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Forbes 10 Richest and Biggest Musicians

Forbes 10 Richest and Biggest Musicians

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1. Beyonce Knowles
The biggest year of Queen B’s career comes courtesy of a massive tour. The superstar singer played 95 shows, bringing in an average $2.4 million per city, according to Pollstar. She also dropped her most innovative album. Titled simply “Beyoncé,” the record hit iTunes in December with barely any publicity; the single “Drunk in Love” has already sold more than 1 million copies. 

2. Dr. Dre
It was a year of superlatives for the legendary producer, thanks to Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats, announced in May. His spoils boosted his annual income to an astronomical $620 million — not only the best year of his career and tops among the names on this year’s Celeb 100, but the highest yearly earnings total of any entertainer ever evaluated by FORBES. 

3. Jay Z
The mogul’s $60 million total is his highest since 2010, bolstered by a diverse list of sources. There’s his growing Roc Nation empire; 68 concerts in our scoring period; business ventures ranging from his 40/40 clubs to his D’Ussé cognac; and his latest album, which was certified platinum before it was released due to an agreement with Samsung to buy 1 million copies. For more on Jay Z’s rise, check out Empire State of Mind. 

4. Rihanna
Rihanna may be the perfect embodiment of the modern pop star. The 26-year-old Barbados native churns out radio hits like “We Found Love” and “Diamonds” and collaborates with some of the biggest names in the business like Jay Z and Eminem. But she also uses social media better than almost anyone. Her Twitter and Instagram feeds allow her to connect with her fans in a way that feels honest and unfiltered and they love her for it. Rihanna is the second most-powerful social media user on our list after Justin Bieber. 

5. Katy Perry
Even with a fairly modest touring schedule this year (Perry only played 20 public gigs during our time frame), the pop star is still one of the biggest earners in her field. Perry is unafraid of the shill. She gets paid to endorse brands like CoverGirl and Pop Chips and she has her own fragrance with Coty brands called Killer Queen. Perry also earns big playing private events. What rich kid wouldn’t love Perry to play her Sweet 16? 

6. Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi’s massive touring schedule lands the New Jersey band on our list for the 7th time. With “What About Now,” the band is still selling out arenas all over the word en route to $82 million in earnings. But age may be taking a toll. Drummer Tico Torres was sidelined for part of the tour due to gallbladder surgery and Richie Sambora skipped the tour to take care of personal issues. Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi shows no signs of slowing down. His Soul Foundation branched out into housing this year with a four-story mixed-use development in Philadelphia for formerly homeless people.

7. Bruno Mars 
Mars debuts on our list thanks to a busy touring schedule: the 28-year-old crooner played 118 dates during our time frame. He also managed to squeeze in a performance at the Super Bowl halftime (along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) that earned him the title of the youngest halftime headliner ever. The performance helped propel sales of his latest album, “Unorthodox Jukebox” to double platinum. For more, check out “The Evolution of Bruno Mars.”

8. Miley Cyrus 
Cyrus returns to the FORBES Celebrity 100 after a four-year absence. The last time she made our list was when she was still rolling in Hannah Montana money. Now the pop singer is all grown up and courting controversy at every turn. Her twerking at the MTV Video Music Awards shocked many people who still see Cyrus as a little girl but the attention helped record sales. Her latest album “Bangerz” has been certified platinum. 

9. Taylor Swift
Only 24 years old, Swift is making her fifth appearance on the FORBES Celebrity 100 with her highest earnings to date: $64 million. Swift’s latest, “Red,” was shut out at the Grammy Awards but the cross-over star was honored with the Pinnacle Award at the latest Country Music Association Awards for her success. The award has only been given to one other person, singer Garth Brooks. Swift also earns with endorsements for Diet Coke, Keds and Cover Girl.

10. Lady Gaga 
Gaga’s earnings continue to fall from her 2011 peak of $90 million Her third studio album, “Artpop,” has failed to produce the same success as her prior efforts and a hip injury side lined part of her world tour. Despite those setbacks, Gaga is still one of the most influential pop stars out there and she ranks 19th on our list. Only 28, she has plenty of time to return to the top 10.

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