21 Richest Musicians In The World

Lots of people want to be rock stars. Few realize that dream, and even fewer amass levels of wealth that rival some countries’ GDPs. But those musicians are out there, some having earned more than a billion dollars from their musical endeavors and business acumen.

Here are the richest musicians in the world. We show how they make, and how they spend their riches.

Sting – $300 Million

Sting

Before he was a superstar, Sting was an English teacher. But the man his students knew as Mr. Sumner left behind low teacher pay to become one of the richest musicians in the world.

As the bass player, frontman, and primary songwriter for The Police, Sting earned quite a bit of money from the band’s sales of more than 100 million albums. He also wrote “Every Breath You Take,” which stands as the most-played song in the history of radio.

After the dissolution of The Police, Sting launched a solo career that has lasted for decades longer than his band did. Those albums brought in some cash, as did his appearances in films like Quadrophenia and Dune. He’s also written music for films like Kate and Leopold, The Emperor's New Groove, and Cold Mountain.

He invested in a winery and owns several luxury apartments in New York City.

But aside from his music, Sting is renowned for his work with charities and causes. He founded the Rainforest Foundation with his wife, Trudie Styler, and worked with the Prince's Trust and the Live Aid concerts. He has also given to and been a spokesman for Amnesty International, even recording a few projects, the proceeds of which went to the human rights organization.

Lady Gaga – $320 Million

Lady Gaga

Stefani Germanotta has parlayed her audacious fashion sense and musical brilliance into significant wealth as Lady Gaga. She’s had several successful albums and huge tours, and she’s even performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Gaga has also appeared in numerous television and film projects, nearly all of which have been hugely successful. She even won an Oscar for A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper.

She has a line of fragrances and a makeup line with MAC Cosmetics, and she works with iconic fashion brands like Versace and Tiffany & Co.

Gaga has spoken openly about her struggles with mental health, and is a strong advocate for mental health awareness. Lady Gaga has also supported LGBTQ+ rights and has been an outspoken advocate for equality.

Additionally, Lady Gaga has supported organizations fighting poverty and homelessness, including the Born This Way Foundation, which she founded in 2012. The foundation aims to empower young people and create a kinder, braver world.

Keith Richards – $340 Million

Keith Richards

The grizzled mug of the Rolling Stones belongs to iconic guitarist Keith Richards, who has been an integral part of pop culture for decades. His work with the Stones and on solo projects has driven album sales of more than 200 million units.

Richards has also appeared in feature films as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and published books— an autobiography and a children’s book. He’s also been part of business undertakings related to a clothing line and a line of cigars.

He has spent money on some real estate, purchasing properties in various countries, but he seems more drawn to amassing an enormous collection of guitars, vintage amps, and other music gear.

He has used his wealth, driven largely by music royalty streams, to advocate for environmental causes. Richards has supported the Climate Group and the Environmental Justice Foundation, and outside of environmental causes, he donates to the Music in Schools Today foundation.

Bruce Springsteen – $345 Million

Bruce Springsteen

The Boss made a name for himself as a poet of the people while putting on wildly entertaining live shows. His album sales and concert revenue have come together to make Bruce Springsteen fabulously wealthy while singing about the common man.

With more than 20 studio albums to his credit, Springsteen’s songwriting and recording income has allowed him to amass a fortune that he works to distribute to causes he believes in, including social justice movements, environmental organizations, music education, and veterans’ issues. Along those lines, he has given millions to the Thrill Hill Foundation.

He has purchased properties in Florida and California and owns a 400-acre horse farm in New Jersey. Springsteen also has an impressive car collection that includes a 1960 Corvette C1 convertible, a Chevy Bel Air convertible, and a Range Rover.

Ringo Starr – $350 Million

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr rose to fame as the iconic drummer of The Beatles and also earned significant income from his work as a solo artist. While he’s made money from music, he’s also set up other income streams from acting in film and TV shows, doing voiceover work for animation and video games, and producing albums for the likes of Peter Frampton and others.

Starr collects art but also earns money from sales of his own artwork, which he’s recently augmented by getting in on the sale of NFTs.

Sir Ringo has long been an animal welfare advocate. To wit, he’s given financial support to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the ASPCA. Music education is another cause close to his heart, and he supports the Lotus Foundation, which provides grants to fine arts education programs.

