With the past year wrapped up, it’s always fun to see if the list of the top 10 most wealthy musicians has changed or completely shifted. The data for this year is in, so it’s time for an update. Just remember, these values and fluctuations are estimations based on a host of variables and publicly available documents, but they’ve got to be pretty close!
This is an interesting concept because it proves two things to upcoming and ambitious musicians:
- It is possible to build immense amounts of money as a music artist.
- It allows you to grow your wealth and income even more by breaking into Hollywood, Broadway, and becoming an Entrepreneur.
The struggle is real and lots of artists pay their dues and never break through into the mainstream. If you want to make the leap, get ready to become a marketer on top of writing songs and playing instruments, like the following top 10 richest musicians have…
#10 – Taylor Swift
Net Worth: $740 Million
Change: +$240M & ↑1 – Taylor got her start singing at local talent shows and fairs in her small hometown. Her mom and dad, passionate about their daughter’s talent, moved the family to Nashville when she was just a teenager. This is where her demo was heard by Scott Borchetta, the man who would help launch her career.
She has since released 10 studio albums, with numerous chart-topping singles and albums. Taylor took a swing at Hollywood with a role in the 2010 movie Valentine’s Day and graced various TV screens with guest appearances.
Trivia: Taylor’s song “Love Story” was inspired by a Shakespearean tale, though, ever the optimist when it comes to love, she opted for a feel-good ending. Her swift rise to fame made her the youngest solo artist to write and record a #1 hit on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. When the opportunity came for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Taylor was actually out on tour but made sure to pass along an appreciative response during her concert.
#9 – Celine Dion
Net Worth: $800 Million
Change: ↓2 – There’s no wonder that Ms. Dion is on the top 10 list. She’s the top wealthiest music artist in Canada of all time after selling over 200 million records! After her smash hit on the Titanic soundtrack, she took advantage, launched the popularity of auto-tune (for better or worse), and rode that wave straight to the top 10 list!
She has released albums in French and English, won countless contests and awards, and has the record for the highest concert residency of all time, where in Las Vegas she can command $500,000 per show. Take that info and do this math: she performed her 1000th show in Las Vegas in 2016. Between 2011 and 2019, her Las Vegas residency has been seen by 1.74 million people, grossing almost $300 million!
Trivia Fact: Celine is the youngest of 14 (yes, you read that right) siblings! She’s also been honored Canadian and French titles for her civilian merits and contributions. She is to be addressed as “Celine Dion, CC OQ ChLD.” She has been diagnosed with a rare condition called stiff person syndrome in May 2023.
#8 – Madonna
Net Worth: $850 Million
Change: +$100M & ↓1 – This lady has been in the game for a long time, pumping out pop hits since the ’80s and forward, experiencing all of the ups and downs the industry has faced over the years. Alongside her musicianship, she’s a Golden Globe-winning actress, author of several children’s books, fashion designer, owner of Maverick Records, and owner of a series of health clubs.
The real wealth comes from her tireless touring, having played more live shows than any other female musician ever, making her the highest-grossing solo touring artist of all time! She’s possibly the hardest working woman in show business.
Trivia Fact: The Guinness Book of World Records lists Madonna as the best-selling female recording artist of all time. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists her as the second highest-certified female artist in the United States, behind Barbara Streisand.
#7 – Herb Alpert
Net Worth: $850 Million
Change: +$10M – Herb Alpert (and the Tijuana Brass band) have released five #1 albums and 28 total albums on the Billboard charts. His other notable awards are 9 Grammy’s, 14 certified Platinum albums, and 15 more Gold albums.
His total sales are over 72 million worldwide! Alpert is the “A” in A&M Records, which undoubtedly contributes to his unbelievable riches (he sold it in 1987 for a reported $500 million along side his partner Jerry Moss). They later sued for a breach of contract, receiving an additional $200 million. His other ventures have included professional sculpting and a line of perfume, which he likens to music with its “high notes and low notes.”
