When it comes to the top earners in music over the past decade, nobody tops Dr. Dre. The man behind the classic hip-hop album, The Chronic, is No. 1 on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid musicians for the past 10 years, just ahead of Taylor Swift. However, Dre lands there due to a major business venture rather than just his music.
Dre, Swift, Beyonce among highest-paid musicians
Dr. Dre hasn’t necessarily been active in terms of making a lot of music over the past 10 years. However, his entrepreneurial prowess paid off big for him in the form of his sale of Beats by Dre headphones. It was a $3 billion buyout which helped boost Dre to the top of this list, as he claimed $950 million for the decade without touring a whole lot.
Just behind Dre is the recent artist of the decade winner, Taylor Swift, who has been touring and making music. Swift released her newest album, Lover, this past year and it surpassed three million album-equivalent units sold in just its first week.
Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour also grossed $266 million in 2019, setting a U.S. record. That certainly helps with her surpassing a diva like Beyonce on the list. For the past decade, Forbes has Swift as having earned $825 million, putting her not far from Dr. Dre.
Here’s a look at Forbes’ top 10 list which includes mostly solo acts, with the exception of U2:
10. Lady Gaga, $500 million
9. Katy Perry, $530 million
8. Paul McCartney, $535 million
7. JAY-Z, $560 million
6. Elton John, $565 million
5. Diddy, $605 million
4. U2, $675 million
3. Beyoncé, $685 million
2. Taylor Swift, $825 million
1. Dr. Dre, $950 million
Another of the artists up above who did very little in terms of his music-making or touring was Diddy. He has shown his business savvy, and his Ciroc vodka partnership with Diageo has been helping him keep the cash flowing.
Meanwhile, Jay-Z made headlines this past decade as the first musician to ever cross the $1 billion mark thanks to making music, business deals, and touring with his wife, Queen Bey.
As 2020 approaches, one has to wonder how this list will look in another decade. Will another hip hop star be sitting atop the list heading into 2030?