The highestpaid musicians^{ [1]}^{ [2]}^{ [3]} in the world have been reported annually by Forbes since at least 1987. For measurement, the magazine used pretax earnings—before deducting fees for agents, managers or lawyers.^{ [4]} Most of the lists were estimated within a JunetoJune scoring period, except for 1999, 2021, and 2022 when a calendar year period was used instead.^{ [5]}^{ [6]}^{ [7]}
U2 became the annual highestpaid musician five times, more than any other act. They were also the highestpaid music group in a record eight different years. Michael Jackson became the first musician to earn over $100 million in a year (1989),^{ [8]} and has become the highestpaid male soloist a record seven times. Dr. Dre currently holds the record for the highest annual earnings for a musician, collecting $620 million in 2014, mainly through the sales of his headphonemanufacturing company, Beats Electronics.^{ [9]}
Madonna is the first woman in music to earn $100 million for a year (2009) and has become the highestpaid female musician a record 11 times. Taylor Swift remains the female musician with the highest annual earnings ever with $185 million in 2019, breaking previous record set by herself in 2016 with $170 million.^{ [10]}^{ [11]}
*

Indicates the year's highestpaid celebrity (all fields of entertainment) 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $56 million  $150 million  ^{ [12]}^{ [13]} 
1988  Michael Jackson *  United States  $97 million  $250 million  ^{ [14]}^{ [15]} 
1989  Michael Jackson *  United States  $125 million  $307 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1990  Michael Jackson  United States  $100 million  $233 million  ^{ [18]} 
1991  New Kids on the Block *  United States  $115 million  $257 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1992  New Kids on the Block  United States  $62 million  $135 million  ^{ [21]} 
1993  Guns N' Roses  United States  $53 million  $112 million  ^{ [22]}^{ [23]} 
1994  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $62 million  $127 million  ^{ [24]}^{ [25]} 
1995  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $260 million  ^{ [26]} 
1996  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $253 million  ^{ [27]} 
1997  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $98 million  $186 million  ^{ [28]} 
1998  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $57 million  $107 million  ^{ [29]} 
1999  Backstreet Boys  United States  $60 million  $110 million  ^{ [30]} 
2001  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $70 million  $120 million  ^{ [31]} 
2002  U2  Ireland  $69 million  $117 million  ^{ [32]} 
2003  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $66.5 million  $110 million  ^{ [33]} 
2004  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $64 million  $103 million  ^{ [34]} 
2005  Madonna  United States  $50 million  $78 million  ^{ [35]} 
2006  U2  Ireland  $110 million  $166 million  ^{ [36]} 
2007  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $110 million  $162 million  ^{ [37]} 
2008  The Police  United Kingdom  $115 million  $163 million  ^{ [38]} 
2009  Madonna  United States  $110 million  $156 million  ^{ [39]} 
2010  U2  Ireland  $130 million  $182 million  ^{ [40]} 
2011  U2  Ireland  $195 million  $264 million  ^{ [41]} 
2012  Dr. Dre  United States  $110 million  $146 million  ^{ [42]} 
2013  Madonna *  United States  $125 million  $164 million  ^{ [43]} 
2014  Dr. Dre *  United States  $620 million  $798 million  ^{ [44]} 
2015  Katy Perry  United States  $135 million  $174 million  ^{ [45]} 
2016  Taylor Swift *  United States  $170 million  $216 million  ^{ [3]} 
2017  Diddy *  United States  $130 million  $162 million  ^{ [46]} 
2018  U2  Ireland  $118 million  $143 million  ^{ [47]} 
2019  Taylor Swift *  United States  $185 million  $220 million  ^{ [4]} 
2020  Kanye West  United States  $170 million  $200 million  ^{ [48]} 
2021  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $435 million  $489 million  ^{ [7]} 
2022  Genesis  United Kingdom  $230 million  $239 million  ^{ [49]} 
Year  Music group  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  U2  Ireland  $37 million  $99 million  ^{ [12]}^{ [13]} 
1988  U2  Ireland  $42 million  $108 million  ^{ [14]}^{ [15]} 
