2012's Top-Earning Musician Might Surprise You

'Forbes' releases annual list of highest-paid musicians

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 30, 2012 10:41 AM CST

(Newser) – The top-earning musician of 2012 is ... Dr. Dre? Yes, the rapper tops Forbes' annual list of the highest-paid musicians, thanks mostly to his wildly successful Beats headphone line, which also scored him a spot in Forbes' top five highest-paid celebrities this year. The top 10 musicians who raked in the most money from May 2011 to May 2012, and their respective pre-tax earnings:

  1. Dr. Dre, $110 million: Dre is the only member of the top five from the United States.
  2. Roger Waters, $88 million: As a founding member of Pink Floyd, he still makes money by doing a live tour playing The Wall straight through.
  3. Elton John, $80 million: His money comes from touring, and his animated movie Gnomeo and Juliet helped, too.
  4. U2, $78 million: Their 360 tour made a record-breaking $736 million over three years.
  5. Take That, $69 million: Their reunion tour did quite well for them.

  1. Bon Jovi, $60 million: He managed to earn more than Kim Kardashian, LilWayne, and Kate Moss combined.
  2. Britney Spears, $58 million: In addition to her latest album, earnings from endorsement deals and a fragrance line helped.
  3. Paul McCartney, $57 million: He played 36 shows, and still gets Beatles royalty checks to boot.
  4. Taylor Swift, $57 million: She managed to tie Sir Paul by touring, recording a new album, and working with CoverGirl.
  5. Justin Bieber, $55 million: Yes, he just squeaks in to the top 10, and ties with country star Toby Keith, who earned the same amount.
Click for the complete list.

In this Sept. 30, 2009 file photo, Dr. Dre poses for pictures at a press conference announcing, Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, the latest addition to the Beats by Dr. Dre family of headphones.
In this Sept. 30, 2009 file photo, Dr. Dre poses for pictures at a press conference announcing, Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, the latest addition to the Beats by Dr. Dre family of headphones.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
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