Rolling Stone has unveiled its list of the 10 highest-earning musical artists for 2021, and the tally is mostly made up of veteran acts who sold the rights to their music catalogs last year.
At the top of the list is Bruce Springsteen, which earned $590 million last year, including $550 million from the sale of its copyrights and master recordings to Sony, the parent company of its longtime label. The Boss’s earnings in 2021 also included money he earned from his performances of Springsteen on Broadway, the Spotify podcast he did with barack obamaand the book from the podcast.
Landing at No. 3 on the count was Paul Simonwho enjoyed a salary of $260 million in 2021. Simon also sold his entire music catalog to Sony Music Publishing last year, including his solo compositions and those he wrote for Simon & Garfunkel.
Also in the top 10 of the list were Hot red peppers ranked 6th with $145 million in revenue, Lindsey Buckingham ranked 7th with $100 million and Motley Crue ranked 8th with $95 million in revenue. All three acts sold the rights to their music publishing and/or master recordings in 2021.
Speaking of the recent flurry of music catalog acquisitions, Josh GrussCEO of Round Hill Music, notes: “These are almost like works of art – there are a finite number of real, really high quality hit songs from the past – and there is this kind of total grab to own these rights. … It’s a very steady stream of income that’s there.
Only three top 10 artists didn’t sell their music rights last year — Jay Z, Kanye West and Taylor Swift.
Here are the 10 artists who made the most money in 2021
1. Bruce Springsteen — $590 million
2. Jay-Z — $470 million
3. Paul Simon — $260 million
4. Kanye West — $250 million
5. Ryan Tedder — $200 million
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers – $145 million
7. Lindsey Buckingham — $100 million
8. Mötley Crüe — $95 million
9. Blake Shelton — $83 million
10. Taylor Swift — $80 million
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