2012's Top-Earning Musician Might Surprise You

'Forbes' releases annual list of highest-paid musicians
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2012 10:41 AM CST
2012's Top-Earning Musician Might Surprise You
In this Sept. 30, 2009 file photo, Dr. Dre poses for pictures at a press conference announcing, Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, the latest addition to the Beats by Dr. Dre family of headphones.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)

The top-earning musician of 2012 is ... Dr. Dre? Yes, the rapper tops Forbes' annual list of the highest-paid musicians, thanks mostly to his wildly successful Beats headphone line, which also scored him a spot in Forbes' top five highest-paid celebrities this year. The top 10 musicians who raked in the most money from May 2011 to May 2012, and their respective pre-tax earnings:

  1. Dr. Dre, $110 million: Dre is the only member of the top five from the United States.
  2. Roger Waters, $88 million: As a founding member of Pink Floyd, he still makes money by doing a live tour playing The Wall straight through.
  3. Elton John, $80 million: His money comes from touring, and his animated movie Gnomeo and Juliet helped, too.
  4. U2, $78 million: Their 360 tour made a record-breaking $736 million over three years.
  5. Take That, $69 million: Their reunion tour did quite well for them.

  1. Bon Jovi, $60 million: He managed to earn more than Kim Kardashian, LilWayne, and Kate Moss combined.
  2. Britney Spears, $58 million: In addition to her latest album, earnings from endorsement deals and a fragrance line helped.
  3. Paul McCartney, $57 million: He played 36 shows, and still gets Beatles royalty checks to boot.
  4. Taylor Swift, $57 million: She managed to tie Sir Paul by touring, recording a new album, and working with CoverGirl.
  5. Justin Bieber, $55 million: Yes, he just squeaks in to the top 10, and ties with country star Toby Keith, who earned the same amount.
Click for the complete list. (More Dr. Dre stories.)

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