Rolling Stone just unveiled its 10 Highest-Paid Musicians of 2021 list, with Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Paul Simon, and more making the cut.
With last year being another 12 months of very little touring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seven out of 10 of those on the list made their biggest amounts by selling copyrights, the magazine pointed out.
Springsteen topped the list after he brought in around $550 million after selling his publishing and recorded-music rights to Sony Music in December.
He also made a decent amount from his “Springsteen on Broadway” summer shows, as well as two projects with Barack Obama; their Spotify podcast “Renegades: Born in the USA” and a book of the same title.
Jay-Z, on the other hand, sold half of his Armand de Brignac champagne to luxury giant LVMH for $300 million, before he and his Tidal co-owners sold 80 per cent of the streaming service, which was originally purchased for $56 million, to Square for $302 million.
Simon, in third place, sold his entire catalog to Sony Music Publishing last March.
Rolling Stone stated: “The world’s 10 highest-paid musicians of last year raked in a combined $2.3 billion, more than double what they were making on an annual basis in the years right before COVID-19,” adding that Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift were the only ones to make the cut “without a massive catalog sale.”
The list, created by former Forbes correspondent Zack O’Malley Greenburg, is also made up mainly of white males, with Swift being the only female in 10th place.
Stevie Nicks sold her catalog for $100 million in December 2020, just missing the cutoff.
Rolling Stone added, “The list measures pretax income for calendar year 2021 before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers, living expenses, etc. Estimates are generated by scouring public documents and interviewing individuals with direct knowledge of major deals.”
The Top 10 Highest-Paid Musicians of 2021 list is as follows:
1. Bruce Springsteen: $590 million
2. Jay-Z: $470 million
3. Paul Simon: $260 million
4. Kanye West: $250 million
5. Ryan Tedder: $200 million
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers: $145 million
7. Lindsey Buckingham: $100 million
8. Motley Crue: $95 million
9. Blake Shelton: $83 million
10. Taylor Swift: $80 million