lady gaga forbes highest paid musicians

Today Forbes released their list of the 25 top Highest-Paid Musicians for 2012, and we had to share.

We have listed each one with a little bit of info provided on each musician’s position on the list.

dr dre1. Dr. Dre ($110 million)

Detox (his latest album), is still on the shelf and Dre still rakes in cash from old albums, production and the occasional concert. The superproducer collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in Beats By Dre last year, at the beginning of the scoring period (earlier this year, he and his partners bought back half of what they sold).

2. Roger Waters ($88 million)

A founding member of Pink Floyd, Waters continues to rake in cash from his The Wall Live tour, in which he plays the aforementioned album straight through. According to Billboard Boxscore, he grossed $131 million from November 2011 to May 2012 alone.

elton john3. Elton John ($80 million)

With over 100 shows in the scoring period, including a lengthy Las Vegas stint. His animated film Gnomeo and Juliet brought in $200 million at the box office. He’s also got his 30th solo album on the way.

4. U2 ($78 million)

The Irish rockers wrapped up their record-breaking 360 tour—which grossed $736 million over three year—in August of 2011, just late enough to count a summer of touring in the scoring period.

TakeThat5. Take That ($69 million)

The British boy band’s reunion tour grossed a record $61 million for eight dates at London’s Wembley Stadium alone, the highest-grossing single-stadium stand recorded to that point, while dozens of dates around Europe provided even more.

bon jovi6. Bon Jovi ($60 million)

New Jersey rock act wrapped a world tour last summer but still managed to out-earn relative whippersnappers Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne and Kate Moss combined.

britney spears forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 7. Britney Spears ($58 million)

The pop diva returns to the ranks of music’s elite earners with millions from endorsements and a fragrance line with Elizabeth Arden. Her latest album, Femme Fatale, earned platinum certification in the U.S.

paul mccartney forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 8. Paul McCartney ($57 million, tie)

Sir Paul continues to rock, playing three dozen shows during our scoring period, including a rollicking Grammy performance that included a finale with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen.

taylor swift  forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 8. Taylor Swift ($57 million, tie)

Swift grossed over $1 million per night on the road this year, and also earns big as one of the faces of CoverGirl. Her latest album, Red, moved 1.2 million units its opening week this fall, the best debut since 2002.

justin bieber forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 10. Justin Bieber ($55 million, tie)

The 18-year-old is the youngest name on our list, thanks to sales of music and merchandise—and, more recently, stakes in startups including Tinychat, Stamped and Spotify.

toby keith forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 10. Toby Keith ($55 million, tie)

His Ford sponsorship is entering its second decade and his I Love This Bar And Grill restaurant chain booming, Keith tops country earners for the second consecutive year. New album Clancy’s Tavern helped him sell out shows across the country.

rihanna  forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 12. Rihanna ($53 million)

This diva has parlayed the success of her music into lucrative sidelines: endorsements with the likes of Vita Coco and Nivea, a fragrance called Reb’l Fleur and a heavy touring schedule.

lady gaga forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 13. Lady Gaga ($52 million)

The singer-songwriter still makes plenty of money off of music sales, padding her coffers with a new tour and new fragrance Fame.

foo fighters forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 14. Foo Fighters ($47 million)

Fifteen years after their debut smash The Colour and the Shape, the Fighters are still rocking, most recently with last year’s Wasting Light and the ensuing tour.

diddy forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 15. Diddy ($45 million, tie)

The artist formerly known as Puff Daddy still continues to earn from a variety of non-musical deals—namely a share of profits from Diageo’s Ciroc vodka. Also as acting gigs, marketing firm Blue Flame and clothing line Sean John.

katy perry forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 15. Katy Perry ($45 million, tie)

The only musician besides Michael Jackson to have five No. 1 singles from the same album, Perry continues to garner considerable airplay—and dollars. Her California Dreams Tour grossed nearly $60 million.

kenny chesney forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million)

Chesney nearly doubled his touring take over last year, making 48 stops in the U.S. and Canada on his Corona- and Hooters-sponsored tour during the scoring period.

beyonce forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 18. Beyoncé ($40 million)

Beyoncé took a break from her hectic touring schedule, but she still earns big from old hits, new album 4 and non-musical ventures like her House of Dereon clothing line and endorsement deals with companies like L’Oreal and DirecTV.

red hot chilli peppers forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million)

Opening week sales of the group’s new album I’m with You were just half that of 2006’s Stadium Arcadium, but the Chili Peppers still managed a massive year financially on the strength of a big tour and continued interest in their extensive back catalogue.

jay-z forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 20. Jay-Z ($38 million)

Though he doesn’t earn quite as much as his wife, Jay-Z continues to pull in proceeds from music (touring in support of his album with Kanye West) and business (deals with Duracell, Budweiser and others).

cold play forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 21. Coldplay ($37 million)

The British pop-rockers returned to the spotlight with last year’s Mylo Xyloto, cashing in from over 50 concerts on the tour that followed.

adele forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 22. Adele ($35 million, tie)

The big-voiced Brit has sold over 23 million copies of her smash album 21, even more amazing in an era when selling 500,000 copies is a strong showing.

kany west forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 22. Kanye West ($35 million, tie)

The mercurial rapper-producer had a big hit with his Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne and the ensuing tour; he also designs shoes for Nike and a line of women’s clothing.

michael buble forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 24. Michael Bublé ($34 million)

The top-earning Canadian musician not named Bieber pulled in millions from a long but efficient tour, as well as a multiplatinum Christmas album titled—what else—Christmas.

sade forbes 25 top highest-paid musicians 25. Sade ($33 million)

The Nigerian-born, Britain-bred singer-songwriter gets onto the list thanks to a lucrative tour that included nearly 100 show dates in the scoring period.


“Our estimates are based on total earnings from May 2011 to May 2012—the amount of money an act makes from record sales, touring, endorsements, merchandise sales and other ventures before subtracting management fees, legal costs and taxes (which can gobble up the bulk of a big payday). The totals were compiled with the help of data from Pollstar, RIAA and others, as well as interviews with industry insiders including concert promoters, lawyers, managers, agents and, in some cases, the musicians themselves.” –Forbes