The highestearning musicians, also published as the "highestpaid musicians", 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.^{ [1]} Most of the lists were estimated within a JunetoJune scoring period, except for 1999, 2000, and 2021 when a calendar year period was used instead.^{ [2]}^{ [3]}^{ [4]}
U2 have become the annual highestearning musicians five times, more than any other act. Michael Jackson is the first musician to earn over $100 million in a year (1989),^{ [5]} and has become the topearning male soloist a record seven times. Dr. Dre currently holds the record for the highest annual earnings for a musician ever, collecting $620 million in 2014.^{ [6]}
Madonna is the first woman in music to earn $100 million for a year (2009) and has the most years as the topearning female musicians (11 times). Taylor Swift is the female artist with the highestearning ever in a year (first with $170 million in 2016, and $185 million in 2019), breaking previous recordholders Madonna ($125 million in 2013) and Katy Perry ($135 million in 2015).^{ [7]}^{ [8]}
*

Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Top 40 list of the respective year 
^

Indicates the musician topping the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the respective year 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $56 million  $144 million  ^{ [9]}^{ [10]} 
1988  Michael Jackson *  United States  $97 million  $240 million  ^{ [11]}^{ [12]} 
1989  Michael Jackson *  United States  $125 million  $295 million  ^{ [13]}^{ [14]} 
1990  Michael Jackson  United States  $100 million  $224 million  ^{ [15]} 
1991  New Kids on the Block *  United States  $115 million  $247 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1992  New Kids on the Block  United States  $62 million  $129 million  ^{ [18]} 
1993  Guns N' Roses  United States  $53 million  $107 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1994  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $62 million  $122 million  ^{ [21]}^{ [22]} 
1995  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $250 million  ^{ [23]} 
1996  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $243 million  ^{ [24]} 
1997  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $98 million  $179 million  ^{ [25]} 
1998  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $57 million  $102 million  ^{ [26]} 
1999  Backstreet Boys  United States  $60 million  $105 million  ^{ [27]} 
2001  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $70 million  $116 million  ^{ [28]} 
2002  U2  Ireland  $69 million  $112 million  ^{ [29]} 
2003  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $66.5 million  $106 million  ^{ [30]} 
2004  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $64 million  $99 million  ^{ [31]} 
2005  Madonna  United States  $50 million  $75 million  ^{ [32]} 
2006  U2  Ireland  $110 million  $160 million  ^{ [33]} 
2007  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $110 million  $155 million  ^{ [34]} 
2008  The Police  United Kingdom  $115 million  $156 million  ^{ [35]} 
2009  Madonna  United States  $110 million  $150 million  ^{ [36]} 
2010  U2  Ireland  $130 million  $174 million  ^{ [37]} 
2011  U2  Ireland  $195 million  $254 million  ^{ [38]} 
2012  Dr. Dre  United States  $110 million  $140 million  ^{ [39]} 
2013  Madonna  United States  $125 million  $157 million  ^{ [40]} 
2014  Dr. Dre  United States  $620 million  $766 million  ^{ [41]} 
2015  Katy Perry  United States  $135 million  $167 million  ^{ [42]} 
2016  Taylor Swift ^  United States  $170 million  $207 million  ^{ [43]} 
2017  Diddy ^  United States  $130 million  $155 million  ^{ [44]} 
2018  U2  Ireland  $118 million  $138 million  ^{ [45]} 
2019  Taylor Swift ^  United States  $185 million  $212 million  ^{ [1]} 
2020  Kanye West  United States  $170 million  $192 million  ^{ [46]} 
2021  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $435 million  $470 million  ^{ [4]} 
2022  Genesis  United Kingdom  $230 million  —  ^{ [47]} 
Year  Music group  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  U2  Ireland  $37 million  $95 million  ^{ [9]}^{ [10]} 
1988  U2  Ireland  $42 million  $104 million  ^{ [11]}^{ [12]} 
1989  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $56 million  $132 million  ^{ [13]}^{ [14]} 
1990  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $88 million  $197 million  ^{ [15]} 
1991  New Kids on the Block *  United States  $115 million  $247 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1992  New Kids on the Block  United States  $62 million  $129 million  ^{ [18]} 
1993  Guns N' Roses  United States  $53 million  $107 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1994  Pink Floyd  United Kingdom  $62 million  $122 million  ^{ [21]}^{ [22]} 
