Even as record labels cry for an end to online piracy to stop the death of music, musicians like Dr. Dre, Beyonce, and the members of The Eagles will walk away from 2014 with more than $100 million in earnings, according to Forbes' annual ranking.
That's not to say record sales haven't taken a hit; in fact, the highest ranking musicians on list, rapper Dr. Dre, largely earned his spot through the success of his Beats headphones line. Earlier this year, Dr. Dre sold the company to Apple for a reported $3 billion. Dr. Dre's share brought his total income for the year to $620 million, before taxes.
Despite not quite achieving his own claims that he was "hip-hop's first billionaire" after the deal, Dr. Dre isn't just taking 2014's title for highest paid musician -- he's had the most profitable year for a musician in the history of Forbes' ranking. Even with hoards of teenage girls buying up One Direction concert tickets, the global obsession with Beyonce, and reunion tours from classic bands like The Eagles, Dr. Dre's slice of the pie was easily the largest.
Quite a bit larger in fact. In comparison to Dr. Dre, Beyonce -- who took the number two spot with $113 million -- made less a than a sixth of what Dr. Dre did in 2014. Beyonce's 2014 wealth was mostly composed of a tour with husband Jay-Z, her surprise album, and deals with Pepsi and H&M. Jay-Z didn't do too poorly himself, coming in at number 12 on the list with a total of $60 million.
Modern giants didn't take all the cash though. Extremely successful reunion tours gave four spots on the list to classic rock artists. The highest charting among them was The Eagles, who joined Dr. Dre and Beyonce as the only artists to crack $100 million in 2014. The Eagles were closely followed on the list by Bon Jovi ($82 million) and Bruce Springsteen ($81 million) at number four and number five, as well as Sir Paul McCartney at number nine. Further down the list, The Eagles were also joined by The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.
Even though Dr. Dre, Beyonce and The Eagles came out on top by a fairly stiff margin, there were still dozens of other artists who were able to crack the top 30, and even more (including the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna) who made double-digit millions without quite making the cut. The full top 30 are listed below.
1. Dr. Dre ($620 million)
2. Beyonce ($115 million)
3. The Eagles ($100 million)
4. Bon Jovi ($82 million)
5. Bruce Springsteen ($81 million)
6. Justin Bieber ($80 million)
7. One Direction ($75 million)
8. Paul McCartney ($71 million)
9. Calvin Harris ($66 million)
10. Toby Keith ($65 million)
11. Taylor Swift ($64 million)
12. Jay-Z, Bruno Mars & Diddy ($60 million) [Tie]
15. Justin Timberlake ($57 million)
16. Pink ($52 million)
17. Michael Bublé ($51 million)
18. Rihanna ($48 million)
19. Rolling Stones ($47 million)
20. Roger Waters ($46 million)
21. Elton John ($45 million)
22. Kenny Chesney ($44 million)
23. Katy Perry ($40 million)
24. Jason Aldean and Jennifer Lopez ($37 million) [Tie]
26. Miley Cyrus and Celine Dion ($36 million) [Tie]
28. Muse and Luke Bryan ($34 million) [Tie]
30. Lady Gaga and Drake ($33 million) [Tie]
Do you think Dr. Dre, Beyoncé, and The Eagles deserve to be the reigning kings and queen of Forbes' highest paid musicians list?
[Image via Music Walls and WallsRuRu]