Music Business

Top 10 Richest Musicians Of All Time

Money-glasses-delta-mikeIt's always fun to speculate about who's making the most money. Popdust recently shared their list of the 20 richest musicians of all time and some folks may be surprised at their no. 1 pick. But the overall list didn't surprise me except for Gene Autry who came in at no. 12. Popdust's 20 Richest Musicians of All Time list doesn't reveal the methodology but does share some of the reasoning behind their choices.

Andrew Lloyd Webber comes in at no. 1 with a valuation of $1.2 billion. Popdust name checks big shows like "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Cats", mentions the good fortunes of live theater at that level of the game and Webber's formation of Really Useful Group back in '77 to profit from his work in as many ways as possible.

Top 10 Richest Musicians Of All Time:

1. Andrew Lloyd Webber: $1.2 billion

2. Paul McCartney: $800 million

3. Bono: $600 million

4. Bing Crosby: $550 million

5. Sean “Diddy” Combs: $550 million

6. Mariah Carey: $500 million

7. Jay-Z: $475 million

8. Dolly Parton: $450 million

9. Jimmy Buffett: $400 million

10. Michael Jackson: $350 million

Gene Autry comes in at no. 12 valued at $320 million. Apparently he showed up on the Forbes 400 list "for decades" and did quite well with covers of such classics as "Frosty the Snowman" as well as his rendition of a song he wrote, "Here Comes Santa Claus."

Speaking of Forbes, taking such money as porn lists at face value would be a big mistake. No disrespect to anybody in particular but GigaOm's Om Malik makes a good case for his claim that Forbes' lists are slipping focused on their Midas List of VC's and his own experience at Forbes. And given that Forbes seems a bit more serious about business than Popdust, well, you do the math

[Thumbnail photo courtesy Mike Renlund.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/ maintains Music Biz Blogs and also blogs at All World Dance: Videos.  To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. This list is wrong. Michael Jackson should be number 2 or 3, He had a 50% stake in Sony music/ATV publishing catalog wich was worth around 1 Billion back in early 2000’s (still alive) The estate of Michael Jackson in other words Michaels children still own that 50% share in the Sony/ATV catalog. I demand the author to correct the mistake. Thank you.

  2. “I demand the author to correct the mistake.”
    You do realize you’re on the wrong blog if you want to address the people that created the list.
    Also, note what I said after the list.
    If you take this too seriously, that’s a big mistake.
    But I’m with ADDAM B., where’s Bob Dylan in the mix?

  3. Ridiculous list and totally wrong for some artists, at least – MJs 50% of Sony/ATV catalog (Michael made billions, Sony/ATV catalog is worth 3 billion and consists of 3 million songs including from the Beatles, Elvis, Dylan, Gaga, Swift, Bieber….Beyonce…. Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, P!nk, Rihanna, Usher, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams… + his own songs.) is valued (at least) at 1.5 billion + his own fortune made from selling his albums, and tours…
    Diddy made his fortune from every other thing than music, from fashion brands to vodka… NOT from Music.
    Bono has his share in Facebook!
    and Beyonce…? come on…, its impossible for her to earn 400 mill. and what about Mariah Carey??? Geee, she rarely tours, she once was selling tens of millions of albums…, but now (for the last 15 years) its just a few million…, as well as Beyonce.
    Dolly Parton? Come on…, if there is Bing Crosby, where is Elvis, or Garth Brooks?? + MJ earns from the beatles, so… the selling all their records is not only about Paul, MJ has the bigger share than Paul.
    … and so on…
    The list is made of a imaginary supposition, but the math doesnt fit.

  4. Yeah, that’s why I consider it business news as entertainment.
    Another problem is that somebody could estimate revenue from particular publicly-identified sources but individual valuations related to “being rich” assume that they didn’t lose money on investments and it doesn’t account for spending even if all their revenue streams were publicly identified, among other issues.
    For example, I know Jay-Z at one point was part of a large circle of African-American business people that were defrauded by an investment advisor that worked her way into specific social circles and before being exposed was widely trusted.
    I’ve never even seen that angle discussed on any of these lists.

  5. One of the top 10 richest musicians in the world is hip-hop artist Jay-Z. Since 1996, he’s sold over 50 million records worldwide and parlayed his musical success into lucrative businesses in the realms of fashion

  6. lets see: Elvis Presley died in late 70’s with a net worth of 300 million $ which would mean if you are looking at the times, he certainly would be over the top of the list with Paul McCartney right on his heels.

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