Taylor Swift Is The World’s Top-Earning Musician Of 2019 With $271 Million
It’s been a remarkable year for Taylor Swift. She released an album that garnered incredible reviews, won awards that didn’t see her speeches cut-short by an out-of-breath and eager-to-rant Kanye West, and her love life has remained largely out of the tabloids which, for someone whose previous suitors can be rattled off like lyrics to one of her songs, is quite an achievement.
Not only that, but Swift also had a remarkable year of growth – both personally and financially. According to Forbes, the songstress earned $185 million thanks largely due to a new record deal, a slew of endorsements, and a recent tour. But her dominance goes well beyond 2019 alone and seems to have punctuated the decade instead. Not surprisingly, the singer was awarded Billboard’s first-ever Woman of the Decade Award, thanks to her vast number of musical accomplishments throughout the course of the 2010s.
Now 29-years-old, Swift has five No.1 albums on the Billboard 200, five No.1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, three worldwide stadium tours and two Billboard Woman of the Year Awards. And her latest album, Lover, captured the biggest sales week in the US in just five days when it was released in August.
Following closely behind Swift was Kanye West, who looked to be teasing fans with the promise of new music all year until he finally released Jesus Is King in November. Featured on the publication’s August issue, West spoke at length about his faith and newfound religion, and detailed how he now brings this into every aspect of his work. “I am a product guy at my core,” he explained to Forbes. “To make products that make people feel an immense amount of joy and solve issues and problems in their life, that’s the problem-solving that I love to do.” And while it may spark joy for his fans, Kanye West also has reason to cheer after it’s been reported that he came in second, but closely behind Swift with around $219.6 million.
Rounding out the top five were British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran with $161 million, California rock band The Eagles at number four with $146 million, and then Elton John at number five, earning $123 million over the course of the year thanks to a newly-released autobiography and his farewell tour. With these names taking out the top spots, it signals that now, as far as the music industry is concerned, the money comes from the gigs. Both Sheeran and The Eagles have performed a heavy slate of gigs in recent months, owing to their considerable (and ever-increasing wealth).
As Forbes notes, the rankings are determined by a consideration of income from touring, music and outside business ventures with help from Pollstar, Nielsen Music and interviews with industry insiders, including the stars themselves. The earnings listed are pre-tax however, and doesn’t include the deductions required for agents, managers or lawyers.
And while it certainly is good news to see a woman top the list, unfortunately the bigger picture is somewhat more bleak: out of the 40 names listed, just ten of those were women, leading to a minor improvement from last year’s one-in-five ratio.
While the full list of musicians can be found on the Forbes website, here are the top 10 highest-earning musicians for 2019.
1. Taylor Swift
2019 Earnings: $271 million
2. Kanye West
2019 Earnings: $219 million
3. Ed Sheeran
2019 Earnings: $161 million
4. The Eagles
2019 Earnings: $146 million
5. Elton John
2019 Earnings: $123 million
6. Tied: Jay-Z and Beyoncé
2019 Earnings: $118 million
2019 Earnings: $109 million
2019 Earnings: $102 million
2019 Earnings: $100 million