1995  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $250 million  ^{ [23]} 
1996  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $130 million  $243 million  ^{ [24]} 
1997  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $98 million  $179 million  ^{ [25]} 
1998  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $57 million  $102 million  ^{ [26]} 
1999  Backstreet Boys  United States  $60 million  $105 million  ^{ [27]} 
2001  The Beatles  United Kingdom  $70 million  $116 million  ^{ [28]} 
2002  U2  Ireland  $69 million  $112 million  ^{ [29]} 
2003  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $66.5 million  $106 million  ^{ [30]} 
2004  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $51 million  $79 million  ^{ [31]} 
2005  Eagles  United States  $45 million  $67 million  ^{ [32]} 
2006  U2  Ireland  $110 million  $160 million  ^{ [33]} 
2007  The Rolling Stones  United Kingdom  $110 million  $155 million  ^{ [34]} 
2008  The Police  United Kingdom  $115 million  $156 million  ^{ [35]} 
2009  Rascal Flatts  United States  $60 million  $82 million  ^{ [36]} 
2010  U2  Ireland  $130 million  $174 million  ^{ [37]} 
2011  U2  Ireland  $195 million  $254 million  ^{ [38]} 
2012  U2  Ireland  $78 million  $99 million  ^{ [39]} 
2013  Bon Jovi  United States  $79 million  $99 million  ^{ [40]} 
2014  Eagles  United States  $100 million  $124 million  ^{ [41]} 
2015  One Direction  United Kingdom / Ireland  $130 million  $160 million  ^{ [42]} 
2016  One Direction  United Kingdom / Ireland  $110 million  $134 million  ^{ [43]} 
2017  Coldplay  United Kingdom  $88 million  $105 million  ^{ [44]} 
2018  U2  Ireland  $118 million  $138 million  ^{ [45]} 
2019  Eagles  United States  $100 million  $114 million  ^{ [1]} 
2020  Jonas Brothers  United States  $68.5 million  $77 million  ^{ [46]} 
2021  Red Hot Chili Peppers  United States  $116 million  $125 million  ^{ [4]} 
2022  Genesis  United Kingdom  $230 million  —  ^{ [47]} 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $56 million  $144 million  ^{ [9]}^{ [10]} 
1988  Michael Jackson *  United States  $97 million  $240 million  ^{ [11]} 
1989  Michael Jackson *  United States  $125 million  $295 million  ^{ [13]}^{ [14]} 
1990  Michael Jackson  United States  $100 million  $224 million  ^{ [15]} 
1991  Michael Jackson  United States  $60 million  $129 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1992  Michael Jackson  United States  $51 million  $106 million  ^{ [18]} 
1993  Prince  United States  $49 million  $99 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1994  Garth Brooks  United States  $41 million  $81 million  ^{ [21]}^{ [22]} 
1995  Michael Jackson  United States  $67 million  $129 million  ^{ [23]} 
1996  Michael Jackson  United States  $90 million  $168 million  ^{ [24]} 
1997  David Bowie  United Kingdom  $63 million  $115 million  ^{ [25]} 
1998  Master P  United States  $56.5 million  $101 million  ^{ [26]} 
1999  Lou Bega^{ [a]}  Germany  $6 million  $11 million  ^{ [27]} 
2001  Dr. Dre  United States  $35 million  $58 million  ^{ [28]} 
2002  Elton John  United Kingdom  $30 million  $49 million  ^{ [49]} 
2003  Paul McCartney  United Kingdom  $59 million  $94 million  ^{ [30]} 
2004  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $64 million  $99 million  ^{ [31]} 
2005  Prince  United States  $49.7 million  $74 million  ^{ [32]} 
2006  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $55 million  $80 million  ^{ [33]} 
2007  Elton John  United Kingdom  $53 million  $75 million  ^{ [34]} 
2008  Toby Keith  United States  $48 million  $65 million  ^{ [35]} 
2009  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $70 million  $95 million  ^{ [36]} 
2010  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $70 million  $94 million  ^{ [37]} 
2011  Elton John  United Kingdom  $100 million  $130 million  ^{ [38]} 
2012  Dr. Dre  United States  $110 million  $140 million  ^{ [39]} 
2013  Toby Keith  United States  $65 million  $82 million  ^{ [40]} 
2014  Dr. Dre  United States  $620 million  $766 million  ^{ [41]} 
2015  Garth Brooks  United States  $90 million  $111 million  ^{ [42]} 
2016  Garth Brooks  United States  $70 million  $85 million  ^{ [50]} 
2017  Diddy ^  United States  $130 million  $155 million  ^{ [44]} 
2018  Ed Sheeran  United Kingdom  $110 million  $128 million  ^{ [45]} 
2019  Kanye West  United States  $150 million  $172 million  ^{ [1]} 
2020  Kanye West  United States  $170 million  $192 million  ^{ [46]} 
2021  Bruce Springsteen  United States  $435 million  $470 million  ^{ [4]} 
2022  Sting  United Kingdom  $210 million  —  ^{ [47]} 
Year  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 
Ref. 

