Highest paid musicians in 2019

Written by:
October 10, 2019
Rick Diamond // Getty Images for NARAS

Highest paid musicians in 2019

The music industry has become increasingly dynamic in a changing world of collaboration albums, ever-growing streaming volume, digital distribution, visual albums, and mixtapes. To keep up with the many avenues of creativity and business artists have broken out into in recent years, the industry has had to adapt.

Making it as a top earner in this industry requires markedly different income streams than the album and ticket sales of years past. Today, digital sales and streaming count for a great deal and have the power to revive revenue on classic albums as well as favor profit from singles over albums. But with so many moving parts, it's hard to understand how much musicians are actually making.

To determine who ranks among the highest-paid musicians in 2019, Stacker collected 2018 Billboard data rankings (released July 2019) that represent the 40 highest-paid musicians in the world. Overall earnings, along with the breakdown of the artist's four main sources of music industry revenue—sales, streaming, publishing, touring—for each musician is provided.

Musicians were ranked from least to most based on their total earnings for that year. The lowest income earner on the list made $12 million in 2018 while the top earner of the year came within striking distance of a cool $100 million. The musicians run the gamut from country to hip-hop and most places in between. Throw on some favorite tracks and click through to see if your #1 artist made the list.

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#40. Shania Twain

- Total earnings: $12,000,000
--- Sales: $275,300
--- Streaming: $480,500
--- Publishing: $175,600
--- Touring: $11,000,000

Canadian country singer Shania Twain is often regarded as the "Queen of Country Pop," leading the way for a genre all its own. Her iconic 1997 album "Come on Over" sold over 40 million records, making it the best-selling album by a female artist. While she stepped out of the limelight following her huge success after separating from her husband in 2008, she came back from her hiatus to tour her 2017 album "Now."

#39. XXXTenacion

- Total earnings: $12,100,000
--- Sales: $695,000
--- Streaming: $9,100,000
--- Publishing: $2,370,000
--- Touring: $0

South Florida rapper Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, who adopted the professional moniker XXXTenacion, earned his musical chops upon the release of his album "17," which earned him a spot XXL's highly reputable 2017 Freshman List. Despite his success, XXXTenacion lived a turbulent life, including serving time for a domestic battery charge in 2017. He was assassinated at the age of 20 in Deerfield Beach, Fla on June 18, 2018. Earlier that year, he released an album called "?" that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

#38. Lynyrd Skynyrd

- Total earnings: $12,700,000
--- Sales: $904,000
--- Streaming: $1,400,000
--- Publishing: $797,000
--- Touring: $9,600,000

One of the "hair rock" bands of the 1970s, Lynyrd Skynyrd defined Southern rock during its heyday. Arguably their most recognizable song "Sweet Home Alabama" has been featured in many movies (and even inspiring the title of 2002 film "Sweet Home Alabama" starring Reese Witherspoon) and commercials since its debut in 1973, solidifying its place in pop culture.

#37. Queen + Adam Lambert

- Total earnings: $13,800,000
--- Sales: $4,600,000
--- Streaming: $4,800,000
--- Publishing: $1,900,000
--- Touring: $2,500,000

A collaboration between the remaining active members of British rock band Queen and "American Idol" star Adam Lambert, they joined forces in 2011 and debuted their "Live in Japan" album in 2016. The band is largely a touring band with Lambert performing vocals for Queen's iconic roster of songs. The collaboration is still very much active and gearing up for their 2020 Rhapsody tour.

#36. Sam Smith

- Total earnings: $13,800,000
--- Sales: $608,100
--- Streaming: $2,200,000
--- Publishing: $631,400
--- Touring: $10,400,000

The London crooner Sam Smith took over American charts with the debut of their 2014 album "In the Lonely Hour," which featured the hit single, "Stay With Me." Their intensely vulnerable lyrics and soulful sound was awarded with four Grammys (for their first album). Smith's second album "The Thrill of It All" debuted in 2017 with a poppier kick. They announced they are in the process of creating their third album following the release of single "How Do You Sleep?" which was released in June 2019.

