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We’ve all heard about these talented and wealthy stars, but it’s difficult to imagine how much money they make. From a country-girl turned pop-star to a group whose rock and roll knows no bounds, here are fourteen of the highest-paid musicians in the world:
14. Luke Bryan –
This country star was born in Georgia. He began his career early on as a songwriter for his old high school friends and fellow country singers, Billy Currington and Travis Tritt. In 2007, Bryan released his first main album, I’ll Stay Me, which encompassed songs like “Baby’s on the Way,” “Country Man,” and “We Rode in Trucks.” He went on to release other records, including Tailgates & Tanlines in 2011 and What Makes You Country last year. He’s had several number-one hits, such as “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and “Kick the Dust Up.” He’s also won numerous awards for his work, including two from the Academy of Country Music Awards and nine from the American Country Awards. Considering all of his achievements, it’s no surprise that Luke Bryan is one of the top paid musicians of the modern day. Last year he pulled in $42 million.
13. Taylor Swift –
This Pennsylvania-born singer has been winning hearts since she started her career in the mid-2000s. She began by making country music and released her debut album in 2006, which was self-titled. It contained popular songs like “Our Song,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “Tim McGraw.” She released several other records as well, such as 2008’s Fearless, 2012’s Red, and Reputation, which came out last year. As she continued putting out albums, her musical genre became more pop-focused, transforming her image into the Taylor Swift we see at Red Carpet events today. She has won many awards for her work, including eight from the Academy of Country Music Awards from 2007 to 2015. She has also taken home upwards of fifteen awards from the American Music Awards and over twenty from the Billboard Awards. So, it isn’t shocking that Swift is a highly paid musician. In 2017, she made $44 million.
12. Calvin Harris –
This Scottish DJ began his career in 2002 when he started making music. However, it wasn’t until 2007 that he put out his first album, titled I Created Disco, which contained songs such as “The Girls,” “Vegas,” and “Acceptable in the 80s.” Harris has released other records as well, including Ready for the Weekend from 2009 and Motion from 2014. He has worked with numerous artists, such as Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, and John Newman. He has won a few awards for his music as well, like the 2014 and 2015 American Music Awards for Favorite EDM Artist and a 2015 Billboard Award for Top Dance/ Electronic Artist. Considering that Harris was recognized as one of the highest-paid DJs by Forbes for five years in a row, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he’s also one of the highest-paid musicians in general. Last year, it was reported that he took in $48.5 million.
11. Paul McCartney –
This English singer and guitarist rose to fame through his long career as the lead vocalist for The Beatles. The group’s first popular song was “Love Me Do,” which gained them recognition in 1963. They went on to release numerous albums, including Meet the Beatles!, Help!, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Yellow Submarine, and Abbey Road. The band split up in the 1970s and McCartney formed the group Wings. He also came out with several solo albums, such as Tug of War, Flowers in the Dirt, and New. He has even been featured in some films, like 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. McCartney has also won various awards for his years of work. He has taken home eighteen Grammys, a couple of which are the 1996 Grammy for Best Music Video and the 2013 Grammy for Best Rock Song. There’s no denying this musician’s well-rounded talents, and it makes sense that he is one of the highest-paid artists of our time. He was said to have earned $54 million last year.
10. Garth Brooks –
This country star was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1962. He started out by playing in small venues around his hometown and began receiving recognition for his first, self-titled album which he put out in 1989. His other records include The Chase, Beyond the Season, and Gunslinger. Brooks has sold upwards of 145 million albums in the United States alone, making him the best solo album-selling artist in the nation. Internationally speaking, The Beatles are the only ones to have outsold him. He has released multiple platinum-status works as well, like Ropin’ the Wind and No Fences. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Brooks has also won several awards throughout the years, including nine from the Academy of Country Music Awards, five from the American Music Awards, and two Grammys. There’s no arguing this star’s musical prowess, and with everything he has accomplished, it isn’t a surprise that he brings home the bacon. Last year Brooks made $60 million.
9. Adele –
This England-born artist has been winning people over with her astounding vocal talent since her online demo received recognition in the mid-2000s. She released her first album in 2008, titled 19, which encompassed songs like “Cold Shoulder,” “Chasing Pavements,” and “Make You Feel My Love.” She has put out two records since then, titled 21 and 25. Her work has impacted many people, and she has taken home numerous awards for it, including a 2013 Academy Award for “Skyfall,” five from the American Music Awards, over fifteen Billboard awards, and fifteen Grammys. Her vast achievements in the musical field have made her one of the highest-paid artists as well. Adele made $69 million last year alone.
8. Bruce Springsteen –
This New Jersey native has been making music since the 1960s. He is most widely recognized for his work with the E Street Band, who have been backing up Springsteen for upwards of forty years. In 1975, he released the album Born to Run, which initiated his rise to fame. It contained hit songs like “Thunder Road,” “Backstreets,” and “Jungleland.” He went on to put out several more records, including 1980’s The River, 1992’s Human Touch, and 2009’s Working on a Dream. Springsteen has received various awards for his work, such as a 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Song, four American Music Awards, two Golden Globes, and twenty Grammys. This artist is still going strong and continues bringing home the big bucks. In 2017 he made $75 million.
