The Wealthiest Musicians of 2019
Thanks to album and song downloads, streaming and various other income streams, lots of musicians earn millions of dollars a year for their amazing talent. Of course, as a fan, you know there's nothing quite like seeing your favorite band or artist perform live in concert. The highs are higher, the lows are lower and you can literally feel the music in your bones.
When they aren’t touring or making new music, some stars even try their hand at expanding their income in other parts of the entertainment world, such as television and movies. Curious which artist took home the most in 2019 from touring, albums and other pursuits? Let’s take a look!
Romeo Santos - $14.5 Million
Romeo Santos is known as the "King of Bachata." If you don't listen to Latin music, you probably haven’t heard of him, but he's a top-earning musician in his style. He has even sold out two consecutive shows at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx. Impressed yet?
Santos earned more than $14.5 million in 2019. His current tour netted him a smooth $12.5 million and did a great job of paving the way for other Latin artists to rise in the new decade. Santos earned another $1.5 million in streaming in 2019, which helped increase his income.
Dave Matthews Band - $15 Million
The Dave Matthews Band is still going strong, earning more than $15 million in 2019. The group puts on quite a show and draws fans back year after year. Matthews and his bandmates earned more than $12 million just for touring in 2019.
You might call the band one of the most popular jam bands of the era. The simple fact that they have such staying power certainly adds some power to the argument. Dave Matthews Band earned $1.1 million in record sales and another $1.5 million in streaming and publishing rights combined.
Dead & Company - $15.4 Million
Dead & Company is the most recent iteration of the Grateful Dead. Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have been joined by "Your Body Is a Wonderland'' singer John Mayer, and the group seemed to do quite well for themselves in 2019.
Dead & Company raked in a sweet $15.4 million for the year, landing a spot in the top 30 highest earning musicians. Their current tour has proven to be wildly popular, and the group earned about $13.5 million from ticket sales and other concert merchandise.
J. Cole - $16 Million
J. Cole is an interesting name on this list. For starters, not a lot of people know who he is. To fill you in, he’s the first artist signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, and he has been around for several years, but his music isn't very mainstream. Regardless, he has a solid fan base, and that fan base clearly makes him some money.
J. Cole earned about $16 million in 2019, and the money was fairly evenly distributed among several income sources. He brought in $4.7 million from streaming and $2.3 million from publishing rights. His various concerts earned him more than $8 million.
Travis Scott - $16.5 Million
Travis Scott is one of the highest earning musicians of 2019, and he is also one of a handful of rappers who made double-digit-millions this year. He seems to be in a class of his own, pulling in a very praiseworthy figure north of $16.5 million.
Scott had an incredibly successful tour that netted him about $9 million alone. He also earned about $6 million in streaming and another $1.1 million in record sales. He has been featured on a few collaborations, and he doesn't seem to be slowing down in the least. You can watch for Scott to have a big 2020 as well.
The Rolling Stones - $16.5 Million
The Rolling Stones are still earning millions after all these years. One of the most legendary rock groups in history, they earned more than $16.5 million in 2019. The guys still head out on the road to perform for fans, and that brought in more than $12 million just from doing shows.
They earned $2.4 million from streaming and another $1.2 million from record sales, making them one of the most lucrative ongoing bands of all time. They also have a handful of upcoming tour dates, so you might see them on this list next year too.
Chris Stapleton - $17 Million
Chris Stapleton debuted his first album Traveller — no word on why he chose the British spelling — back in 2015, so he is relatively new to the country scene. His newness doesn't make him a stranger to earning money, however. In fact, Stapleton finds himself in good company on the highest earners list.
In 2019, he earned nearly $17 million, with more than half of those earnings coming from touring. He earned about $1.8 million in record sales, $2.1 million in streaming and nearly $1 million in publishing rights. It's pretty clear that the future looks bright for this guy.
Foo Fighters - $17 Million
Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters in 1994, and he hasn't looked back since. The well-known band earned about $17 million in 2019, collecting the majority of that total from touring. The Foo Fighters play various venues from ballparks to indoor arenas and earned more than $14.5 million in tour money alone.
They had less income from sales and streaming, but it certainly wasn’t too shabby. They brought in just over $1 million from those avenues. The group is expected to tour in 2020, but nothing is on the books quite yet.
Def Leppard - $17.5 Million
Def Leppard is an English rock band best known for the hit track "Pour Some Sugar on Me." The group earned more than $17.5 million in 2019, making them one of the highest earning bands in the world.
The majority of Def Leppard's annual income came from touring, with $15.9 million earned in ticket sales, merchandise and other non-specific, tour-related items. The group earned less money from streaming, publishing rights and sales, netting about $0.5 million from each venue. Regardless, they have a pretty steady — and impressive — income stream.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - $17.5 Million
While you might think of Trans-Siberian Orchestra as being a holiday band — well, you would be right. The group tours for about two months out of the year, playing some of the most electrifying holiday sounds for adoring fans. In 2019, they raked in more than $17.5 million on tour.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra was named one of the best-selling tour acts of the 2000s by Pollstar and Billboard. Tickets vary in price, but with shows nearly every night of the week around the holidays, it's no wonder the group takes in some serious money every year.