#35. Keith Urban

- Total earnings: $14,000,000
--- Sales: $1,000,000
--- Streaming: $1,400,000
--- Publishing: $765,700
--- Touring: $10,900,000

New Zealand-born, Australian-raised country singer Keith Urban released his first album in 2000, earning critical acclaim and recognition as CMA's "Top New Male Vocalist" in 2001. Through the years, Urban has won four Grammys and released 10 albums, and he was a judge on "American Idol" from 2012 to 2016. While on "American Idol," Urban maintained his music career, releasing "Fuse," "Ripchord," and most recently, 2018's "Graffiti U."

#34. Panic! at the Disco

- Total earnings: $14,300,000
--- Sales: $1,780,000
--- Streaming: $2,700,000
--- Publishing: $2,400,000
--- Touring: $7,400,000

A rock band hailing from Las Vegas, Panic! at the Disco was originally made up of childhood friends Brandon Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson. They were one of the biggest acts to come out of the 2000s emo-pop movement alongside bands like Fall Out Boy and became instantly recognizable from their dramatic music video for their song "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Currently, lead singer Brendon Urie is the only remaining original member of the band. They recently released an album in 2018 called "Pray for the Wicked."

#33. Jennifer Lopez

- Total earnings: $14,400,000
--- Sales: $80,200
--- Streaming: $831,100
--- Publishing: $28,500
--- Touring: $13,400,000

Jennifer Lopez, sometimes referred to as J.Lo, has accomplished the tough task of straddling the music and film world with huge success. She hit her musical stride when her 2001 self-titled album "J.Lo" debuted at #1 on the pop charts. Since then, she has grown in both her acting and musical endeavors, most recently starring in the box office hit "Hustlers" and announcing that she will be performing alongside Shakira at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show.

#32. Jason Aldean

- Total earnings: $14,600,000
--- Sales: $1,500,000
--- Streaming: $2,900,000
--- Publishing: $38,000
--- Touring: $10,100,000

Country musician Jason Aldean moved to Nashville at the age of 21 and spent many of his first years in obscurity. It wasn't until his 2005 debut self-titled album that he launched into superstardom. In 2016 Aldean won his first Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Award.

#31. Twenty One Pilots

- Total earnings: $14,700,000
--- Sales: $1,200,000
--- Streaming: $2,500,000
--- Publishing: $2,250,000
--- Touring: $8,600,000

Originating from Columbus, Ohio, Twenty One Pilots is comprised of the core duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. The band won their first Grammy from their hit single "Stressed Out" on their 2015 album "Blurryface." That album went on to become multi-platinum and became one of the best-selling albums of the year worldwide. The band is currently touring their 2018 album "Trench."

#30. Romeo Santos

- Total earnings: $14,800,000
--- Sales: $47,400
--- Streaming: $1,500,000
--- Publishing: $709,400
--- Touring: $12,600,000

Singer Romeo Santos, also known as the "King of Bachata," made history this year by becoming the first Latin singer to headline at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. He is setting the precedent of sold out shows for Latin music and had previously sold out two consecutive shows at Yankees Stadium in New York. Santos is currently touring his 2019 album "Utopia."

#29. Dave Matthews Band

- Total earnings: $15,100,000
--- Sales: $1,100,000
--- Streaming: $894,000
--- Publishing: $751,600
--- Touring: $12,200,000

Dave Matthews Band is arguably the most popular jam band of this era. With die-hard fans that flock to shows in droves, the band was formed in 1991 Charlottesville, Va. The band began by playing college frat parties and grew to regularly topping Billboard charts whenever they drop an album.

#28. Dead & Company

- Total earnings: $15,470,000
--- Sales: $932,400
--- Streaming: $679,900
--- Publishing: $370,600
--- Touring: $13,500,000

The most recent iteration of legendary classic rock jam band the Grateful Dead, Dead & Company is currently comprised of original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann along with pop superstar John Mayer. The band formed after the Dead's 2015 Fare Thee Well farewell tour and have toured all over the world. Dead and the gang just finished their 2019 Summer Tour just as John Mayer begins recording his upcoming solo album.

