Bruce Springsteen has topped the list of the ten highest-paid musicians of 2021 – with an eye-watering $590million – after selling his publishing rights s to Sony.
The list, collated by Rolling Stone, unveils which musical acts have raked in the most revenue in a pandemic year that saw little touring, and physical album sales being increasingly trounced by streaming platforms.
However, the musicians featured in the list netted a combined $2.3 billion, more than double what they were making on an annual basis in the years before COVID-19.
This has been put down to their massive catalog sales, aside from Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift.
Still The Boss! Bruce Springsteen tops list of ten highest-paid musicians of 2021 (Pictured above playing a benefit in New York City on Dec. 13, 2021 in New York City)
The rest of the acts made the most of their fortunes by selling copyrights.
Springsteen, 72, made history last December with his massive $550 million paycheck from selling his masters, and added a few more millions with his return to Broadway last summer.
Top ten highest-paid musicians 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)
He also raked in millions more thanks to his Spotify podcast with Barack Obama Renegades: Born in the USA and an accompanying book of the same name.
Coming in at number two on the list was hip-hop mogul Jay-Z who made millions last year thanks to various business deal.
He reportedly notched up a grand total of $470 million according to the report, after selling 80 per cent of his streaming service Tidal, and his half of his Armand de Brignac champagne to luxury giant LVMH
Another heritage act to reap the benefits of their back catalogue was Paul Simon ($260million) after selling his entire catalog to Sony in March last year.
The deal also included his songs that he wrote as being part of Simon and Garfunkel.
Kanye West is said to have netted around $250million, but not from his musical output (the rapper released his tenth album Donda last year).
West – or Ye as he likes to be called – made the bulk of his cash from his Yeezy footwear brand.
Songwriter Ryan Tedder – who has penned songs for Adele – scored $200 million, after private equity firm KKR acquired the rest of his publishing rights in January last year.
Again, the Red Hot Chili Peppers may not have had a hit album or tour last year, but they did receive $145million for their back catalog to Hipgnosis in a deal that was made in May last year.
Big pay days: Both Taylor Swift ($80 million) and Jay-Z ($470 million) made the list
Pay day from their heyday: Despite not currently touring or releasing new music, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made $145 million by selling their back catalogue
Ways to make money: Kanye West was a big earner thanks to his Yeezy footwear line… while songwriter Ryan Tedder sold the rest of his publishing rights away
Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham did a similar deal for $100 million with the same company.
The report notes that Stevie Nicks, who sold her catalog for $100 million in December 2020, missed out on entering the list due to the cut off date.
Nicks’ absence meant that Taylor Swift – who came in at number 10 with $80 million – was the sole female on the list.
Score: Another heritage act to reap the benefits of their back catalogue was Paul Simon ($260million) after selling his entire catalog to Sony in March last year (Pic, 2016)
While her catalog was notoriously taken from her and sold to Scooter Braun, Swift began to re-record her old albums.
The pure sales of these re-recordings – including Red (Taylor’s Version) and Fearless (Taylor’s Version) – meant that the singer received an impressive payday despite her grievances with her old record label.
She is also said to have made big money deals with the likes of Peloton and Starbucks.
Blake Shelton – who makes $13million per season of The Voice – made it to number nine.
The report notes that he received around $50million for a catalog sale. Shelton already has an estimated worth of around $100million.
Shock rock: Mötley Crüe made $95 million after selling their masters to BMG
Lucky Gwen! Blake Shelton made $83 million thanks to a catalog sale and his millions he earns from The Voice