Despite passing away nearly three decades ago, Bob Marley still earned US$20 million, more than many popular touring singer-songwriters in the world, in the past year.
According to Forbes, Marley ranked was the fifth highest earner on its annual list of the “Top Earning Dead Celebrities”.
The revenue of the Jamaican artiste, who passed away in May 1981 after a battle with cancer, primarily comes from his music, which endures even now. “With nearly one billion streaming spins in the United States, the ubiquity of Marley’s music keeps his House of Marley products—including headphones, speakers and turntables—from going up in smoke,” the reputed magazine said.
Legend, a compilation album between Marley and bandmates The Wailers, is the best-selling Reggae album of all-time with almost 30 million copies sold since its release in 1984, and is often ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Nine musicians, including Marley, are featured on the list of 13. Rounding out the top five, in descending order, are golf legend Arnold Palmer ($30 million), Snoopy creator Charles Schulz ($38 million) and Rock and Roll icon Elvis Presley ($39 million).
Taking the top spot once more year, with earnings of $60 million, is the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who passed in 2009 from a drug overdose.
“Streaming surged despite recent controversy: 2.1 billion US spins, up from 1.8 billion a year ago,” Forbes said. “With proceeds flowing from his Mijac Music catalogue, a Las Vegas show and a long-term deal with Sony, he retains his post-mortem cash crown for the seventh consecutive year.”
The controversy stems from the release of a HBO documentary, “Leaving Neverland”, which chronicles the graphic sex abuse accusations of two men who said Jackson repeatedly molested them as children.
The annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities measures income before tax between the period October 1, 2018 to October 1, 2019. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted, Forbes said.