#27. J. Cole

- Total earnings: $16,000,000
--- Sales: $820,600
--- Streaming: $4,700,000
--- Publishing: $2,300,000
--- Touring: $8,100,000

Jermaine Cole, or J. Cole, is the first artist signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label. His rap music became extremely commercial with the release of his 2011 album "Cole's World: The Sideline Story," premiering at the top of the Billboard 200. On July 5 of this year, Cole released the third compilation album with Dreamville named "Revenge of the Dreamers III."

#26. Travis Scott

- Total earnings: $16,600,000
--- Sales: $1,100,000
--- Streaming: $6,100,000
--- Publishing: $525,700
--- Touring: $9,000,000

One of the first rappers to come up from the Houston rap scene along with Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Scott (born Jacques Webster) is a musician and producer associated with Kanye West's GOOD Music and T.I.'s Grand Hustle. Scott has collaborated with many big names in the hip-hop music industry, including Kanye West, 2 Chainz, and Lil Uzi Vert. His signature has become his highly autotuned style of half rap/half vocals. Scott is currently touring his 2018 album "Astroworld."

#25. The Rolling Stones

- Total earnings: $16,700,000
--- Sales: $1,200,000
--- Streaming: $2,400,000
--- Publishing: $918,500
--- Touring: $12,100,000

Forming in 1962, The Rolling Stones has gone on to be one of the most successful rock bands of all-time. During their more than 50 years as a band, The Rolling Stones have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Even more impressive, the band is currently still touring and consistently sells out huge stadiums night after night.

#24. Chris Stapleton

- Total earnings: $16,900,000
--- Sales: $1,830,000
--- Streaming: $2,100,000
--- Publishing: $977,000
--- Touring: $12,000,000

Notable for both his singing as well as his songwriting, Chris Stapleton wrote a number of songs for country, pop, and rock musicians before he ever stepped into the limelight himself. In 2015, Stapleton debuted his first album "Traveller" to high acclaim, eventually going platinum. He is currently touring his albums "From a Room" Volumes I and II on the All-American Road Show Tour.

#23. Foo Fighters

- Total earnings: $17,000,000
--- Sales: $416,700
--- Streaming: $769,500
--- Publishing: $1,200,000
--- Touring: $14,700,000

Named after the World War II name for UFOs, the Foo Fighters was formed by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. At its start, Grohl played all of the instruments in the recordings and then expanded to form a full band of musicians. Since their self-titled first album debuted in 1995, the Foo Fighters have infiltrated pop culture, leading to their single "Monkey Wrench" becoming featured in the video game "Guitar Hero."

#22. Def Leppard

- Total earnings: $17,600,000
--- Sales: $577,900
--- Streaming: $673,400
--- Publishing: $493,000
--- Touring: $15,900,000

English rock band Def Leppard is arguably the most well-known for the karaoke favorite, "Pour Some Sugar on Me." This new-wave '70s metal band reached peak commercial success in the 1980s. The band continues to generate revenue from album re-releases, live albums, and studio albums.

#21. Imagine Dragons

- Total earnings: $18,200,000
--- Sales: $2,000,000
--- Streaming: $4,300,000
--- Publishing: $4,400,000
--- Touring: $7,400,000

Imagine Dragons formed in Las Vegas and first gained recognition with their first single "It's Time" and their subsequent 2012 debut album "Night Visions." They became a notable breakout band and a quick media darling. Billboard named them their Breakthrough Band of 2013 and Biggest Band of 2017. The band is currently on a world tour for their most recent album "Origins" that was released in 2018.