Trivia Fact: Herb Alpert is the only musician to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 as both a vocalist in 1968 and an instrumentalist (trumpet) in 1979.
#6 – Jimmy Buffett
Net Worth: $1.0 Billion
Change: +$400M & ↑6 – More than a mere musician, Jimmy Buffett has built an empire. This is what results after producing over 30 albums’ worth of timeless hits, selling more than 20 million records worldwide, and founding Margaritaville, a lifestyle brand that’s a cocktail of resorts, merchandising, and radio. Buffett’s most recent leap in net worth came in the wake of the successful launching of the Margaritaville retirement communities in 2017.
Crowned a billionaire, Jimmy Buffett has carved out a unique position in the entertainment industry over the past five decades. His clever switch from being a country artist to embodying the laid-back beach-bum persona paid off, turning him into a cult figure. He’s living proof that mistakes can indeed be stepping stones to success. After all, who’d forget his initial blunder with “Big Rig” which tanked?
Trivia: Jimmy Buffett was once ejected from a Miami Heat basketball game for cursing. He is also a licensed pilot and a bestselling author, having penned three #1 bestsellers as listed in the New York Times.
#5 – Sean “Puffy” Combs
Net Worth: $1.0 Billion
Change: +$100M – P. Diddy, A.K.A. Puff Daddy, Puffy, Diddy, Sean Combs, Sean John, etc. I’m sure there’s more. This kind of marketing keeps you relevant, as silly as it is. We all could learn from this master, which has earned him the sixth spot on the list. He went beyond his own recordings to operating his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment.
This label launched the careers of guys like The Notorious B.I.G. and Mase. Other successes include his Sean John clothing line, perfume line, and hit television show Making the Band on MTV.
Diddy recently entered the billionaire’s club, read more about his net worth here.
Trivia Fact: Like many of the richest people in the world (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Kanye West, etc.), Puff Daddy is also a college dropout, leaving a business major program. Ironically, Forbes listed Diddy as a top 40 entrepreneur under the age of 40 in 2002.
#4 – Paul McCartney
Net Worth: $1.2 Billion
Change: +$100M & ↓1 – There’s no way you wouldn’t find a member of The Beatles on this list, especially Paul McCartney. He and John Lennon basically shared writing credits for their entire run, guaranteeing both of them continued riches forever. Tag on Paul’s killer solo career, the band Wings, and collaborations with Michael Jackson and most recently Kanye West, and you’ve got a guy who’s been a relevant pop icon since the early 60’s.
The multi-instrumentalist has written or co-written 32 songs to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Paul’s song Yesterday is the most covered song of all time, having been remade by over 2,200 artists and bands. Talk about some royalties! He’s also been knighted and honored every which way possible, musically or otherwise. It’s reported that he holds over 25,000 copyrights.
Check our detailed article to understand how Paul McCartney built his incredible net worth!
Trivia Fact: The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes Paul McCartney twice, as the most honored composer and performer in music as well as the most successful songwriter ever.
#3 – Andrew Lloyd Webber
Net Worth: $1.25 Billion
Change: +$50M – You are now looking at the King. You may not know his name, but you know his music. Broadway is almost synonymous with Webber, with him having penned the music of 20 of their greatest hits: The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, School of Rock, and on and on… the dude’s cleaning up.
These shows are still happening nightly all across the world (some have been running for over a decade straight), providing him profit from everything related to his products, including soundtracks, merchandise, film adaptations, and ticket sales. He even collects royalties from two songs he wrote for none other than Elvis Presley (the true King!)
Trivia Fact: Andrew Lloyd Webber has been granted knighthood and a title of nobility for his contributions to music, in addition to his 6 Tony’s, 3 Grammy’s, an Academy Award, and far too many more to list here. The proper way to address him today is “The Right Honorable The Lord Lloyd-Webber, Kt.”
