"Total earnings" is the key point here. Take a look at number 1. Obviously the success of the artist's overall brand has more to do with earnings than music recording and performance activity alone. Dr. Dre sold 51% of his Beats line of headphones to HTC for $300 million then bought back half of it, earning $100 million pre tax right there.
In summary, many of these artists make a lot (if not the majority) of their money away from the stage and studio.
- Dr. Dre @ $110 million
- Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) @ $88 million
- Elton John @ $80 million
- U2 @ $78 million
- Take That @ $69 million
- Bon Jovi @ $60 million
- Britney Spears @ $58 million
- Paul McCartney @ $57 million (tie)
- Taylor Swift @ $57 million (tie)
- Justin Bieber @ $55 million (tie)
- Toby Keith @ 55 million (tie)
- Rihanna @ $53 million
- Lady Gaga @ $52 million
- Foo Fighters @ $47 million
- Diddy @ $45 million (tie)
- Katy Perry @ $45 million (tie)
- Kenny Chesney @ $44 million
- Beyoncé @ $40 million
- Red Hot Chili Peppers @ $39 million
- Jay-Z @ $38 million
- Coldplay @ $37 million
- Adele @ $35 million (tie)
- Kayne West @ $35 million (tie)
- Michael Bublé @ $34 million
- Sade @ $33 million
Read more on the Forbes' site about the 25 richest musicians in 2012.
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