#20. Trans-Siberian Orchestra

- Total earnings: $18,500,000
--- Sales: $308,000
--- Streaming: $333,300
--- Publishing: $171,300
--- Touring: $17,700,000

Conceived by composer and producer Paul O'Neill, Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a rock band that has become known for its dynamic rock-opera shows. The core members of the band originated from progressive metal band Savatage, giving the band a highly interdisciplinary sound. Despite touring for about two months out of each year, they were named by Pollstar and Billboard as one of the best-selling tour acts of the 2000s.

#19. Journey

- Total earnings: $19,100,000
--- Sales: $755,200
--- Streaming: $1,500,000
--- Publishing: $937,800
--- Touring: $15,900,000

Journey captured the rock 'n' roll spirit and wandering soul of the 1970s. With catchy beats and hopeful story-focused lyrics, the band has been able to defy generation lines, with younger fans still proudly bellowing the lyrics to their most popular hit "Don't Stop Believin'" on the dancefloor. The band has just begun their fall tour of the Northeast and will be playing shows through October.

#18. Maroon 5

- Total earnings: $19,300,000
--- Sales: $739,000
--- Streaming: $3,800,000
--- Publishing: $1,900,000
--- Touring: $12,900,000

A Los Angeles pop band that rose to fame with their first album "Songs About Jane"—a moody, yearning album that captured the hearts of fans in 2002. From that point on, the band has made many shifts in sounds, veering away from lovestruck ballads and creating more dancefloor hits. This shift in sound created a wider audience for the band and solidified its spot in pop culture. In 2011 frontman Adam Levine joined the singing game show "The Voice" as a coach and recently exited after 16 seasons.

#17. Metallica

- Total earnings: $19,600,000
--- Sales: $4,800,000
--- Streaming: $3,400,000
--- Publishing: $1,400,000
--- Touring: $9,900,000

Formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, Metallica brought the thrash metal underground scene to the mainstream. Known for their speedy riffs and aggressive performances to huge numbers of headbanging fans, the band hit the mainstream with their 1991 self-titled album that was played heavily on MTV. Ever since they formed, the band has toured consistently and shows no signs of stopping.

#16. U2

- Total earnings: $21,400,000
--- Sales: $550,800
--- Streaming: $869,100
--- Publishing: $609,800
--- Touring: $19,400,000

Formed in Dublin initially under the name Feedback, U2 formed in 1976. The band has produced iconic albums such as 1983's "War," 1987's "Joshua Tree," 1991's "Achtung Baby," and many more. The idealistic soul of the band has become its hallmark and is lead by the band's passionately political frontman Paul "Bono" Hewson. Throughout their many years producing hit albums, winning Grammys, and earning top placement on Billboard charts, all four original members have remained the same and continue to tour around the world to this day.

#15. Post Malone

- Total earnings: $22,300,000
--- Sales: $1,600,000
--- Streaming: $10,400,000
--- Publishing: $2,600,000
--- Touring: $7,800,000

Austin Richard Post, better known by his stage name Post Malone, is a rapper, singer, and producer from Texas. He launched into superstardom after releasing a string of Billboard top 10 singles that eventually reached multi-platinum status. His first record "Stoney" featured collaborations with many top artists in a variety of genres including Justin Beiber, Kehlani, and Quavo. His most recent release "Hollywood's Bleeding" also featured a number of notable collaborations and was well received by both critics and fans.

#14. Luke Bryan

- Total earnings: $23,800,000
--- Sales: $849,400
--- Streaming: $2,600,000
--- Publishing: $706,400
--- Touring: $19,700,000

Born in Georgia to a family of farmers, Luke Bryan draws country music themes organically from his childhood. It was Bryan's second album "Doin' My Thing" that launched him into country-stardom, reaching #2 on the country charts. Bryan has gone on to become one of the most recognizable faces in country music, even becoming a judge on television game show "American Idol" in 2017.

