It is no wonder that the music industry is where multi-million dollar fortunes are made. While talented musicians may have come and gone unnoticed, few made their way to the top with super hit albums one after another and smart investments to build multi-million dollar empires from scratch.
From the late 70s to late 90s, the music industry was at its peak, and it was raining cash. Great artists were emerging, ticket sales were going crazy, and there was no such thing as music piracy.
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, made $50 million a year during the 1980s.
You can quickly name today’s high-net-worth musicians but do you know the richest musicians of all time?
Read on to get the low-down on which affluent musicians made it to the list of the ‘10 Wealthiest Musicians Of All Time’.
#10 Dolly Parton ($500 Million)
You may be surprised to see Dolly Parton on the list but her exceptional songwriting abilities and excellent marketing sense get all the credit. She rose to fame with top singles like ‘Nine to Five’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’.
She managed to reach out an even wider target audience when she penned the cover song for ‘The Bodyguard’ starring the beautiful Whitney Houston. During her illustrious career, Dolly Parton released 41 albums and bagged 25 Number One hits.
From humble beginnings to a pop sensation of her time, Dolly Parton’s musical career took off in 1967 and spanned four decades. Apart from a successful musical career, Dolly starred in many films and was involved in producing other artists.
Today, she owns a theme park called ‘Dollywood,' which brings in the major chunk of her yearly revenue amounting to a total of $500 million. Read all about Dolly Parton’s career here.
#9 Madonna ($500 - 800 million)
The newspapers may have made wild claims about Madonna being a billionaire, but according to Forbes, her net worth lies between $500-800 million as per an analysis in 2013, making her the ninth wealthiest musician of all time.
Madonna’s pop career catapulted to stardom with her unique lyrical content and imagery in the mainstream music industry. Dubbed the ‘Queen of Pop,' Madonna’s career had a major break in 1984 when her album ‘Like A Virgin’ hit the stores. The album’s title track was a Billboard chart topper for six weeks straight.
Besides having a highly successful musical career, Madonna also ventured into Hollywood with ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ followed by box office hits like ‘Body of Evidence,' ‘Dangerous Game,' ‘Girl 6’, ‘Four Rooms,' etc.
Much recently in 2013, Madonna’s MDNA world tour pool in a staggering $300 million in ticket sales, making her the highest earning singer that same year with an annual income of $120 million.
That’s not all - Madonna’s Material Girl clothing line and Truth or Dare fragrance also contribute to her net worth in millions each year.
#8 Mariah Carey ($520 million)
With more than 14 studio albums, a couple of acting roles and several successful business ventures, the songbird Mariah Carey is worth $520 million. Her recent onstage bloopers and relationship rows may have stolen her spotlight. Nevertheless, her musical and singing career is impressive.
She is not only the highest selling artist of all time but has also managed to have the highest number one hits, after the Beatles. Although her acting career didn’t take off, it didn’t harm her bank balance at all.
Mariah’s appearance on the judging panel of American Idol and brand endorsements have also generated a steady income over the years. Today, Mariah Carey is a notable name in the music industry with a net worth of whopping $520 million.
To know more about the highs and lows of Mariah Carey’s career, WatchMojo made a great video on Mariah's career.
#7 Jay-Z ($610 million)
One of the most renowned hip-hop artists, Jay-Z lands the seventh spot on our list of the 10 Wealthiest Musicians of all time. The Brooklyn-born rapper’s diverse holdings include Tidal streaming service, restaurants, clothing line, Ace of Spades (Armand de Brignac) champagne, a talent agency and record label called ‘Roc Nation.'
Much recently, Jay-Z’s smart investment decision to venture into the online download industry with a $56 million dollar purchase of Aspire AB proved to be fruitful as stock prices soared to 50%.
Combining his wealth with his equally talented and enterprising partner Beyonce, Jay-Z’s net worth would easily cross the $1 billion milestone. At present, Jay-Z is worth $610 million according to the Forbes Five: Hip Hop’s Wealthiest Artists 2016.