Mick Jagger – $360 Million

Mick Jagger

As the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger fronts one of the most successful and influential rock bands in history. His bank account reflects that. He’s sold albums with the band and as a solo artist, collaborated with the likes of David Bowie and the Jackson 5, and appeared in numerous films, including Ned Kelly and Freejack. He has also produced films, including the critically acclaimed Enigma.

It doesn’t have anything to do with his wealth, but the fact that Mick Jagger is also a great-grandfather is mind-blowing.

As a patriarch, then, it’s no surprise that he supports causes that work to make the world better. He has donated to organizations working to

  • alleviate poverty
  • conserve the environment
  • provide care for teenage cancer victims
  • support education

The Stones still record, but even if they didn’t, royalties would continue pouring in for decades.

Jimmy Buffett – $430 Million

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett’s devoted fanbase doesn’t care how much money he has. Then again, a lot of his money comes from them as they buy his records, go to his restaurants, and attend his concerts.

With more than 30 studio albums and hit songs like “Margaritaville “ and “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Buffett has built an empire based on beachwear and a laid-back attitude. It has resonated with fans worldwide, and they’ve rewarded him for it.

His Margaritaville restaurant chain has locations around the world, the Margaritaville Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, brings money to his empire, and he’s even published a book.

Far from sitting on the beach and counting his money, Buffett gives much of it away, forming the Singing for Change foundation in 1995 to support social and environmental causes, including marine conservation, affordable housing, and renewable energy.

Taylor Swift – $450 million

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift may be America’s sweetheart these days, but she doesn’t really need anyone’s help. Her searingly successful career includes multi-platinum-selling albums, sold-out tours, and endorsement deals with the likes of Coca-Cola, CoverGirl, and Apple Music, which have all earned her a lot of money.

Then there’s her streaming income. She has well over 40 billion streams and gets a percentage from every single one. It’s a small amount per stream, but multiply even a fraction of a penny by 40 billion, and you get a hefty sum.

She has also appeared in films and TV shows, bowing in The Lorax and Cats. That second was kind of a disaster, but she still made money from it, and it wasn’t her idea to make that movie anyway.

Swift has donated millions of dollars to charitable causes ranging from education to disaster relief to LGBTQ+ rights.

Elton John – $480 Million

Elton John

One of the more recognizable human beings on the planet, Sir Elton John, may be the most famous piano player who ever lived. He’s been active as a recording and touring artist since the 1960s and has sold more than 300 million records. Grammys, Tony, and myriad other awards line his shelves.

He’s made quite a bit of money from live shows, as he tours regularly. People flock to his shows because he’s a flamboyant performer (remember the Donald Duck outfit and all the others?) and because he’s an accomplished musician and one of the greatest songwriters in history. 

He lives a high life, buying expensive clothing and once spending £293,000 on flowers in 20 months. But the money keeps coming in from investments in restaurants, flower delivery companies (because, of course), and a stake in the London-based soccer club Watford FC.

Sir Elton is also famously giving. He formed the Elton John AIDS Foundation during 1992. Since then it has raised over $450 million to support various HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and advocacy programs around the world and has helped fund the fight against breast cancer and the support of music education.

Emilio Estefan – $500 Million

Emilio Estefan

When the world first heard Gloria Estefan sing “Conga” with the Miami Sound Machine, who knew the man behind it all would become a music magnate? That man was her husband, Emilio Estefan, a Cuban-American musician, and producer who’s worked with seemingly everybody.

His success with the Miami Sound Machine led him to produce gigs with the likes of Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Ricky Martin, so he’s had a huge impact on Latin sounds over the past several decades.

He owns Larios on the Beach and Bongos Cuban Cafe, both successful restaurants and part of a cruise ship line. His investments have allowed him to live a life of luxury, give to causes he supports, and continue making music.

Dolly Parton – $675 Million

Dolly Parton

One of the most generous musicians of all time, Dolly Parton, has given a huge amount of money to causes supporting literacy, education, and health care causes. She famously donated large amounts of cash in the wake of the Tennessee wildfires of 2016, and she helped fund the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19.

But she’s a musician at heart, releasing more than 50 albums over the years and earning money through album sales, live shows, television and film appearances, and the authoring of several books.

Then there’s Dollywood, an amusement park, and other real estate investments. Parton would be a national treasure for only one of the above paragraphs. Lucky for us, she does it all.

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