#13. Jay-Z

- Total earnings: $32,500,000
--- Sales: $1,700,000
--- Streaming: $2,900,000
--- Publishing: $256,000
--- Touring: $27,600,000

Once appearing on MTV's "Yo! MTV Raps" in 1989, Brooklyn-born rapper Jay-Z went on to sign with Roc-a-Fella Records in 1996 and released his first album "Reasonable Doubt" later that year. The album featured hip-hop heavyweights Mary J. Blige and Notorious B.I.G. and has since become a classic rap album. Jay-Z went into temporary retirement from 2003 to 2006 and reemerged with a new rock-centered sound. In August 2019, the NFL announced that they would be collaborating with Roc Nation, Jay-Z's entertainment company, in selecting acts for major performances, like the Super Bowl.

#12. Bruno Mars

- Total earnings: $32,600,000
--- Sales: $990,100
--- Streaming: $3,500,000
--- Publishing: $960,000
--- Touring: $27,200,000

Born in Honolulu, Bruno Mars earned his musical chops from his notable songwriting for popular artists in the early 2000s, including Flo Rida, Brandy, and Travie McCoy. In 2010, Mars broke out with is own hit "Nothin on You," a song originally written for artist B.o.B. The song was an instant hit and flew to #1 on the Billboard singles chart. Mars has gone on to play two Super Bowl halftime performances in 2014 and 2017.

#11. Beyoncé

- Total earnings: $33,100,000
--- Sales: $671,000
--- Streaming: $4,200,000
--- Publishing: $593,000
--- Touring: $27,600,000

Beyoncé began her professional musical career in girl-group Destiny's Child in 1990. She broke out on her first solo endeavor being featured in Jay-Z's single "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" in 2002. In 2003, in between Destiny's Child albums, Beyoncé released her first solo album "Dangerously in Love," catapulting her into superstardom that would soon eclipse her success in Destiny's Child. Regarded by her fanbase as "Queen Bey," Beyoncé has pushed the bounds of mainstream music, releasing a visual album named "Lemonade" that was well received. Most recently, she released a Netflix documentary concert film "Homecoming" that took fans behind-the-scenes of her iconic 2018 Coachella performance.

#10. P!nk

- Total earnings: $35,500,000
--- Sales: $1,200,000
--- Streaming: $1,500,000
--- Publishing: $1,100,000
--- Touring: $31,700,000

Bringing in the top 10 highest-paid musicians of 2019, pop-rocker P!nk broke out onto the pop scene in 2000 with her debut album "Can't Take Me Home" and gained further pop-culture recognition by lending her voice to "Lady Marmalade" on the 2001 film "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack alongside Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, and Mya. P!nk is currently touring her 2019 album "Hurts 2B Human."

#9. Billy Joel

- Total earnings: $35,800,000
--- Sales: $362,800
--- Streaming: $1,400,000
--- Publishing: $1,000,000
--- Touring: $33,050,000

Billy Joel signed his first solo record contract in 1972 and has since gone on to sell more than 150 million records, win 9 Grammys, and have 33 top 40 hits. He's produced a number of classics such as "Piano Man," "Uptown Girl," and "Captain Jack" that have proved themselves to be timeless. In 1999, Joel was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by his idol Ray Charles. He continues to tour the world to this day.

#8. Elton John

- Total earnings: $36,300,000
--- Sales: $813,100
--- Streaming: $1,500,000
--- Publishing: $431,700
--- Touring: $33,500,000

A memorable dresser, and a truly original vocalist among many other things, Sir Elton John is an English musician, songwriter, and philanthropist. His talent is multidimensional, with the ability to blend musical genres and distill the mood of society into lyrics. Some of his most notable hits include "Rocketman," "Crocodile Rock," and his ode to Marilyn Monroe, "Candle in the Wind." In 2018, John announced that he would perform his last tour, named "Farewell Yellow Brick Road," performing more than 300 shows across five continents until 2021.

#7. Justin Timberlake

- Total earnings: $37,400,000
--- Sales: $1,400,000
--- Streaming: $2,200,000
--- Publishing: $895,600
--- Touring: $33,000,000

Getting his start as a child star on Disney's "The New Mickey Mouse Club," Justin Timberlake went on to make it big in boy band *NSYNC. The group had a hugely successful run throughout the 1990s and produced hits like "Bye Bye Bye," "It's Gonna Be Me," and "I Promise You," and was a major player in the boy band era alongside the Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Timberlake released his first solo album "Justified" in 2002, earning a Grammy. Since his solo debut, he has made six more albums and has earned his place alongside music's highest earners. In 2018, Timberlake headlined the halftime show of the Super Bowl alongside the release of his album "Man of the Woods."

