The intricacies of the entertainment business have always been complicated, especially for those pursuing a career in music. Being gifted has never ensured a lucrative career. Just the same, becoming famous has never sealed one’s financial fate. Those who do find financial success in music often attribute their riches to solid agreements, smart money moves, and the ability to stay relevant in the industry. Many musicians lend their vocal and songwriting talents to other forms of entertainment, such as film, television, and theater work. It’s no wonder that these names are already making an appearance on this year’s highest-paid musicians.
10 Travis Scott ($58M)
The rapper’s 3rd studio release premiered at number one on the charts. It took the album no time to become certified gold. The subsequent tour grossed close to $65 million, more than half of which was grossed in the tour’s first quarter. Scott also collects an income as a songwriter, producer and from collaborating with his famous peers.
He is even credited with penning a song for a Game of Thrones. In twelve months, from 2018 to 2019, Travis Scott earned $60 million. Aside from his musical career, he has signed his name to many lucrative endorsements deals, including one with Nike.
9 Metallica ($68.5M)
Formed in 1981, this heavy metal band was widely known in the underground scene for a decade before its self-named album made a name for them in the public eye. Known predominantly for thrash metal along with others such as Slayer and Megadeth.
However, their fifth album was more heavy metal and put them in the public mainstream. They were instrumental in the fight against online music streaming company Napster for releasing copyrighted music without band permission. In the last three years, touring around the world has helped them gross more than a quarter of a million dollars. The legendary band is still churning out chart-topping hits, nearly four decades later.
8 Sean Combs ($70M)
Sean Combs got his start as an underling at a New York record label before starting his label, Bad Boy Entertainment, in the early ’90s. As a musician, he wears many hats: vocalist, writer, producer, and executive. He was instrumental in the success of several other musical artists.
He is also a businessman with some acting roles under his belt. Thanks to the growing popularity of streaming services, “Diddy” (as he is commonly known), is still reaping the financial rewards of his many musical masterpieces. He's credited on over 250 songs. After a decline in sales in recent years, his popular vodka and tequila brands are regaining their footing.
7 Drake ($75M)
Although he got his start as an actor, Aubrey Drake Graham has made quite a name for himself in the world of music. With a number one debuting double album, a cooperative tour that grossed nearly $80 million and a Las Vegas residency listed on his resume, it seems Drake has found the winning recipe for cash flow continuity.
In addition to his music, Drake makes a killing as a songwriter and producer for some of the biggest names in music. Drake is credited with writing more than 325 songs, including all but two of the songs on his eight studio releases.
6 Beyoncé ($81M)
It seems that anything she tries her hand at succeeds. Beyoncé’s joint tour with her husband grossed an estimated $5 million, earning her more than a quarter-million dollars. Signing an exclusive, three-project deal with a popular streaming service, she morphed her historical, headlining Coachella performance into the first visual installment of her $60 million agreement.
Of course, the back catalog that she helped create as part of Destiny’s Child is still paying off. Beyoncé showed her acting chops and vocal prowess to the Disney remake of The Lion King. Her decision to reintroduce her signature fashion line through Adidas stands to be profitable.
5 Jay-Z ($81M)
Jay-Z‘s On the Run II tour earnings with his beloved wife, Beyoncé, is already common knowledge. Throughout his music career, he has released 13 studio albums, almost ensuring his immortality in the world of rap music. He has often been labeled as the best rap artist of all time.
He is an accredited songwriter, producer and founder of Roc-A-Fella Records. However, the majority of Mr. Shawn Carter’s riches aren’t associated with music. Every year, he makes millions with his champagne and cognac brands, distributed by Bacardi. Jay-Z is part owner of a professional basketball team, various real estate, and art investments, and recently became brand specialist for a California-based cannabis company.
4 Elton John ($84M)
In the last year, Sir Elton John has performed over 100 shows as part of his farewell tour. The tour is comprised of over three times as many shows and travels across most of the world. It will end in 2021. It is estimated that Mr. John grosses over $1 million per stop. The recent biographical movie about his life, Rocketman, grossed more than $100 million at the box office. It is ranked as number nine of the top ten biopics of all time. Although he may be hanging his hat when it comes to performing, he isn’t finished with music. He is currently working on the score for a Broadway musical.
3 The Eagles ($100M)
The Eagles are proof that good music and a solid fan base ensure longevity. Founded in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meiser, this rock band has sold more than 100 million albums.
The original band came together and toured from 2014 to 2016. After the passing of Glenn Frey in 2016, there were some changes to the lineup. The band hit the road again in 2017. In the last two years, they have grossed close to $4 million per stop. The band members may be different but they can still pull in the crowds and the dollars.
2 Ed Sheeran ($110M)
At 28-years old, Ed Sheeran is the highest-paid solo artist in the industry today. At the rate he’s going, he will soon join the billionaires club. The end of summer 2019 will see his Divide world tour come to an end after more than 24 months.
It is calculated that by the end of the tour, Mr. Sheeran will have earned more than half a billion dollars. In 2018, his fans bought more than 4.8 million tickets across more than 50 cities and more almost 95 shows. This formula brought in a record-breaking gross of more than $430 million.
1 Taylor Swift ($185M)
Ranking number one on the list, her Reputation tour grossed more than $266 million. Changing labels, her initial release with her new professional family premiered at number two on the charts, a successful new beginning. Taylor’s new contract with Universal Republic Records also ensures that she receives a portion of the earnings from the sale of the company’s Spotify shares. She also has real estate investments worth more than $84 million. Like any artist of her caliber, she also earns income from endorsements and merchandising deals for products such as Diet Coca Cola, Keds sneakers and advertisements for Cover Girl cosmetics.