Bruce Springsteen tops the list of the top ten highest-paid musicians of 2021 – with a staggering $590 million – after selling his publishing rights to Sony.
The list, compiled by Rolling Stone, reveals which musical acts have brought in the most revenue in a pandemic year when touring was low and sales of physical albums were increasingly held back by streaming platforms.
However, the musicians on the list collectively earned $2.3 billion, more than double what they made on an annual basis in the years before COVID-19.
This is thanks to their huge catalog sales aside from Jay-Z, Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
Still the boss! Bruce Springsteen tops the list of ten highest-paid musicians of 2021 (pictured above at a benefit concert in New York City on December 13, 2021 in New York City)
The rest of the acts made most of their fortunes selling copyrights.
Springsteen, 72, made history last December with his massive $550 million salary from the sale of his masters, and added a few more millions with his return to Broadway last summer.
Top ten highest paid musicians in 2021
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. Mötley Crue ($95 million)
9. Blake Shelton ($83 million)
10. Taylor Swift ($80 million)
He also made millions thanks to his Spotify podcast with Barack Obama Renegades: Born in the USA and an accompanying book of the same name.
At number two on the list came in hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, who made millions last year thanks to various business deals.
According to the report, he reportedly made a total of $470 million after selling 80 percent of his streaming service Tidal and his half of his Armand de Brignac champagne to luxury giant LVMH.
Another heritage act that reaped the benefits of their back catalog was Paul Simon ($260 million) after selling his entire catalog to Sony last March.
The deal also included his songs he wrote as part of Simon and Garfunkel.
Kanye West is said to have made about $250 million, but not from his musical output (the rapper released his tenth album Donda last year).
West — or Ye as he likes to be called — made most of his money from his Yeezy shoe brand.
Songwriter Ryan Tedder – who has written songs for Adele – scored $200 million after private equity firm KKR acquired the rest of its publishing rights last January.
Again, the Red Hot Chili Peppers may not have had a hit album or tour last year, but they did receive $145 million for their back catalog to Hipgnosis in a deal that closed last May.
Big Pay Days: Both Taylor Swift ($80 Million) and Jay-Z ($470 Million) Made the List
Payday from their heyday: Despite not currently touring or releasing new music, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made $145 million selling their back catalog
Ways to Make Money: Kanye West made a lot of money thanks to his Yeezy shoe line… while songwriter Ryan Tedder sold the rest of his publishing rights
Fleetwood Mac guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham struck a similar $100 million deal with the same company.
The report notes that Stevie Nicks, who sold her catalog for $100 million in December 2020, missed the list due to its closing date.
Nicks’ absence meant that Taylor Swift – who came in at number 10 with $80 million – was the only woman on the list.
Score: Another heritage act to reap the benefits of their back catalog was Paul Simon ($260 million) after selling his entire catalog to Sony last March (Pic, 2016)
While her catalog was notoriously taken from her and sold to Scooter Braun, Swift began re-recording her old albums.
The sheer sales of these re-recordings – which include Red (Taylor’s Version) and Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – ensured the singer received an impressive reward despite her grievances with her old record label.
She is also said to have made major deals with Peloton and Starbucks, among others.
Blake Shelton – who earns $13 million per season from The Voice – reached number nine.
The report states that he received about $50 million for a catalog sale. Shelton already has an estimated worth of about $100 million.
Shock rock: Mötley Crüe made $95 million after selling their masters to BMG
Happy Gwen! Blake Shelton Made $83 Million From A Catalog Sale And His Millions He Makes From The Voice