Being a millionaire/billionaire and doing what you love doing are two dreams coming true at possibly the same time. These super wealthy rock stars and musicians are a living example of that. The amount of passion and hard work they put into their work led them to accomplish what they achieved. You can easily guess the wealthiest living musicians, but how do they stack up to the richest musicians ever? It helps to emerge at the right time, with the early '70s or the mid- to late-'90s, being the best times because the industry was at its largest. Making shrewd investments, capitalizing on one's own brand and working across different media platforms were other ways to earn some serious bucks.
Many of these fortunes were gotten in the music industry, through album sales, royalties, and record deals. However, we discovered that a huge chunk of their money came from tours, with most raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from just ticket sales. Bono and U2 hold the record for the highest grossing tour; their 360 tour garnering $800 million between 2009 and 2011.
Other artists, like Jay-Z, P. Diddy, and Dr. Dre supplemented their income by making shrewd business deals, creating high end and high selling products and getting endorsements from some of the biggest names in the market.
Here, are 20 singers from the 90s era that are worth some serious money right now:
20 Bono - $700 million
The lead singer of U2 (and his sunglasses) is one of the most recognized faces in the music industry and had a net worth $700 million as of May 2017. U2 has sold more than 150 million records globally and taken home 22 Grammy Awards. The Irish musician is also managing director and co-founder of private equity firm Elevation Partners, and the band owns most of its music catalog.
His investment in Facebook's IPO didn't make him a billionaire, but U2's "360 Tour" grossed nearly $800 million between 2009 and 2011, making it the biggest tour ever. Combine that with Bono's many investments which include a clothing line and a five-star hotel, and the numbers add up quickly. (Source: Popdust)
19 P. Diddy - $820 million
Sean Combs has gone through many stage names during his music career, but that hasn't impacted his earnings power. Combs, 48, has an estimated net worth of $820 million as of2017. Partly known for shepherding the Notorious B.I.G. through his tragically short career, Combs played a key role ushering in hip-hop's late-1990s "jiggy" era via Bad Boy Entertainment.
He also developed a clothing line with appeal beyond rap, to the tune of more than $100 million in annual profits. The Harlem-born rapper turned entrepreneur is involved in many different business ventures off the stage, including recently-launched music cable network Revolt TV and a strategic alliance with Ciroc vodka. (Source: Forbes)
18 Mariah Carey - $300 million
Mariah Carey has been a major player on the pop charts for more than two decades, and now has an estimated net worth of $300 million. Her stats are the stuff of legend: an all-time record 18 #1 singles as a solo artist, has won five Grammy Awards, numerous American Music Awards, and more than 200 million albums sold worldwide. She was also a judge on the TV show American Idol which helped her elevate her net worth.
Carey's been banking off that five-octave range since Nicki Minaj was actually playing with Barbies. She has not been a major hit in the recent years but this has not hurt her pocket in any way. (Source: CelebrityNetWorth)
17 Jay-Z - $810 million
He might have 99 problems – but an empty bank account isn't one. Jay-Z, 48, has a net worth of around $810 million. The 19 Grammy-Award winning rapper is involved in many business ventures and is the founder of entertainment company Roc Nation and the majority owner of 40/40 clubs.
The hip-hop mogul co-founded Rocawear in 1999 and sold the rights to the clothing brand in 2007 for $204 million. He also owns music streaming service Tidal which is reportedly valued at $600 million. So what if he doesn't have the biggest stake in the Brooklyn Nets, he owns a share of the Barclays Center and that is even better. (Source: Forbes)
16 Beyoncé - $355 million
At 36, the singer and actress has an estimated net worth of $355 million. The 2016 Super Bowl halftime performer has racked up a fortune (independently of her husband) leading the 16-times platinum Destiny's Child, selling 75 million solo albums and successful tours; her Formation tour in 2016 grossed $256 million. She has struck endorsement deals with Vizio, L'Oreal, and in 2012, a $50 million affiliation with Pepsi that didn't go over as well as she'd hoped.
Her self-titled album "Beyoncé" dropped in December 2013 with almost no publicity and broke iTunes records with more than 800,000 albums sold in just its first three days. She has also founded Parkwood Entertainment, an entertainment and management company, in 2008. (Source: Forbes)
15 Garth Brooks - $330 million
The Oklahoman ex-bouncer and hands-free mic connoisseur is also the biggest selling albums artist in the Soundscan era. His records No Fences and Ropin' the Wind are 31 times Platinum. The estimated net worth of Garth Brooks is approximately $330 million.