#2 – Rihanna
Net Worth: $1.7 Billion
Change: +$300M & ↓1 – She has been storming through our ranking over the past couple of years and even reached the top for a few months. A huge portion of her wealth ($1.4B) comes from her business ventures. She has launched in 2017 a beauty line called Fenty Beauty along with the French luxury group LVMH. She also owns a lingerie company called Savage x Fenty. She capitalizes heavily on her huge social media presence to promote her brands.
But don’t get fooled by her recent business successes. She has been a pop music powerhouse since her first success in 2005 and remains one of the most streamed artists despite not having released an album in years.
We have spent time studying Rihanna’s net worth. You can read all about it here.
Trivia Fact: Born and raised in Barbados, Rihanna is still celebrated in her country of origin. In 2008, the Prime Minister of Barbados declared 22 February “Rihanna Day”. While it is not an official bank holiday, locals celebrate it every year, listening to her music.
#1 – Jay-Z
Net Worth: $2.5 Billion
Change: +$900M & ↑1 – He’s not a businessman, he’s a business, maaaaan. This is what happens after you score 19 Grammy’s, sell over 100 million records, and launch a successful clothing company Rocawear and record label Roc-A-Fella Records. The most recent jump in net worth is thanks to yet another unbelievable business success as he pocketed $750 million following the partial sale of his D’USSÉ cognac to Bacardi. Crowned billionaire in 2019, Jay-Z almost tripled his net worth in 4 years.
All it’s going to take is a few more “retirements” and “come backs” and he should continue climbing the billionaire list. Maybe one extra come back cycle to make up for his goof with Tidal and Aspiro. Of all his shenanigans, Jay-Z admits to having shot his own brother at the age of 12 for stealing some of his jewelry. I don’t know if that adds up to street credibility or the stupidity of being a kid.
Trivia Fact: Jay-Z was once the president of Def Jam Recordings. He’s also a licensed sports agent, working with his company Roc Nation Sports.
Who’s Dropped Out of the Top 10?
Not everyone maintains their slot on the list. Making gobs of money is one thing, but keeping it is another story. Whether an artist blows their fortune, loses momentum in the public eye, or fails to make the same business investments as other stars, sadly some slip from the top 10. Here’s a list of our fallen friends.
Net Worth: $720 Million
Change: ↓2 – Bono is a strange one. The lead singer of U2, Bono is straight killing it by marketing himself as the guy who wears those glasses while caring about eco and social activist issues. I can make jokes all day long, but the fact is, Bono is a boss. Beyond his work as a singer-songwriter and musician, he is also a venture capitalist, philanthropist, and general businessman.
He’s such a huge figure for the Irish people (and unapologetically outspoken) that he’s been the target of terrorist threats and actions. Like many on this list, Bono has been awarded a knighthood. How many dragons have you killed?! He is to be addressed as “Paul David Hewson, KBE OL.”
Trivia Fact: For being a huge philanthropist and social activist, it was a surprise when his name appeared in the Paradise Papers, which provided proof and exposed globally many wealthy people engaging in tax evasion.
Net Worth: $670 Million
Change: ↓2 – The shining star of American country music, Dolly Parton! A celebrity that is as nice in person as she appears on camera. She began as a songwriter before debuting as a singer in 1967, and has written and composed over 3,000 songs, like “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” (yes, the Whitney song!). Her record sales total to more than 100 million worldwide. Dolly has also been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She’s won 11 Grammy Awards, and has been nominated for a Tony, an Emmy, and an Academy Award!
More than that, she is a business woman and celebrated philanthropist. She co-owns The Dollywood Company, which manages entertainment venues like the Dollywood Theme Park, among others. She also founded the Dollywood Foundation, which handles projects involving poverty relief and education in her hometown, East Tennessee.
Trivia Fact: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was founded in 1995, mailing free books to children. It has since expanded to the entirety of the United States, as well as the UK, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. Today, there are around two million children registered, and the program has sent out more than 190 million books.