1987  Madonna  United States  $47 million  $121 million  ^{ [9]}^{ [10]} 
1988  Madonna  United States  $46 million  $114 million  ^{ [11]}^{ [12]} 
1989  Madonna  United States  $43 million  $102 million  ^{ [13]}^{ [51]} 
1990  Madonna  United States  $62 million  $139 million  ^{ [15]} 
1991  Madonna  United States  $63 million  $135 million  ^{ [16]}^{ [17]} 
1992  Madonna  United States  $48 million  $100 million  ^{ [18]} 
1993  Madonna  United States  $37 million  $75 million  ^{ [19]}^{ [20]} 
1994  Barbra Streisand  United States  $57 million  $113 million  ^{ [21]}^{ [22]} 
1995  Barbra Streisand  United States  $63 million  $121 million  ^{ [23]} 
1996  Mariah Carey  United States  $32 million  $60 million  ^{ [24]} 
1997  Celine Dion  Canada  $65 million  $118 million  ^{ [25]} 
1998  Celine Dion  Canada  $55.5 million  $100 million  ^{ [26]} 
1999  Shania Twain  Canada  $48 million  $84 million  ^{ [27]} 
2001  Britney Spears  United States  $38.5 million  $64 million  ^{ [28]} 
2002  Mariah Carey  United States  $58 million  $94 million  ^{ [29]} 
2003  Cher  United States  $33.1 million  $53 million  ^{ [30]} 
2004  Celine Dion  Canada  $28 million^{ [b]}  $43 million  ^{ [31]} 
2005  Madonna  United States  $50 million  $75 million  ^{ [32]} 
2006  Celine Dion  Canada  $40 million  $58 million  ^{ [33]} 
2007  Madonna  United States  $72 million  $102 million  ^{ [34]} 
2008  Beyoncé  United States  $80 million  $109 million  ^{ [35]} 
2009  Madonna  United States  $110 million  $150 million  ^{ [36]} 
2010  Beyoncé  United States  $87 million  $117 million  ^{ [37]} 
2011  Lady Gaga ^  United States  $90 million  $117 million  ^{ [38]} 
2012  Britney Spears  United States  $58 million  $74 million  ^{ [39]} 
2013  Madonna  United States  $125 million  $157 million  ^{ [40]} 
2014  Beyoncé ^  United States  $115 million  $142 million  ^{ [41]} 
2015  Katy Perry  United States  $135 million  $167 million  ^{ [42]} 
2016  Taylor Swift ^  United States  $170 million  $207 million  ^{ [43]} 
2017  Beyoncé  United States  $105 million  $125 million  ^{ [44]} 
2018  Katy Perry  United States  $83 million  $97 million  ^{ [45]} 
2019  Taylor Swift ^  United States  $185 million  $212 million  ^{ [1]} 
2020  Ariana Grande  United States  $72 million  $81 million  ^{ [46]} 
2021  Taylor Swift  United States  $52 million  $56 million  ^{ [4]} 
2022  Taylor Swift  United States  $92 million  —  ^{ [47]} 
Rank  Musician  Nationality  Earnings 
Adjusted earnings (in 2023 dollar) 

1  Dr. Dre  United States  $950 million  $1,087 million 
2  Taylor Swift  United States  $825 million  $944 million 
3  Beyoncé  United States  $685 million  $784 million 
4  U2  Ireland  $675 million  $773 million 
5  Diddy  United States  $605 million  $692 million 
6  Elton John  United Kingdom  $565 million  $647 million 
7  JayZ  United States  $560 million  $641 million 
8  Paul McCartney  United Kingdom  $535 million  $612 million 
9  Katy Perry  United States  $530 million  $607 million 
10  Lady Gaga  United States  $500 million  $572 million 