Dr Dre has been named 2014’s highest-paid musician, scoring the biggest one-year windfall of any musician in history. Buoyed by the $3bn sale of Beats Music, the company he co-founded, Dre was estimated to have earned $620m (£395m) in just 12 months.
The calculations were made by Forbes magazine for their annual list of musician millionaires. Dre’s fortune far outsized that of his runner-up, Beyoncé. Although the Drunk in Love singer was 2014’s highest-earning female musician, her $115m (£73.4m) wages are over half a billion dollars behind the NWA co-founder.
Incredibly, Dre’s commercial jackpot represents more than the combined incomes of most of the rest of Forbes’ Top 10. Justin Bieber earned $80m. One Direction, $75m. Paul McCartney, the only Beatle, a measly $71m. The most successful band, the heavy-touring Eagles, finished at No 3, garnering $100m over the year.
To reach these figures, Forbes added together all musicians’ touring money, record sales, publishing royalties, merchandise, endorsements, and other major business ventures. They used a June 2013 to June 2014 fiscal year, thereby omitting recent payouts for artists such as Taylor Swift and U2.
2013’s highest earning musician, Madonna, narrowly missed Forbes’ 2014 Top 30. Assisted by her hugely successful MDNA world tour, the Material Girl earned $125m.