Net Worth: $650 Million
Change: +$150M – The Boss himself! A perfect nickname for a man like Bruce Springsteen, icon of American Rock and Roll. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t at least familiar with his name. Considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time, he has released 20 studio albums, and sold 135 million records globally. He’s won a whopping 20 Grammy Awards, plus two Golden Globes, one Academy Award, and a special Tony award! In 1999, he was inducted in both the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And in 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President Barack Obama.
Aside from his music, he is also widely known for his philanthropy and outspokenness on social issues. His songs often have social and political commentaries. He is a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and Women’s Rights, even canceling his own shows in protest.
Trivia Fact: Bruce wasn’t always fond of the nickname “The Boss.” He has a dislike for bosses (very on brand), and it made him uncomfortable. It was given to him before he became a star, overseeing the collection of his band’s fee from the owners of the clubs they played at, and distributing it.
Net Worth: $600 Million
Change: ↓2– Julio is one of the top 10 record sellers in history, selling over 250 million albums worldwide. As you can imagine, his awards are too numerous to list. His first album was released in 1969 and he’s rarely missed a year releasing another with the most recent being in 2017.
There’s hardly a country on the planet in which he hasn’t been named the most popular artist. In addition to these album sales, it’s said he’s performed over 5000 concerts.
Trivia Fact: Julio was once a professional soccer player, quitting due to a car wreck injury. His last name “Iglesias” translates to “churches.” After failing to sell his $28 million dollar home, he had it bulldozed and rebuilt it!
Net Worth: $550 Million
Well, get your dancing shoes ready because we’re talking about the one and only Elton John! He gets us tapping our toes and singing along to over 300 million of his records sold worldwide. And let’s not forget those glittering awards, he’s lugged home a whole truckload of Grammys, Oscars, and Tonys. A bona fide member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Sir Elton has definitely left his mark on the music scene.
The not-so-secret to his success lies in that killer combination of tickling the ivories with razzmatazz, belting out tunes with gusto, dressing in quirky costumes that would make a peacock jealous, and last but not least, having a songwriting buddy in Bernie Taupin. Together, they’ve cooked up some serious chart-toppers, like “Rocket Man”, “Tiny Dancer”, and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”.
Trivia: Elton John is one of the highest-selling music artists ever. He has had 50 singles land in the top 40 and a winning streak of seven #1 albums on the US charts. And as if his music wasn’t enough, he’s also a big-hearted philanthropist, especially when it comes to the battle against HIV/AIDS. John has raised $450 million through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, all going towards prevention, treatment, and care of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Net Worth: $550 Million
Change: +$50M – There’s a lot of crap out there trying to undermine the D.R.E., but the fact remains, he’s impacted rap, music, and the culture of the United States. Very few people can say that. From being a member of N.W.A., Death Row Records, and operating his own label, he also launched several proteges, including Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and 50 Cent.
Dr. Dre has only released 2 albums under his own name. Otherwise, he’s a guest star, prolific beat producer, and compilation creator. Few musicians have the power to create other superstars, and they might be the most powerful. Like many, Dre has even had some acting roles, though at the end of the day it didn’t seem to be among his strong suit.
The self-proclaimed “First Billionaire in Hip-Hop” was never really entered the billionaire club once you account. He would likely have still been in our top 10 if it wasn’t for his recent and costly divorce, you can read more about it here.
Trivia Fact: Dr. Dre sold his world’s top headphones company Beats By Dre to Apple in 2014, launching him way up this list. The marketing and products are impeccable, which made it an easy $3 billion dollar decision for Apple.
Ye (Kanye West)
Net Worth: $500 Million (Large drop vs $6.6 Billion According to Bloomberg in 2022)
Change: -$1.9B – Kanye West is no longer a billionaire. He is not even in our ranking!
Another solid artist that has been helped by his incredible ability to create hugely successful business ventures. His Yeezy brand gives him large revenues thanks to several collaborations with huge brands like Adidas and Louis Vuitton. He even owns part of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims.