7. Justin Bieber –
This Canadian heartthrob quickly rose to the top of the charts in the United States when he was just fourteen years old after his online videos were discovered by a talent manager. His first album is titled My World and became platinum soon after its release in 2009. It contained some of his most popular hits, including “One Time,” “Favorite Girl,” and “One Less Lonely Girl.” He has released several more records since then, such as Believe from 2012 and 2015’s Purpose. Bieber has worked with numerous artists throughout his career so far, like Ludacris, Usher, Nicki Minaj, and Big Sean. He has even been featured in films like Zoolander 2 and came out with his documentary, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, in 2011. Although his acting career never took off, he has received many awards for his music, some of which include fifteen American Music Awards, upwards of ten Billboard Music Awards, and one Grammy. Taking all of these things into consideration, it’s expected that Bieber would be one of the world’s highest-paid musicians. Last year, he took home $83.5 million.
6. Guns N Roses –
These American rock stars started their careers off strong just two years after they formed their group in 1985. The band was originally made up of Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Steven Adler, and Izzy Stradlin. Their first album, Appetite for Destruction, released in 1987 and rose to number one on the charts in a year’s time. It incorporated songs like “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” “Welcome to the Jungle,” and “Paradise City.” They came out with various other albums later on, including 1991’s Use Your Illusion I and II, 1993’s “The Spaghetti Incident?”, and 2008’s Chinese Democracy. They’ve won four American Music Awards, four MTV Music Awards, and multiple other awards for their work. In 2012, Guns N Roses became members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This group has also taken in a lot of cash for their hard work. It was reported that they made a total of $84 million last year.
5. Coldplay –
This British group began their musical career in 1996 with just their lead vocalist, Chris Martin, and guitarist, Jonny Buckland. They eventually took on Guy Berryman and Will Champion, deciding on the name Coldplay after “Pectoralz” and “Starfish” didn’t work out. They released their first big album in 1999, titled The Blue Room, which contains songs like “Don’t Panic” and “See You Soon.” In 2000, they came out with the song “Yellow,” which gained them international recognition. They went on to release several more albums, including Parachutes in 2000, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends in 2008, and A Head Full of Dreams in 2015. They have also taken home numerous awards for their work, which include six Billboard Music Awards, six MTV Video Music Awards, three World Music Awards, and seven Grammys. This group also makes a substantial amount of money. In 2017, they made $88 million.
4. The Weeknd –
Also known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, this Canadian singer and producer originally released mixtapes in 2010 using his professional name, The Weeknd. He later re-released the tapes on his album Trilogy in 2012. His other albums are 2013’s Kiss Land, Beauty Behind the Madness from 2015, and 2016’s Starboy. Some of his chart-topping songs include “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and “Starboy.” He has collaborated with numerous other artists as well, such as Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lana Del Rey, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kanye West. The Weeknd has won several awards for his work, including two American Music Awards, upwards of five Billboard Music Awards, a BET Award, and three Grammys. He even holds two Guinness World Records for topping the charts and having one of the most streamed albums on Spotify. It shouldn’t take anyone by surprise that The Weeknd is also making more money than most other stars in his field. Last year, he made bank with $92 million.
3. Drake –
This is another star from Canada who has become a household name in the United States. He began his career early, but not as a musician; originally, this star was an actor. He played one of the main characters on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. In 2007, he left TV and released Room for Improvement, his first mixtape. Two years later he joined Young Money Entertainment. His first big-name album was Thank Me Later, which came out in 2010. It had hit songs like “Fireworks,” “Up All Night,” and “Find Your Love.” Some of his other records include 2011’s Take Care, 2016’s Views, and Scorpion, which is set to release in June of this year. Drake has worked with several other artists as well, such as Trey Songz, Lupe Fiasco, Omarion, Lil Wayne, and Jay Z. He has taken home numerous awards throughout his career so far, including five American Music Awards, more than ten BET Awards, and three Grammys. There’s no denying this star’s talent, and he profits a lot from his work. As one of the highest-paid musicians, he made $94 million last year.
2. Beyonce –
This talented lady rose to fame with Destiny’s Child. However, the group split up in the early 2000s, and she released her first solo album in 2003, titled Dangerously in Love. It contained hit songs like “Crazy in Love,” “Baby Boy,” and “Me, Myself and I.” She went on to release several other records, including 2008’s I Am… Sasha Fierce, a self-titled work from 2013, and 2016’s Lemonade. Beyonce has also held starring roles in various films, such as Austin Powers in Goldmember, Dreamgirls, and Obsessed. Throughout her career, she has won numerous awards, including eight American Music Awards, more than twenty BET Awards, and twenty-two Grammys. Beyonce is also one of the world’s highest-paid musicians. In fact, it was recorded that she took home $105 million last year before tax.
1. Diddy –
Also known as Sean Combs, this rapper and producer has done just about everything since his career started in the 1990s. Before he created Bad Boy Entertainment in 1993, he worked for Uptown Records as a talent director. It wasn’t until four years later that he came out with his first album, No Way Out, which quickly achieved platinum status. Diddy released several other records over the years, including Forever from 1999, 2001’s The Saga Continues…, and Last Train to Paris in 2010. He has also proven successful as an actor. Diddy has been in films like Monster’s Ball, Get Him to the Greek, and Girls Trip. He has numerous awards for his musical work, such as three BET Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and three Grammys. Plus, he has produced three albums that made it on Rolling Stone’s list of Greatest Albums of All Time. Diddy has made a great deal of money throughout his career as well. Just last year, this star took home $130 million.