1989  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $56 million  $138 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1990  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $88 million  $205 million  ^{ [18]} 
1991  New Kids on the Block *  United States  $115 million  $257 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1992  New Kids on the Block  United States  $62 million  $135 million  ^{ [21]} 
1993  Guns N' Roses  United States  $53 million  $112 million  ^{ [22]}^{ [23]} 
1994  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $62 million  $127 million  ^{ [24]}^{ [25]} 
1995  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $260 million  ^{ [26]} 
1996  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $253 million  ^{ [27]} 
1997  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $98 million  $186 million  ^{ [28]} 
1998  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $57 million  $107 million  ^{ [29]} 
1999  Backstreet Boys  United States  $60 million  $110 million  ^{ [30]} 
2001  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $70 million  $120 million  ^{ [31]} 
2002  U2  Ireland  $69 million  $117 million  ^{ [32]} 
2003  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $66.5 million  $110 million  ^{ [33]} 
2004  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $51 million  $82 million  ^{ [34]} 
2005  Eagles  United States  $45 million  $70 million  ^{ [35]} 
2006  U2  Ireland  $110 million  $166 million  ^{ [36]} 
2007  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $110 million  $162 million  ^{ [37]} 
2008  The Police  United Kingdom  $115 million  $163 million  ^{ [38]} 
2009  Rascal Flatts  United States  $60 million  $85 million  ^{ [39]} 
2010  U2  Ireland  $130 million  $182 million  ^{ [40]} 
2011  U2  Ireland  $195 million  $264 million  ^{ [41]} 
2012  U2  Ireland  $78 million  $104 million  ^{ [42]} 
2013  Bon Jovi  United States  $79 million  $103 million  ^{ [43]} 
2014  Eagles  United States  $100 million  $129 million  ^{ [44]} 
2015  One Direction  United Kingdom / Ireland  $130 million  $167 million  ^{ [45]} 
2016  One Direction  United Kingdom / Ireland  $110 million  $140 million  ^{ [3]} 
2017  Coldplay  United Kingdom  $88 million  $109 million  ^{ [46]} 
2018  U2  Ireland  $118 million  $143 million  ^{ [47]} 
2019  Eagles  United States  $100 million  $119 million  ^{ [4]} 
2020  Jonas Brothers  United States  $68.5 million  $81 million  ^{ [48]} 
2021  Red Hot Chili Peppers  United States  $116 million  $130 million  ^{ [7]} 
2022  Genesis  United Kingdom  $230 million  $239 million  ^{ [49]} 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $56 million  $150 million  ^{ [12]}^{ [13]} 
1988  Michael Jackson *  United States  $97 million  $250 million  ^{ [14]} 
1989  Michael Jackson *  United States  $125 million  $307 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1990  Michael Jackson  United States  $100 million  $233 million  ^{ [18]} 
1991  Michael Jackson  United States  $60 million  $134 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1992  Michael Jackson  United States  $51 million  $111 million  ^{ [21]} 
1993  Prince  United States  $49 million  $103 million  ^{ [22]}^{ [23]} 
1994  Garth Brooks  United States  $41 million  $84 million  ^{ [24]}^{ [25]} 
1995  Michael Jackson  United States  $67 million  $134 million  ^{ [26]} 
1996  Michael Jackson  United States  $90 million  $175 million  ^{ [27]} 
1997  David Bowie  United Kingdom  $63 million  $120 million  ^{ [28]} 
1998  Master P  United States  $56.5 million  $106 million  ^{ [29]} 
1999  Lou Bega^{ [a]}  Germany  $6 million  $11 million  ^{ [30]} 
2001  Dr. Dre  United States  $35 million  $60 million  ^{ [31]} 
2002  Elton John  United Kingdom  $30 million  $51 million  ^{ [51]} 
2003  Paul McCartney  United Kingdom  $59 million  $98 million  ^{ [33]} 
2004  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $64 million  $103 million  ^{ [34]} 
2005  Prince  United States  $49.7 million  $78 million  ^{ [35]} 
2006  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $55 million  $83 million  ^{ [36]} 
2007  Elton John  United Kingdom  $53 million  $78 million  ^{ [37]} 
2008  Toby Keith  United States  $48 million  $68 million  ^{ [38]} 
