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The top-earning musician for 2021 is…

/ 10:40 AM January 18, 2022
bruce springsteen twitter

Bruce Springsteen. Image: Twitter/@springsteen

With concerts and festivals continuing to be canceled in the second year of the pandemic, 2021 meant a loss of income for many musicians. Some, of course, still managed to pull through. Rolling Stone magazine recently released its annual list of the highest paid artists over the past 12 months. And the list has a few surprises in store.

Bruce Springsteen is at the top of the list, with revenues estimated by the publication at $590 million. The Boss owes this top spot to the sale of his music rights to Sony for half a billion dollars. This is, to date, a record transaction for a catalog of recorded music and compositions. The income of the American rockstar also took off thanks to the podcast “Renegades: Born in the USA” and the book of the same name that he released with former president Barack Obama.

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Jay-Z and Paul Simon follow Bruce Springsteen in the ranking, with estimated earnings of $470 million and $260 million respectively for the year 2021. The rapper amassed a small fortune by selling half of his shares in the Armand de Brignac champagne house to Moët Hennessy. Meanwhile Paul Simon also sold the rights to all the songs in his musical repertoire to Sony Music Publishing.

The lucrative business of selling rights to musical catalogs

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Many of the artists appearing in the list also sold rights to all or part of their music catalog last year. This is the case for Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic (in 5th place) as well as members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (in 6th) and Mötley Crüe (in 8th). While music repertoire prices began to rise in 2020, they really spiked when artists found themselves without tours and concerts during the pandemic.

Only one woman made it to the top 10 paid artists of the year 2021: Taylor Swift in tenth. The American singer went a different route from many of the artists, not choosing to sell the rights to her catalog. Instead, she released two albums last year, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” and forged commercial partnerships with brands like Peloton and Starbucks.

Check out Rolling Stone‘s entire list of the highest paid artists in 2021 below:

1. Bruce Springsteen ($590 million)

2. Jay-Z ($470 million)

3. Paul Simon ($260 million)

4. Kanye West ($250 million)

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5. Ryan Tedder ($200 million)

6. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($145 million)

7. Lindsey Buckingham ($100 million)

8. Motley Crue ($95 million)

9. Blake Shelton ($83 million)

10. Taylor Swift ($80 million)
JB

RELATED STORIES:

Bruce Springsteen sells music catalog for $500 million

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TAGS: Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Paul Simon, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Taylor Swift
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