logo


Highest-Paid Musicians 2012: Dr. Dre, Roger Waters, Elton John, U2 Lead Pack

Highest Paid Musicians 2012

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 11/29/12 EST Updated: 11/30/12 EST

Another year, another crop of musicians making bank. Forbes has released its list of highest-paid musicians, led this year not by a popstar or rock band, but a doctor. Despite sounding angry in every song, rapper and beatmaker Dr. Dre earned a cool $110 million between May 2011 and May 2012. Most of that had nothing to do with the production of music, though: Dre earned the vast majority of that from his über-trendy headphone line, Beats by Dre.

Others leading the pack: Roger Waters (a founding member of Pink Floyd) with $88 million, Elton John with $80 million, U2 with $78 million and Take That with $69 million. That's a top 5 with one American and no one that's currently in the top 10 of the Billboard singles chart.

Britney Spears, the highest-earning woman comes in at No. 7 with $58 million. Taylor Swift tied Paul McCartney for the eighth slot. Both raked in $57 million over the course of the year.

Other hotshots: Justin Bieber rounds out the top 10 with $55 million, Rihanna lands at No. 12 ($53 million) and is followed by Lady Gaga ($52 million), Katy Perry and Diddy tied for 15th ($45 million) and Beyonce out-earned husband Jay-Z ($40 million and $38 million). Another tie: Adele and Kanye West at No. 22 with $35 million.

Some quick thoughts: U2 had topped the list since 2009 but fell two slots. Dre and Waters are unlikely to be among the first names that come to mind when one thinks of pop music. Their success points to big business (HTC bought Dre's headphone company for $300 million, though Dre and his partners bought back a large chunk of the company) and relentless touring (Waters plays "The Wall" in its entirety as part of a large-scale concert) as more efficient means of money-making than recording music. Also: Jay-Z + Beyonce = U2.

Head over to Forbes for the full list.

Loading Slideshow...
  • 2014 MTV Video Music Awards - Fixed Show

    INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Jay-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy Carter onstage at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - East Rutherford

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 11: Jay-Z and Beyonce perform during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at MetLife Stadium on July 11, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - Houston

    HOUSTON, TX - JULY 18: Jay-Z and Beyonce perform during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at Minute Maid Park on July 18, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - Houston

    HOUSTON, TX - JULY 18: Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at Minute Maid Park on July 18, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - East Rutherford

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 11: Jay-Z and Beyonce perform during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at MetLife Stadium on July 11, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - Chicago

    CHICAGO, IL - JULY 24: Jay-Z (L) and Beyonce perform onstage during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at Soldier Field on July 24, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • "On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z" - Pasadena

    PASADENA, CA - AUGUST 02: Jay-Z (L) and Beyonce perform during the 'On The Run Tour: Beyonce And Jay-Z' at the Rose Bowl on August 2, 2014 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment)

  • Celebrites Attend The Miami Heat Vs Brooklyn Nets Game - May 12, 2014

    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Jay-Z and Beyonce attend the Miami Heat vs Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on May 12, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)