The world's top 10 musicians collectively earned $2.3bn in 2021. Music earnings analyst Zack O'Malley Greenburg has published his annual "music money list". His headline finding is the eyewatering stat above – but he also estimates that the $2.3bn figure is "double what they were making on an annual basis in the years right before the Covid-19 pandemic." Eh what?
Well, it's down to those big time catalogue acqusitions which we regularly cover in this mailer. Top-ranked Bruce Springsteen ($590m of estimated 2021 earnings), Paul Simon ($260m), Ryan Tedder ($200m), the Red Hot Chili Peppers ($145m), Lindsey Buckingham ($100m), Mötley Crüe ($95m) and Blake Shelton ($83m) have all sold catalogues this past year. In tenth place is Taylor Swift ($80m), who seems to be the only one who makes the majority of her money directly from traditional revenue streams.
She's the only female too, something that Greenburg hasn't avoided in his analysis: "For every Springsteen signed to a record deal, how many female rockers were ignored? For every Dylan given freedom to write his songs — and accumulate intellectual property — how many women got pigeonholed as just singers?" Hear hear. Via Rolling Stone/Zack O'Malley Greenburg