2009  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $70 million  $99 million  ^{ [39]} 
2010  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $70 million  $98 million  ^{ [40]} 
2011  Elton John  United Kingdom  $100 million  $135 million  ^{ [41]} 
2012  Dr. Dre  United States  $110 million  $146 million  ^{ [42]} 
2013  Toby Keith  United States  $65 million  $85 million  ^{ [43]} 
2014  Dr. Dre *  United States  $620 million  $798 million  ^{ [44]} 
2015  Garth Brooks  United States  $90 million  $116 million  ^{ [45]} 
2016  Garth Brooks  United States  $70 million  $89 million  ^{ [52]} 
2017  Diddy *  United States  $130 million  $162 million  ^{ [46]} 
2018  Ed Sheeran  United Kingdom  $110 million  $133 million  ^{ [47]} 
2019  Kanye West  United States  $150 million  $179 million  ^{ [4]} 
2020  Kanye West  United States  $170 million  $200 million  ^{ [48]} 
2021  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $435 million  $489 million  ^{ [7]} 
2022  Sting  United Kingdom  $210 million  $219 million  ^{ [49]} 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Madonna  United States  $47 million  $126 million  ^{ [12]}^{ [13]} 
1988  Madonna  United States  $46 million  $119 million  ^{ [14]}^{ [15]} 
1989  Madonna  United States  $43 million  $106 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [53]} 
1990  Madonna  United States  $62 million  $145 million  ^{ [18]} 
1991  Madonna  United States  $63 million  $141 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1992  Madonna  United States  $48 million  $104 million  ^{ [21]} 
1993  Madonna  United States  $37 million  $78 million  ^{ [22]}^{ [23]} 
1994  Barbra Streisand  United States  $57 million  $117 million  ^{ [24]}^{ [25]} 
1995  Barbra Streisand  United States  $63 million  $126 million  ^{ [26]} 
1996  Mariah Carey  United States  $32 million  $62 million  ^{ [27]} 
1997  Celine Dion  Canada  $65 million  $123 million  ^{ [28]} 
1998  Celine Dion  Canada  $55.5 million  $104 million  ^{ [29]} 
1999  Shania Twain  Canada  $48 million  $88 million  ^{ [30]} 
2001  Britney Spears  United States  $38.5 million  $66 million  ^{ [31]} 
2002  Mariah Carey  United States  $58 million  $98 million  ^{ [32]} 
2003  Cher  United States  $33.1 million  $55 million  ^{ [33]} 
2004  Celine Dion  Canada  $28 million^{ [b]}  $45 million  ^{ [34]} 
2005  Madonna  United States  $50 million  $78 million  ^{ [35]} 
2006  Celine Dion  Canada  $40 million  $60 million  ^{ [36]} 
2007  Madonna  United States  $72 million  $106 million  ^{ [37]} 
2008  Beyoncé  United States  $80 million  $113 million  ^{ [38]} 
2009  Madonna  United States  $110 million  $156 million  ^{ [39]} 
2010  Beyoncé  United States  $87 million  $122 million  ^{ [40]} 
2011  Lady Gaga  United States  $90 million  $122 million  ^{ [41]} 
2012  Britney Spears  United States  $58 million  $77 million  ^{ [42]} 
2013  Madonna *  United States  $125 million  $164 million  ^{ [43]} 
2014  Beyoncé  United States  $115 million  $148 million  ^{ [44]} 
2015  Katy Perry  United States  $135 million  $174 million  ^{ [45]} 
2016  Taylor Swift *  United States  $170 million  $216 million  ^{ [3]} 
2017  Beyoncé  United States  $105 million  $131 million  ^{ [46]} 
2018  Katy Perry  United States  $83 million  $101 million  ^{ [47]} 
2019  Taylor Swift *  United States  $185 million  $220 million  ^{ [4]} 
2020  Ariana Grande  United States  $72 million  $85 million  ^{ [48]} 
2021  Taylor Swift  United States  $52 million  $58 million  ^{ [7]} 
2022  Taylor Swift  United States  $92 million  $96 million  ^{ [49]} 
Rank  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 

1  Dr. Dre  United States  $950 million  $1,132 million 
2  Taylor Swift  United States  $825 million  $983 million 
3  Beyoncé  United States  $685 million  $816 million 
4  U2  Ireland  $675 million  $804 million 
5  Diddy  United States  $605 million  $721 million 
6  Elton John  United Kingdom  $565 million  $673 million 
7  JayZ  United States  $560 million  $667 million 
8  Paul McCartney  United Kingdom  $535 million  $638 million 
9  Katy Perry  United States  $530 million  $632 million 
10  Lady Gaga  United States  $500 million  $596 million 
{{
cite web}}
: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (
link)