He is one of the most critically acclaimed musicians and producers of the past 20 years and has won an impressive 24 Grammy awards. Like others, he’s started his own record label GOOD Music. Although he is mostly known for his hip-hop and rap tracks, he has experimented in lots of different genres, from electro to pop and gospel. He is also famous for his collaborations with other hip-hop A-listers like Jay-Z.
His net worth is disputed; in 2020, financial media company Bloomberg estimated his net worth at $6.6 Billion, with $4.7 Billion coming from collaboration between his brand Yeezy and various apparel companies like Adidas or Gap.
However, following antisemitic statements made by the celebrity in October 2022, Adidas announced they were cutting ties with the rapper. This lead Forbes to revise Kanye’s net worth estimate significantly lower, to $400 million. We see him a little higher at $500 million.
You can learn more about this incredible drop it in our in-depth article!
Trivia Fact: While Kanye West has achieved an icon status around the world, he has seen music fan try to bloc his attendance at various festivals by filling out petitions on Change.org. This was for example the case at Glastonbury festival in 2015.
Net Worth: $320 Million
Mariah Carey used to be a solid member of our top 10, but she is now far from it and will likely not get back there anytime soon. She hasn’t made any major moves lately and her movie Glitter was a flop.
Part of her continual earnings is her constant appearances in Christmas and New Years’ Eve celebrations. She holds the record for the longest-running U.S. #1 single (16 weeks straight!), and is the third-best-selling female artist in the U.S.
She’s also the only artist to ever top the Billboard Hot 100 Decade-End chart more than once. Her lists of music awards are endless, including 5 Grammy’s, 19 World Music Awards, 10 American Music Awards, 14 Billboard Music Awards, and more.
Trivia Fact: Mariah Carey is one of the rare vocalists with a clean five-octave vocal range and her controlled use of the whistle register.
Who Will Claim a Wealthiest Musician Spot Next?
It’ll take some serious power moves for newcomers to displace someone from the top 10 richest musicians list. Each of the tycoons above has their hands in a lot of jars that extend far beyond music. The next generation better get ready to hustle!
I see some possible contenders out there: Eminem, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. But it goes the other way around too. Any of these movie or TV celebrities out there could make the right investments into their own music career (like Drake) and if they can start trending, then boom, instant billionaire status.
Others that almost make the cut include:
- Beyoncé at $540 million thanks to her music, touring, clothing lines, and product endorsements.
- Gloria and Emilio Estafan at $500 million mainly attributed to their illustrious music careers, successful restaurant empire in Miami, and numerous business ventures.
- Victoria Beckham is at $450 million mostly thanks to her fashion business ventures.
- Gilbert “Berner” Milam at $420 million mostly thanks to his “Cookies” cannabis conglomerate
- Barbra Streisand at $415 million due to her high-grossing tours, Broadway appearances, and TV specials.
- Jennifer Lopez at $400 million due to her musical success and illustrious Hollywood and TV career.
- Lady Gaga is at $350 million thanks to her musical success and high-grossing tours.
- Justin Bieber at $300 million thanks to his huge musical success and business ventures.
- Drake is at $270 million thanks to his solid musical success and private investments.
Michael Jackson would be in the top 10 for sure had he not passed so early, although he was known to accumulate debt as well. I tell you what, I’d be happy to just be in the top 10,000 most wealthy musicians list.
Top 10 Richest Musicians in the World (2023)
This is the table for the top 10 richest musicians in the World. It contains their names, net worth, and nationality.
|2||Rihanna||$1.7 Billion||USA, Barbados|
|3||Andrew Lloyd Webber||$1.25 Billion||UK|
|4||Paul McCartney||$1.2 Billion||UK|
|5||Sean “Puffy” Combs||$1.0 Billion||USA|
|6||Jimmy Buffett||$1.0 Billion||USA|
|7||Herb Alpert||$850 Million||USA|
|9||Celine Dion||$800 Million||Canada|
|10||Taylor Swift||$740 Million||US|