When it comes to music and the business side of it, the entire world is the market base. 7 billion people, in one way or the other, are fans of music. Of the many lines in which humanity has divided itself through race, gender, and economic power, music has been one of the unifying tools that, even for the length of a track, can suspend our cynical beliefs and lift up the human soul into a higher plane. One only needs to look at videos of live performances from superstars and the highest paid musicians like Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Coldplay to see the effect of music on a mass of people.
Artistes who have the ability and talent to routinely achieve this with a large group of people are very often financially rewarded for their prowess. Through sales of albums, both digital and physical like CDs, Vinyl, musicians are very capable of building an astronomical amount of wealth. When combined with the opportunities modern life provides, such as social media influence, a musician’s ability to earn is no longer defined by their music, but also by the level of their acceptance among the general public. Some other artists, however, such as Diddy have continued to smile to the bank off their entrepreneurial ventures, regardless of the lack of or low popularity of their music.
In the past year, a lot of musicians have released albums, gone on tours and made a lot of money that has placed them on this list. Here is the list of the highest paid musicians in the world right now.
Top 10 Highest Paid Musicians In The World Right Now
U2 – $118 million
U2 has been around for decades and while their name may have been confined to the memories of the older generation, the band got a much-needed reintroduction to the modern, young adult group of music listeners when their album was tied to the iPhone and Apple’s other services. The group, in the space of the past financial year, made $118 million from the 30th-anniversary tour of their Joshua Tree album. The tour itself grossed over $316 million with over 2.7 million tickets sold to fans across different ages. Along with the tour came their 14th album release ‘Songs of Experience’ that made sure the group topped our list of highest paid musicians in the world. The genre and music history might be old school, but their earning power is not.
Coldplay – $115.5 million
Just slightly behind U2 is another band, Coldplay, led by the formidable and beloved Chris Martin. Through their tour, A Head Full of Dreams, which had been going on for two years and ended its run in this financial cycle, the total revenue from the tour from its inception was over $500 million, with Coldplay earning about $115.5 million of it in the current financial cycle. The end of the tour places Coldplay only behind U2 and The Rolling Stones on the all-time highest grossing tour list and number two on our list of highest paid musicians in the past year.
Ed Sheeran – $110 million
There are those who love Ed Sheeran, and there are those who dislike him and his kind of music. Those who love his music, through several streams of his music which runs into billions in the past year have helped the singer into a yearly income of over $110 million. His music, which also helped him to several major awards including the Grammys is one of the most popular in the past decade. Not a bad development for the ginger boy who used to play his guitar on the streets of London, but is now the highest earning solo artist on the exclusive list of top ten highest paid musicians. While Ed Sheeran is counting his millions, he can also look to his cameo on fan favorite, Game of Thrones as part of the beautiful life he now has.
Bruno Mars – $100 million
Closely behind Ed Sheeran is everyone’s beloved singer, Bruno Mars. His latest album 24K Magic World birthed a tour that has grossed over a quarter of a billion dollars. The windfall for the very commercially and critically successful album earned him $100 million in the current financial cycle, including six Grammy awards that now rest on his shelf as part of a growing empire of music, fame, and wealth. If Bruno Mars continues with the quality of music he doles out to the adoring public, which includes past works like Unorthodox Jukebox and Doo-Wops & Hooligans, there is no denying that in a few years, he will place higher on this list.
Katy Perry – $83 million
For solo artists, the real money is in touring, and earning the big bucks is not simply down to releasing beautiful and widely accepted music, but also in putting in the hard work to tour countries and the rest of the world, increasing your earning potential through ticket and merchandise sales. Katy Perry is a hard worker. In the last year, she performed at over 80 shows for Witness: The Tour with each show earning an average revenue of $1 million. During this period, she was also able to combine her responsibilities as a touring artist to appear and serve as a judge on American Idol, a role for which she earned a cool $20 million. Needless to say, it has been a sweet year for Katy Perry hence her graceful appearance on the list of highest paid musicians.
Top 10 Highest Paid Musicians In The World Right Now
Taylor Swift – $80 million
Taylor Swift is the popular, commercially successful artist whose music and personality often creates a divide among music fans. Known for using her life as a narrative tool in songs, a fact that is controversial in itself, she has developed a reputation for being one of the most disliked personalities albeit one of the highest paid musicians in the industry. Despite the lack of universal love for Taylor, it hasn’t gotten in the way of her making an estimated $80 million from her Reputation Stadium Tour, which spanned across multiple countries including several states and venues in America. The album which inspired the tour itself has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. This has placed Swift in a comfortable place as the 6th highest paid musician in the world.
Jay-Z – $76.5 million
Jay-Z’s last solo album was heavily based on financial intelligence and the rapper would be sure to remember it when he counts the windfall from the end of this financial cycle where he earned $76.5 million from the tour of his album 4:44. The amount itself is a significant increase in a net worth that is almost at a billion. Even without the completion of the 4:44 album tour and the joint tour with his wife for Everything is Love in the On The Run II stadium tour, Jay-Z would have still featured on any list of the highest paid musicians. His income for the next financial year is expected to be higher.
Guns N’ Roses – $71 million
After a run of solo artists with popular music dominating the list, group musicians make it back to the list with Guns N’ Roses who made $71 million in the past year. The group’s decision to go on a worldwide tour, taking along with it two members of its original cast, Axl Rose and Slash contributed to the group’s historic windfall. The income from the tour is one of the biggest in the group’s history.
Roger Waters – $68 million
He used to play for Pink as a bass guitarist, but the exceptional and highly rated guitar player is now a solo artist who, in the past year played in over a hundred shows through his Us and Them tour. As far as tours go, it was a highly successful one for Roger Waters and he can kick back at the end of the year, look back and enjoy the windfall of $68 million that has been the result of a highly hardworking and fulfilling year.
Diddy – $64 million
He has made a name for himself as a sort of music business guru. He is best friends with Jay-Z and together, they are some of the richest men in the hip hop community. Diddy, through his Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour and sale of some of his business investments, was the highest earning musician on this list in the last financial cycle but has dropped to the 10th position despite not releasing any fresh music or going on any tours. The musician continues to make bank annually off the strength of his remaining business investments which includes Ciroc vodka, DeLeon tequila, and Aquahydrate alkaline water.
Other notable artists who had an outstanding year include Beyoncé, whose extraordinary year that includes releasing Everything Is Love and going on the On The Run II tour earned her over $60 million. Kendrick Lamar also earned an estimated $58 million. Lady Gaga who will be basking off the success of her debut big screen project, A Star is Born also had a windfall of $50 million. Drake, who is usually higher on this list due to his planet-wide popularity fell short in the past year due to his choice to lay back on tours, the big money maker. Regardless of this, he has still been able to accrue a noteworthy $47 million, earning the same as Jennifer Lopez and Paul McCartney in the past year. Rihanna continues to miss out due to her reluctance to put forth new music or go on tours, while J.Cole and one of Hip Hop’s richest men, Dr. Dre failed to make the cut due to a relatively quiet year on the creative front.