The music legends of our time have made a fortune off of their talent, but who are the richest singers in the world? Between record sales, world tours, endorsement deals, and in some cases, movie deals, these singers have accumulated a net worth that surpasses $400 million, setting them well above their industry colleagues.
While every genre has its superstars, there are a select few singers that have managed to transcend the boundaries of their musical style, thereby gaining devoted fans in every continent. Some of the world’s richest hip-hop artists, which we listed in a previous article, can be found on this list as a result of their entrepreneurship and business vision, which boosted their personal fortune significantly. And in spite of the declining sales in the record industry, these 10 artists have found clever alternative ways of keeping the money train rolling, making them the richest singers in the world.
10. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
Estimated net worth: $440 million
With only 33 years of age, Beyoncé is the youngest singer on our list. Before marrying rapper Jay-Z, the singer was already one of the most acclaimed stars in the industry and had founded the entertainment and management company, Parkwood Entertainment, in 2008, as well as fashion line, House of Deréon, in 2004. But her fortune increased significantly over the past years through endorsement deals with American Express, Pepsi, and L’Oreal, which earned her over $50 million. 2013 was a particularly successful year for Queen B, as her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour grossed $66.4 million in ticket sales and her iTunes album “Beyoncé” sold 800,000 in the first three days, without any prior marketing.
9. Sir Elton John
Estimated net worth: $450 million
After 40 years in the music industry, Sir Elton John has established himself as one of the most legendary and richest singers of all time. In spite of his age, he still performs regularly in Las Vegas and his new business ventures – Rocket Music Entertainment Group and Rocket Sports Management – launched in 2011 and 2012, respectively, propelled his fortune even further.
8. Shawn Corey Carter (Jay-Z)
Estimated net worth: $510 million
The 19 Grammy Awards Jay-Z earned throughout his career should be evidence enough that this man knows what he’s doing. However, apart from his musical success, Mr. Carter made a point of building a business empire for himself by founding the entertainment firm Roc Nation. He also co-founded Rocawear in 1999 and received $207 million for selling the clothing brand’s rights eight years later. In addition to this, Jay-Z is the majority owner of 40/40 clubs.
7. Mariah Carey
Estimated net worth: $520 million
After selling 200 million records in two decades and receiving numerous music awards, the pop dive has made a fortune and can retire happily without ever having to worry about her income. Her role as a judge on the casting show American Idol adds to her steady income.
6. Paul David Hewson (Bono)
Estimated net worth: $590 million
150 million sold records and 22 Grammy Awards don’t seem to be enough for the U2 lead singer, who is rumoured to take on another world tour this year. His private-equity firm Elevation Partners and ownership over his band’s music catalogue catapulted his millions even further. He also co-founded Red, which focuses on battling the AIDS epidemic in Africa with the help of the private sector.
5. Celine Dion
Estimated net worth: $630 million
After becoming one of the most famous pop singers of the 90’s, the Canadian singer decided it was time to take a step back. However, she recently signed a million dollar contract to perform regularly in Las Vegas until 2019, where she’s regarded as the most profitable act.
4. Sean John Combs (Puff Daddy)
Estimated net worth: $640 million
Although his major record sales date back to the 90’s and 2000’s, the rapper is still earning serious cash through his business ventures. He recently launched the music cable network Revolt TV and struck up a deal with Ciroc vodka to guarantee his future income outside of the music industry.
3. Andre Romelle Young (Dr. Dre)
Estimated net worth: $650 million
After more than 20 years in the music industry, the 49-year-old rapper and producer took it upon himself to engage in his entrepreneurial spirit. He created the infamous Aftermath Entertainment, but founding the high-end headphone company Beats Electronics was probably one of his best ideas, as he sold the firm to Apple last year for $3 billion.
2. Paul McCartney
Estimated net worth: $660 million
What many people don’t know is that in spite of being in the most popular rock band of all time, The Beatles, the singer didn’t earn particularly much – $7 million to be exact. The millions started rolling in as his solo career took off and McCartney’s plan to reclaim the copyrights to his band’s music catalogue should ensure his fortune until his parting day.
1. Madonna Ciccone
Estimated net worth: $800 million
The queen of pop is probably the most recognized name in the music industry around the world and tops our list of richest singers in the world. 300 million record sales spanning three decades, a $120 million contract with Live Nation, which the singer signed in 2007, and her presence in the movie and fashion world have earned her an astonishing net worth. At 56 years old, Madonna could easily retire and live in luxury for the rest of her life. Cheers to a truly empowered and business-savvy woman!