The Forbes list of the highest paid musicians is out and if you’re not familiar with the finances of your favorite artists, there might be some surprises in there. Firstly, everyone’s favorite non-practicing self-proclaimed Dr. Dre is at the top of the list. Why? His album is forever delayed! Ah but you forget: Actual music doesn’t pay that much anymore.
Dre’s bundle of cash ($110 million to be more specific) is mostly due to the overwhelmingly popular Beats By Dre line of audio electronics–Forbes reports: “He collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year, at the beginning of our scoring period; he and his partners later bought back half of what they sold.” So if Dre’s long-awaited, many-times-pushed-back album never actually comes to fruition, you know who to blame. Blame HTC and the millions of people rocking those Beats headphones across the globe. Those bragging rights that come from hip-hop songs about cars and clothes and girls? Dre doesn’t need them anymore.
Remind you of anyone? Remember back in 2007 when 50 Cent‘s Vitamin Water investment paid off when the company was bought by Coca-Cola? He made $400 million in addition to the $50 million or so he had made for his music. Meanwhile, although he’s not on 2012’s list the rapper’s back this year with a song featuring The Voice‘s (and Maroon 5’s!) Adam Levine. Gunning for 2013, perhaps? Smart business savvy never quite leaves your system.
Who else is on the list? Pink Floyd‘s Roger Waters clocks in at #2, thanks to some die hard touring. Same with Elton John, whose Vegas stint has helped him rack up $80 million this year. Bono is forever rich, as U2’s record-breaking tour grossed $736 million. British boyband Take That went on a brief reunion tour that earned them $61 million for just eight dates at London’s Wembley Stadium. Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift tie (!!!) for 10th place with $57 million dollars–and perhaps that’s perhaps the biggest shocker right there. Taylor’s album broke album-selling records and she barely cracked the top ten.
Lesson learned: If you wanna make money as an artist, invest in some (successful) products and go on a long, long tour.
[Photo via Getty]