#6 Celine Dion ($630 million)
With Titanic’s iconic soundtrack ‘My Heart Will Go On’ as her claim to fame, Celine Dion has sold over 200 million albums globally since then. Known for her melodious voice and soul-stirring performances since the 1990s have raked in millions of dollar, making her one of the richest women in Tinseltown.
Between 2000 and 2010, her regular performance in Las Vegas alone generated more than $350 million. The Canadian-born songstress also made it to Forbes’ second annual America’s Richest Self-Made Women issue, alongside other notable entrepreneurs and entertainers like Taylor Swift, Kathy Ireland and TV personality Judge Judy.
After a long break from her singing career due to her husband’s terminal illness, Celine performed her thousandth show last year in Las Vegas. Celine owns several properties throughout the United States and other countries worth millions.
Today, Celine Dion’s total net worth is well above $630 million, a remarkable achievement indeed.
#5 Bono ($600-700 million)
Sir Paul Hewson, known as Bono, is the lead singer of U2. With a career spanning over thirty years, he is undoubtedly the most influential front men in music. Selling over 150 million albums worldwide, Bono has a net worth that is said to lie between the range of $600 and $800 million.
Apart from an incredibly successful career in music, Bono has also proved to be a successful businessman. He owns the Clarence Hotel in Dublin in partnership with his band mate The Edge.
In 2009, Bono bought 2.3% share of Facebook for an estimated value of $86 million through Elevation Partners. This investment has alone has raked in a galactic amount of $1.4 billion over the last six years. The profit was split among five founders while Bono’s share alone was $43 million.
That’s not all - Bono’s philanthropic efforts are mention worthy. He has worked towards bringing aid to the impoverished population of Africa through various initiatives like Project Red, Found Data, EDUN and the One Campaign.
#4 Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs ($750 million)
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has surely lived up to the name of his 2015 mixed tape MMM (Money Making Mitch). Although at present, much of his wealth is attributed to his recent agreement with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka; he started building his empire in the 1990s with Bad Boy Entertainment.
Apart from being a talented artist, he also made smart investment decisions including a cable TV network Revolt, rapper-inspired clothing line Sean John and alkaline water Aquahydrate.
In 2016, he topped the Forbes Five; Wealthiest Hip Hop Artists 2016 with a galactic net worth of $750 million dollars. P Diddy sure is just $250 million away from becoming the first Hip-Hop billionaire.
#3 Dr. Dre ($750 million)
Andre Romelle Young, famously known as Dr. Dre is one of the most talented individuals to have set foot in the music industry. His producing career of over 20 years has really placed him on the map and opened new doors for entrepreneurial adventures.
In 2004, Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones took over the market by storm and resulted in a single-day pay off worth $3 billion from Apple. However, after taxes, his payout amounted to roughly $600 million.
His acting stint in last year’s biopic Straight Outta Compton also added to a significant amount to his nine-figure net worth of $750 million and Southern California real estate. Dr. Dre today, is indeed the richest rapper in the world according to Forbes Five: Wealthiest Hip Hop Artists 2016.
#2 Paul McCartney ($1.2 billion)
Sir Paul McCartney was and still is relevant in today’s pop culture scene. He rose to fame almost sixty years ago as part of The Beatles. Throughout the decades of his incredible music journey, Sir Paul McCartney has managed to win 21 Grammys - a remarkable feat that no other musician has ever achieved.
In 2014 alone, McCarney earned $71 million in income from his latest world tour which did well. Thanks to the never-ending royalties and dozens of albums that he has released after The Beatles broke up in the 70s, Paul McCartney is a billionaire with a net worth of $1.2 billion as of 2016.
#1 Andrew Lloyd Webber (>$1.2 billion)
You may not have heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber, but he is the wealthiest musician of all time. Having written 13 successful musicals, a set of variations and a Latin Requiem Mass, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s total net worth amounts to a jaw-dropping $1.2 billion.
Till date, he has won innumerable awards and accolades including 3 Grammy Awards, 7 Oliver Awards, a Golden Globe and 14 Ivor Novello Awards. His biggest hit ever was ‘Phantom of the Opera,' a production that has been performed on Broadway more than 10,000 times.
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