His main source of income has been his earnings from his contribution to the world of country music. According to the reports, Garth made almost $90 million a year. After retiring for most of the 2000s (the only real option after the Chris Gaines debacle), he's been delighting Las Vegas tourists for the past few years with a stripped-down, acoustic version of what made him famous. (Source: CelebrityNetWorth)
14 Sir Elton John - $400 million
The "Rocket Man" is a money-making machine and has an estimated net worth of $400 million. This is thanks to a music career spanning more than four decades and his recent performances on stage in Las Vegas. He is also receiving royalty checks for writing music for The Lion King and is considered one of the most successful male solo artists of all time.
In 2011, Elton John, 71, formed a new music company called the Rocket Music Entertainment Group and the following year he launched Rocket Sports Management. He has also stood out largely, due to his thrifty spending habits. When you're known to drop £9.6m on property and £293,000 on flowers (flowers!) in less than two years, it helps to have a pile of money as large as your personality. (Source: TheTimes)
13 Pharrell Williams - $150 million
Pharrell Williams’s net worth is estimated to be about $150 million. Pharrell Williams has made much of his fortune in the music business as a singer, songwriter, and producer. In 2010 Pharrell was chosen to put together the soundtrack to the Despicable Me movie. The song, Happy became a worldwide sensation. He was later chosen to work on the music for Despicable Me 2.
In addition to his musical pursuits, Pharrell is an established businessman. He launched a multimedia creative collection-record label called i am OTHER. He has also benefited financially from his fashion lines as well as one-time and ongoing collaborations with other brands like Louis Vuitton, G-Star Raw, and Uniqlo. (Source: CelebrityNetWorth)
12 Sting - $300 million
From spiky-haired punk Police-man to middle-of-the-road Starbucks background music, Sting (born Gordon Sumner) has churned out a considerable array of hits. The five platinum albums he oversaw as the leader of the Police were followed by a yuppie-beloved solo career netting the ex-schoolteacher sales of 14 million more.
He is estimated to earn $2,000 a day just from royalties on radio play of songs he's written. The reunion gigs with his old mates in 2007-2008 constituted the seventh-highest grossing tour of all time, pulling in $400 million. At some point, he was so rich that his accountant stole £6 million from him, and it took him four years to notice. He is currently worth about $300 million. (Source: Independent)
11 Dr. Dre - $740 million
With a net worth of $740 million as of the Forbes wealthiest rappers list of 2017, no one will forget about Dr. Dre. The 53-year-old rapper and producer made his solo debut in 1992, selling 10 million copies of The Chronic and Aftermath. He is also the founder of Beats Electronics and Aftermath Entertainment.
Beats by Dre are the omnipresent, expensive, and exceedingly bass-friendly commodity that turned branded headphones into something that rappers could ask their business managers about. It is reported that he sold the high-end headphone company to Apple (AAPL) back in 2015 for a whopping $3 billion. (Source: Forbes)
10 50 Cent - $155 million
Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson got Eminem's attention with a 2002 mixtape and got him signed to Aftermath Entertainment, and Interscope Records. He went on to sell 872,000 copies of his album Get Rich or Die Tryin' the next year. The album is now is now eight-times platinum. His album sales may have declined in the last decade, but his business ventures have grown.
He also has three platinum records and one gold. And he knows how to hedge his bets: There's the $100 million dollar Vitamin Water payout, the video game, the headphone line, the Ecko-affiliated clothing line that brought in $60 million in 2006 alone. He is also the executive producer of the hit series Power. He is estimated to be worth about $155 million. (Source: Forbes)
9 Michael Jackson - $825 million
The King of Pop – rest his soul – was, and still is one of the most lucrative acts of all time. At the peak of his career, which was literally his entire career, he was earning $50 million a year. This was all through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1985, he already had one of the biggest-selling albums ever – Thriller – which sold 66 million copies worldwide, a series of incredibly lucrative tours, and a record $5 million deal with Pepsi (worth $11 million today) to his name.
In spite of some of the questionable investments which he made later on which drove him into debt, he still stood firm even after demise, his estate raking in $825 million in 2017.
