participated in the fund raising for assisting after the Haiti disaster, is an ambassador for World Humanitarian Day, and supports numerous charities.
6) Ayumi Hamasaki — Net Worth: $400 million
Ayumi is a Japanese singer, model, songwriter and actress, even though she’s not well-known in the Western world. She’s been dubbed the Empress of J-Pop and she’s worth a lot of money. Like Lady Gaga, Ayumi is constantly modifying and adapting her image. She controls her image and brand with an iron fist and is always conscious of what’s she doing and wearing. Her style choices have started fashion trends in Japan. She’s experienced her share of popularity and a subsequent decline in the mid-2000s before soaring in popularity again. Her performances are lavish and a great spectacle. She’s released a steady set of albums since 1999. All told she’s worth roughly $400 million.
5) Cher — Net Worth: $450 million
Cher rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s as part of the music duo Sonny and Cher. The two sang together, then dated, then married. Eventually Cher moved on to a solo career where she experienced monumental success – and not just in music. Cher has acted in numerous movies and television shows and had her own variety show. She’s won awards for her acting and singing and has been a staple in the music industry since the 1960s. Few women can boast the success Cher has had. In addition to the fame, Cher is an activist, particularly active in the gay and transgender community – largely in part because of her son Chaz Bono. She is estimated to be worth $450 million. Not bad, not bad at all.
4) Britney Spears — Net Worth: $500 million
How popular is Britney Spears? She’s consistently sold millions of albums since her debut in 1999. She’s been a spokeswoman for Pepsi, Sketchers, Sony, and Hasbro. She’s released products in conjunction with Sony and Hasbro and she’s created a line of beauty products and perfumes which absolutely shattered sales records. Parts of her life were supposedly the inspiration for the film Country Strong. Even though she’s not that old (33) she’s been cited as an influence for a new generation of singers. Spears is a product of the pop-music machine and her sexuality, music, and good looks have propelled her to fame and fortune. Spears is worth $500 million.
3) Celine Dion — Net Worth: $600 million
The Canadian singer has belted out throat-tingling hits since the 1980s. Her music has appeared in numerous films and she’s largely considered a love-ballad singer. Apparently that sells quite well. Celine Dion is worth in excess of $600 million – most of it earned by her popular music and extensive tours. Celine had a long-running Vegas show, has endorsed numerous products, and owns an artist management company with her husband. In addition to all her fame her albums have been released in French since 2012 and proven to be extremely popular among French speaking fans.
2) Barbra Streisand — Net Worth: $650 million
Before there was Madonna, Mariah, Beyoncé, there was Streisand. While many have tried, no one comes close to the body of work she’s produced in her lifetime. And she’s one of the richest singers – male or female, in the world. She’s a singer-songwriter, actress, author, producer and director. Streisand has won Emmy’s, Tony’s, Grammy’s, Academy Awards, and Daytime Emmy’s – and it all began in the 1960s when she burst onto the music scene as a recording artist. Her music has influenced multiple generations. She’s recorded fifty (yes, fifty) studio albums, sang with some of the brightest singers, and performed on film and TV specials. All of it adds up to quite a lot of money. Despite her extensive philanthropy Streisand’s fortune is an estimated $650 million.
1) Madonna — Net Worth: $1.1 billion
It should come as no surprise that Madonna tops this list. Madonna forged a path for younger singers like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears by breaking down many of the barriers working against a powerful, sexual and outspoken singer/songwriter who controls her own fate. She pushed boundaries, created controversy, and sang about topics that were often uncomfortable to others. All along she consciously worked to build her brand and become not only a successful singer but also a business woman. Her success has spanned over thirty years. Madonna has appeared in numerous movies, often in leading roles. It’s believed that Madonna is worth roughly $1.1 billion – a surprising number for a woman who has only released 12 studio albums during the entirety of her music career.