#6. The Eagles

- Total earnings: $37,500,000
--- Sales: $1,200,000
--- Streaming: $2,200,000
--- Publishing: $1,000,000
--- Touring: $33,100,000

Beginning as country artists, the Eagles were able to chronicle the wild years of the 1970s within their large catalog of songs. The band's first greatest hits album "Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) released in 1976 is among the best-selling albums of all time, selling more than 26 million copies. While the band disbanded in 1980, they reunited in 1994 due to popular demand from their fans.

#5. Ed Sheeran

- Total earnings: $41,800,000
--- Sales: $1,700,000
--- Streaming: $4,800,000
--- Publishing: $2,500,000
--- Touring: $32,800,000

English crooner Ed Sheeran hit #1 on the iTunes chart before he was ever signed to a record label. He fostered his own organic fanbase with his online performances, but that fanbase has only grown since he signed with Atlantic Records in 2011. Since then, Sheeran has won numerous Grammys, Billboard Awards, and had many #1 hits. This year he released a single with Justin Beiber titled "I Don't Care," the first single in his upcoming album of collaborations titled "No.6 Collaborations Project."

#4. Kenny Chesney

- Total earnings: $42,500,000
--- Sales: $1,000,000
--- Streaming: $2,600,000
--- Publishing: $244,900
--- Touring: $38,600,000

Making his mark with his 1994 debut album "In My Wildest Dreams," Kenny Chesney has become known for his emotionally honest, romantic ballads. He was named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association each year from 2004 to 2007, and has gone on to record 20 albums.

#3. Drake

- Total earnings: $52,500,000
--- Sales: $1,600,000
--- Streaming: $17,100,000
--- Publishing: $3,100,000
--- Touring: $30,700,000

Beginning his career in the limelight on the Canadian teen television show "Degrassi: The Next Generation," Aubrey Graham emerged as the rapper Drake with his mixtape "Room for Improvement" in 2006. After releasing his third mixtape and touring with rapper Lil Wayne, Drake signed on to Lil Wayne's music label Young Money Entertainment. Drake has gone on to record many #1 tracks and win four Grammys. The rapper has just completed his world tour of his 2018 album "Scorpion."

#2. Bruce Springsteen

- Total earnings: $53,000,000
--- Sales: $498,600
--- Streaming: $814,800
--- Publishing: $790,100
--- Touring: $50,900,000

Also known by fans as "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen is the icon of Americana rock 'n' roll. The New Jersey native is known for using his working-class roots as a recurring theme in his music. Springsteen finally hit his mainstream stride with his now classic album "Born to Run" in 1975. Most recently, the rocker has taken to the stage with his popular Broadway show "Springsteen on Broadway," earning him a Tony Award in 2018.

#1. Taylor Swift

- Total earnings: $99,600,000
--- Sales: $1,500,000
--- Streaming: $5,670,000
--- Publishing: $1,900,000
--- Touring: $90,500,000

And finally, the highest-paid musician in 2019 is country-turned-pop superstar Taylor Swift. While Swift has definitely had her ups and downs, her fans have remained loyal through it all. Swift has also been a somewhat inconsistent advocate for fair earnings for musicians beginning in July 2014 when she wrote an essay in the Wall Street Journal explaining her reasoning for removing her catalog from streaming providers like Spotify. She has since convinced Apple Music and Spotify to change the terms of their payments to artists and has added back her full catalog to both music services. From the album responsible for her sudden rush to fame, 2008's country album "Fearless," to her vengeful comeback album "Reputation," to her 2019 hit pop album "Lover," Swift has always found a way to generate media buzz and die-hard fans.

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