…women and people of colour underrepresented
The world’s 10 highest grossing musicians made more than a billion dollars combined for the 12-month period ended June 2-19, according to Forbes.
The reputed magazine computed income from tours, music and additional business ventures to create its Highest-Earning Musicians 2019 list and determine which of entertainment’s biggest names are making big bucks from their musical bangs.
“I am a product guy at my core…To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.”– Kanye West
Topping the list for the second time in five years is the darling of pop-country music, Taylor Swift, who raked in a massive US$185 million before tax. Forbes credits her success over the period to a new record deal with Universal Music Group, following a messy, highly publicised split from her previous label Big Machine and the tail end of her recent tour.
The runner-up spot was taken by Kanye West, who Swift has a storied past with stemming from his now infamous onstage interruption of her acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Award in 2009. West copped second with income of US$150 million over the review period June 2018 to June 2019, primarily due to increased sales from his popular Yeezy sneaker line. “I am a product guy at my core,” he told Forbes, adding that “To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.”
Two other acts also reached the milestone US$100 million mark, Ed Sheeran ($110 million) and The Eagles with $100 million thanks to extensive touring over the period. The top five was completed by Elton John who continues to dominate music decades after his entry with US$84 million in earnings.
Rap and R&B artistes dominate the top 10 thereafter as husband and wife duo Jay-Z and Beyonce tie for sixth with US$81 million in earnings each; Drake placed eighth with US$75 million and Diddy earned US$70 million for ninth. Rock band Metallica rounded out the top 10 with US$68.5 million earned before tax.
While several people of colour made the upper echelon of the list, Forbes noted they represent less than 40 per cent of the total list of forty acts, with 15. Another highlight it notes is that women only represent a quarter of the total list, which it deemed “an unfortunate reality of the music business.”
The list accounts for pre-tax earnings and does not factor in deductions for agents, managers or lawyers, Forbes said.