Forbes 2014 Highest Paid Musicians: Who’s On Top?

Forbes has released their annual list of the world’s highest paid musicians. Beyonce is the queen but surprisingly didn’t finish in first. Dr. Dre took home a whopping $620 million this year, making him the top-earning musician of 2014. It’s also the largest income in a single year for any musician, ever. The sale of his Beats headphones to Apple for $3 billion was likely a massive contribution to this sky-high paycheck.

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This separates him from the 2nd place musician by nearly half a billion dollars. Beyonce brought home the bacon this year or $115 million. This year was filled with her Mrs. Carter Show tour, partnerships with H&M and Pepsi, plus that surprise album dropping.

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In third, taking home $100 million this year, were The Eagles, largely due to their History Of The Eagle tour. Then we drop down from the nine-figure mark with Bon Jovi in fourth at $82 million and Bruce Springsteen at $81 million. Both had successful arena tours and as Forbes figured with these last three acts they “also benefit from staging that’s relatively simple, and therefore cheap, compared to some big pop acts.” Bon Jovi has also said  how he keeps costs down and his paycheck high. “I think it’s just wise to be efficient. I know big bands where each of them has personal assistants on the road, each of them has a security guard. We don’t have a security guard. Take your own friggin’ bags!”

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While Rock, Hip Hop and Pop rounded out the top five, dance music and country also did well. Calvin Harris was the highest single-year paid DJ ever with $66 million. Toby Keith lassoed in $65 million with not only songs, but a mescal line and a restaurant chain to bring in the dough.

Forbes explained how this year’s list was created – “We considered income from touring, recorded music, publishing, merchandise sales, endorsements and other ventures. Management, agent and lawyer fees were not deducted. Earnings were calculated from June 2013 to June 2014 and based on data from Pollstar, the RIAA and Nielsen, and on interviews with managers, lawyers, executives and some artists themselves.”

Congrats to all the musicians doing what they love and making it rain.