Are you a successful musician/composer/songwriter? Have you amassed a tremendous amount of wealth as a result? Do you have millions of adoring fans who will wait in line for weeks just so they can buy tickets to your concerts? Got a room large enough to house your collection of Grammys, Tonys, Oscars and whatnot? Then you might just be on our list of the richest musicians in the world! But don’t be disappointed if you aren’t.
10. Madonna ($590 Million)
Madonna has sold more than 300 million records throughout her career, making her the most successful female artist of all-time according to Guinness World Records. While she will always be best known for her 1980s pop hits, since 2000 she has released 7 albums, 6 of which reached #1 on the charts, including her most recent album Madame X, released in June 2019. In addition, several of her concert tours rank among the highest-grossing of all time. She also writes children’s books and owns seven Grammys and a pair of Golden Globes. The bottom line: the fact that Madonna is still relevant after nearly 40 years should give comfort to all grandmas
9. Julio Iglesias ($600 Million)
Everybody knows who Julio Iglesias is, even if it’s that he’s the singer guy who happens to be the father of Enrique, but can anybody under 50 name a single song of his? We sure as hell can’t! But regardless, he’s the most commercially successful European singer of all time, continuing to sell out wherever he goes. The man is a workhorse, having performed in concert more than 5000 times in his 50+ year career. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that music wasn’t even his first love; he was a professional soccer player whose budding career as a goalkeeper came to a halt after he got into a serious car accident that left him unable to walk for two years. Fun fact: back in 2007 when he failed to sell his $25 million Miami mansion, he just had the thing torn down and built a new house on the property because who was going to stop him?
8. Bono ($700 Million)
While U2 hasn’t put out a decent album in quite some time, they can probably be forgiven. After all, they’ve sold around 160 million records, have won more Grammys than any band in history (22), and when adjusted for inflation, their 2009-11 U2 360° Tour ranks as the highest-grossing of all-time. But aside from his duties as the band’s lead singer, Bono wears several other hats, including advocate for social issues, the environment, and world peace. He’s also an astute businessman and venture capitalist.
7. Dr. Dre ($800 million)
The D.R.E began as a member of the influential rap group NWA and his first solo album, 1992’s The Chronic, was an absolute game changer, catapulting gangsta rap into the mainstream without losing its edge. But after he crapped out a compilation album in 1997 and released a mediocre second solo album (called 2001 because it was released in 2001, see?), that was the end of Dre as a solo artist. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a king maker and business genius. After all, he’s the one who made Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, and Kendrick Lamar. He also decided that if he sold headphones for $200, people would buy them, and boy did his brilliantly stupid idea work! In 2014 he ended up selling his Beats By Dre product line to Apple for $3 billion!
6. Celine Dion ($800 million)
Sure, “My Heart Will Go On”might be one of the most grating noises of all time (up there with scratching a chalkboard with a fork), but Celine Dion knew how to ride that Titanic wave/iceberg to success. She’s the most commercially successful Canadian musical artist of all-time. Admittedly, we’re only talking about Canada here. But let me ask you this question, dear reader: had you been born in Canada (or even if you actually were born in America’s winter hat), could you have sold 200 million records and amassed a fortune of nearly a billion dollars? Probably not.
5. Sean “Puffy” Combs ($820 million)
P. Diddy is something of an anomaly. Back when the Notorious B.I.G still dwelled in the Land of Mortals, Combs was basically his sidekick. Then B.I.G. was murdered, and suddenly Puffy skyrocketed to fame as a result of his songs paying tribute to his dead friend. Most of his music was complete crap, essentially just sampling the hell out of other songs (and when we say “sampling,” we practically mean hitting a play button, singing over somebody else’s music, and calling it a day.) But more than 20 years later, he remains super wealthy and famous, thanks to his clothing and perfume lines, along with his Bad Boy Entertainment, which was responsible for MTV’s Making of the Band and therefore, *cough cough* O-Town.
4. Herb Alpert ($880 Million)
Good Lord, who on Earth is this guy and how did he make it onto this list? It’s simple: he was the A in A&M Records, the recording label that he eventually sold to PolyGram for a cool $500 million. In fairness, he was a relatively accomplished musician as well, with 5 of his albums reaching #1 on the charts, winning 9 Grammys, and in 2013 receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama himself!
3. Jay-Z ($1 billion)
Roc-A-Fella Records; Jay-Z runs a successful recording company. Rocawear; Jay-Z has a hugely successful clothing line too. 100 million albums sold. 19 Grammys. At the age of 12, he shot his own brother for stealing some of his jewelry. That’s not a lie/joke, you can look it up. He managed to swoon Beyonce. What else needs to be said???
2. Sir Paul McCarney
It’s not just that Sir Paul was a member of the most influential rock group in music history (Wings, obviously), he’s one shrewd cat. For instance, by insisting on co-writing credits for every Beatles song (whether he actually wrote the tune or not), he guaranteed himself riches beyond belief. He holds 25,000 copyrights, has won every possible award known to man, and “Yesterday” is both the most played song in the history of radio, as well as the most covered.
1. Andrew Lloyd Webber ($1.28 billion)
He composed the musical Cats, guys! That’s all you ever need to know about the guy.