8 Lars Ulrich - 175 Million
Lars Ulrich is the wealthiest member of the heavy metal band, Metallica, even though he was mostly known for his role as the band’s very outspoken drummer – that lawsuit against Napster – and founding member. Metallica entered the mainstream rock scene with their self-titled album in 1991 with the album selling over 30 million copies worldwide.
Lars Ulrich derives most of his wealth from his role within the band of handling all the merchandising and image-related issues. While the band's tours continue to be blockbusters as expected, album sales of Metallica's back catalog have been amazingly consistent over the years.
7 Phil Collins - $260 million
For very long we knew him as a member of the Genesis band, always a step behind the frontman Peter Gabriel. However, Phil was able to step out of Gabriel’s shadow and make a name for himself with his piercing and unique voice. Collins took the band to chart-topping heights and then launched an even more successful solo career that may have peaked in the 1990s but never really lost its luster.
He's laid low over the past few years, but has just written an autobiography and seems like he's poised to make a musical comeback. He is currently estimated to be worth $260 million. (Source: CelebrityNetWorth)
6 Dave Grohl - $280 million
With a net worth of $280 million dollars, Dave Grohl is regarded as one of the most successful musicians in the rock genre. He first gained fame by being the drummer of Nirvana. To be honest, Grohl would be set for life simply from the royalties from being the drummer in Nirvana.
However, in 1994, Dave Grohl recorded an album entitled "Foo Fighters" and formed a band of the same name in which he played rhythm guitar and sang lead vocals. This subsequent role as frontman of Foo Fighters that continues to bring in the dough; and the Foo Fighters tours are consistently among the highest-grossing each year.
5 Bon Jovi - $410 million
As the primary songwriter for Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi has penned a mountain of hits, and the band continues to be a high-drawing touring act. Personally, Jon Bon Jovi has also nurtured a lucrative side gig as an actor – appearing in TV's Ally McBeal and such films as U-571 and Pay It Forward.
He's also made some shrewd real estate investments, including a SoHo condo in NYC and his New Jersey mansion, each of which is worth about $22 million. All this plus having spent decades on the road, he was estimated to be worth around $410 million in 2016. (Source: Forbes)
4 Janet Jackson - $175 million
Janet Jackson has long been a musical icon. Janet Jackson songs like “Together Again” and “If” have been heating up the Billboard charts for decades, earning the famed singer millions. With numerous hit records under her belt, it’s no surprise Jackson’s net worth is $175 million.
Like Barbra Streisand and Bruce Springsteen, Jackson has the honor of having No. 1 albums in each of the past four decades. Seven Janet Jackson albums have reached the top spot on the Billboard charts. Over the course of her lifetime, Janet has raked in $81 million from music and book publishing, $260 million in album sales and $458 million from touring. (Source: GoBankingRates)
3 Madonna - $590 million
With more than three decades in the music world, Madge has sold 300 million records and counting and has amassed a net worth of $590 million, according to Forbes. Most of this money has come from album sales, her tours, and lucrative endorsements. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has signed many lucrative contracts, including one worth $120 million with Live Nation.
It’s been two years since the end of her last tour and three since her last album, Rebel Heart, but the Material Girl can afford to take a break. The singer, songwriter, and actress is notoriously close-lipped when it comes to her business ventures, but has endeavors in the world of fashion, children's books and movie directing.
2 Celine Dion - $430 million
Isn’t it true that when we think of Celine Dion, the movie Titanic is the first to come to mind? Maybe it is because her highest selling record My Heart Will Go On was used as official the soundtrack for the blockbuster hit. Celine was an icon in the 90s and early 2000s, belting out ballad after ballad.
To this day, the Canadian singer is best known for being one of the very best when it comes to love songs and is worth an estimated $430 million. Dion, 46, signed a hefty contract to perform in Las Vegas until 2019 and has been named the most profitable act in Vegas. (Source: Forbes)
What would the RnB universe be like without the nifty feet and soulful voice of Usher Raymond IV. Usher initially gained recognition when he released his first self-titled album in 1994. His second album spawned his first U.S Billboard Hot 100 achievement. Usher has produced a large number of albums and songs throughout his career and he is known for being one of the best R&B singers in the 21st century.
Usher's side projects include US Records, which he established, co-ownership of professional basketball team the Cleveland Cavaliers, and founding New Look, a non-profit organization. As of 2018, Usher’s net worth is roughly $180 million dollars. (Source: CelebrityNetWorth)