Imagine Dragons - $18 Million
Imagine Dragons came onto the music scene in 2008, and the group has only increased their popularity since then. In 2019 alone, the band earned more than $18 million, spread out fairly evenly across various income sources.
The band members earned the most money from their tour, collecting about $7 million from Origins ticket and merchandise sales. They earned another $4.4 million for publishing rights, $4.3 million for streaming and about $2 million for record sales. Billboard named Imagine Dragons the Breakthrough Band of 2013 and the Biggest Band of 2017. Shows are set to continue into 2020 and beyond.
Journey - $19 Million
"Don't stop believing" in Journey — ever! Their music has been around since the early '70s, and it just never gets old. In 2019, the group brought in an impressive $19 million, with the majority coming from their various shows. They toured through the end of the year and then took a short break before their planned return to the stage in May 2020.
It's not surprising that Journey still makes decent money from streaming and publishing rights as well. The group made $1.5 million from streaming and nearly another $1 million in publishing rights last year.
Metallica - $20 Million
Metallica is one of the more diversified bands on this list. The group earned nearly $20 million in 2019 by tapping into various income streams. They made more than $4.5 million in record sales and another $3.4 million from streaming.
But that's just the beginning. Metallica took in another $1.4 for publishing rights, and their tour brought in another $10 million over the past 11 months. The band has tour dates well into 2020, which pretty much ensures they will make the highest earning musicians' list again next year.
U2 - $21 Million
U2 has been around since the late '70s, but the band is far from washed-up has-been status. In fact, they still bring in some serious cash year after year. In 2019, in particular, the Irish rock band brought in more than $21 million, based heavily on money from their nationwide tour.
In 2019, U2 earned more than $19 million for their Joshua Tree Tour. Playing large arenas all over the world, the band continues to win over new fans in various countries with their unique sound. Tickets to their shows range from $20 to $462, and they usually play about two shows per week.
Post Malone - $22 Million
Post Malone broke onto the scene in 2015, and he isn't going away anytime soon. In 2019, he earned more than $22 million, and his songs are some of the most streamed in the world. In fact, Malone earned a solid $7 million on tour, but he actually earned the majority of his income from streaming.
With more than $1.6 million coming in from record sales, Post's streaming totals were more than $10 million, making him one of the most-streamed artists on this list. As of early 2020, he has the second-highest number of streams on Spotify, right behind Ed Sheeran.
Maroon 5 - $23 Million
The guys of Maroon 5 seem to have gotten a bit of a boost in their 2019 earnings, thanks to a tour that netted them about $19 million. Their catchy tunes also earned them nearly $4 million in streaming, which added to their annual earnings of more than $23 million.
The group is made up of eight guys, including frontman Adam Levine. Over the past few years, Levine's net worth has grown exponentially. He jumped to $120 million in 2019, up $25 million from 2018, which is pretty impressive.
Luke Bryan - $24 Million
Perhaps one of the most well-known, well-respected guys in country music, Luke Bryan is also one of the genre's highest earners. In 2019, he made nearly $24 million, with more than $19 million coming in from touring alone.
Impressed? You should be — and here’s why. Bryan also earned nearly $1 million in record sales and another $2.6 million in streaming. His sixth studio album, "What Makes You Country," was released back in 2017. It peaked at number one on the Top Country Album charts in the United States.
Jay-Z - $32 Million
Jay-Z is one of the highest earning musicians of 2019, and one of the highest earning rappers of all time. In 2019, he pulled down more than $32 million, which further expanded his already massive net worth, which currently sits at $1 billion. That’s right — $1 billion. Not bad for a boy with a rough start in life, right?
Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, are an unstoppable power couple. With more than $27 million made in tour money, Jay-Z is running the town with ease. He earned an additional $1.7 million in record sales and $2.9 million in streaming, proving that Hova's music has staying power.
Bruno Mars - $32 Million
Bruno Mars is no stranger to the top of the music charts, so it’s no surprise he earned millions in 2019. He hasn’t released a new album since 2016, but he still managed to earn nearly $1 million in record sales in 2019.
Overall, Mars has an estimated net worth of $150 million. That number seems pretty realistic, considering he has made more than $32 million in 2019 alone. He has toured off and on for the past couple of years, and he still packs the house wherever he goes. You can certainly expect more great music soon.
Beyoncé - $33 Million
Queen Bey never disappoints. Beyoncé and her husband, Jay-Z, who is also on this list, made tons of money on their joint tour. Beyoncé herself raked in more than $27 million performing for fans all over the globe.
The "Single Ladies" singer makes a great deal of money from streaming as well. In fact, streaming was one of her biggest income sources for the year. In 2019, she earned more than $4 million from streaming. Of course, she has some of the most popular songs ever recorded, so megabucks from streaming is to be expected — year after year.
