2021 saw a lot of artists leave the year with a lot more money than they had at the start of it. Now, Rolling Stone has compiled a list of last year’s highest-earning musicians, and on top is Bruce Springsteen, who, largely to his massive catalog sale, brought in $590 million in 2021.
The rest of the list is mostly populated by artists who secured their bags with similar sales: Paul Simon is No. 3, Ryan Tedder is No. 5, Red Hot Chili Peppers is No. 6, Lindsey Buckingham is No. 7, Motley Crüe is No. 8, and Blake Shelton is No. 9. Meanwhile, Jay-Z is second on the list with $470 million and therefore No. 1 among artists whose 2021 earnings weren’t mostly thanks to catalog sales. Other big sales were involved, though: He sold half of his Armand de Brignac champagne for $300 million, and he and other Tidal co-owners sold 80 percent of the company for $302 million. The only other artists on the list who didn’t make bank from catalog sales are Ye (aka Kanye West) at No. 4 and Taylor Swift at No. 10. Swift is also the only woman on the list.
Zack O’Malley Greenburg, who penned the Rolling Stone post, also unveiled an extended version of the list in his newsletter, which includes Neil Young at No. 11 (the highest-ranking act not born in the US) and The Rolling Stones at No. 12.
As for the methodology used to compile the list, the publications notes, “The list measures pre-tax income for calendar year 2021 before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers, living expenses, etc. Estimates are generated by scouring public documents and interviewing individuals with direct knowledge of major deals.”
Check out the list here.