Pink - $35 Million
"So what, she's still a rock star!" Pink is still rocking the stage whenever she goes on tour, and she made more than $31 million in 2019 because of it. In total, the mom of two brought in more than $35 million in 2019, making her one of the elite musicians on this list.
The "Walk Me Home" singer released her latest album Hurts 2B Human in April 2019, and it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 200 in the U.S. The album also went gold in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Billy Joel - $35 Million
Billy Joel has been a staple in the music industry for as long as we can remember. His concerts sell out, no matter the venue, and he has never failed to see nice paychecks every year from various music sources. The majority of this year's $35 million came from ticket sales and concert merchandise, like T-shirts and keychains.
Joel also sees a steady income every year from album and song downloads, which isn't surprising. No matter how old you are, Billy Joel is always relevant. Age is merely a number, and this 70-year-old superstar has still got everything it takes.
Elton John - $36 Million
Elton John announced his farewell tour, and his fans came out to support him in droves in 2019. He earned more than $33 million from his Yellow Brick Road Tour last year. In fact, things went so well, that he recently added 24 more shows to his plans for 2020.
The "Candle in the Wind" singer brought in more than $36 million this year. With earnings of $1.5 million in streaming, more than $0.8 million in record sales and almost $0.5 million for publishing rights, Elton John is clearly going out on a high note.
The Eagles - $36 Million
The Eagles' first greatest hits album, simply titled Their Greatest Hits, has sold more than 26 million copies since its release in 1976. (That’s right — The Eagles already had a greatest hits album by 1976.) In 2019, the group earned more than $1 million in record sales and an additional $2.2 million in streaming.
Their income was just getting started with those figures. These guys have been legends forever, and their tours attract monster-size crowds. The Eagles earned more than $33 million on tour in 2019, and their tour dates extend into 2020 with shows at Madison Square Garden in New York and the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Justin Timberlake - $37 Million
Justin Timberlake is one of the most successful solo artists who ever started as a member of a boy band. After leaving *NSYNC in 2002, Timberlake saw nothing but love and support from fans, and that translated to a steady stream of dollars into his bank account.
In 2019, he earned more than $37 million. The majority of his income came from touring, as he raked in $33 million doing various shows. He earned an additional $1.4 million in record sales and $2.2 million in streaming. That's a far cry from his days on The Mickey Mouse Club, wouldn’t you say?
Ed Sheeran - $42 Million
Ed Sheeran had quite an amazing year in 2019. Aside from joining forces with Justin Bieber and Travis Scott, Sheeran brought in money from all different kinds of revenue streams. In 2019, he earned a cool $42 million, and he has no plans to slow down.
With almost $1.7 million in record sales, $4.8 million in streaming and $2.5 million for publishing rights, Sheeran is doing more than "okay" when it comes to building his savings account. Of course, there's also that mere $33 million he earned from touring, but who's counting?
Kenny Chesney - $43 Million
Kenny Chesney has made quite a name for himself on the country music scene. In 2019, he earned almost $43 million, thanks largely to a tour that took over football stadiums and other large arenas all over the country. The tour earned Chesney about $38 million from ticket sales, merchandise and other non-specified, tour-related items.
He also earned $1 million from music sales and an additional $2.6 million from streaming content. "No Shoes Nation" isn't letting this country boy down in the least!
Drake - $53 Million
Drake made some serious bank in 2019. Earning almost $53 million for the year, he was one of the highest earning musicians of 2019 — and beyond. Drake's bank account was nicely padded, thanks to an incredibly successful world tour that netted him somewhere in the $30 million range.
In case that wasn’t enough, he also earned more than $1.6 million in album and song sales and an overwhelming $17 million in streaming. His last album, Scorpion, was released in 2018 and went five times platinum in the United States.
Bruce Springsteen - $53 Million
When you’re known as "The Boss," it only seems fitting that you’re one of the highest earning musicians of 2019. Bruce Springsteen’s fan base is beyond supportive, consistently buying concert tickets at sold-out venues all over the country. In fact, he earned more than $51 million touring the world in 2019 alone.
Springsteen also still sells a lot of albums and earned about $0.5 million in sales. He released his most recent album, titled Western Stars, on June 14, 2019. Between songs from that album and some older song downloads, "The Boss" earned almost $1 million from streaming.
Taylor Swift - $100 Million
Taylor Swift made her triumphant return to the music scene in 2019, releasing her first album in two years — and it was a huge success. Lover earned more than $1.5 million in 2019 after its August 23 release. That was just a drop in the bucket on the earnings that landed Swift in the top spot as the highest earning musician of 2019.
She made a whopping $100 million for the year, with the majority of that income from her world tour. Between ticket sales and merchandise, the Reputation singer brought in more than $90 million from the tour alone. That's not too shabby for someone who wasn’t even 30 yet!