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Catalog Dealmakers Top 2021’s 10 Highest Paid Musicians List

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(Hypebot) — Zack O’Malley Greenburg and Rolling Stone have shared the former Forbes editor’s respected annual list of the highest paid musicians of 2021.

White males dominated the list in a year when touring revenue was mostly non-existent and music catalog sales dominated. Thanks to those catalog deals, the 10 highest-paid musicians earned a combined $2.3 billion, more than double that of the years just before Covid-19.

#1 on the list, Bruce Springsteen also earned millions from his Broadway run but even he was propelled to the top by the $550 million sale of his catalog to Sony. In the Top 10 only three – Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift – made the list without catalog sales.

Why is this catalog income boom happening now?

“There are a lot of different reasons,” Josh Gruss, chief of Round Hill Music which has spent $1.3 billion buying catalogs told O’Malley Greenburg. “At the end of the day, music is something that people need in their lives … the way [artists] get paid is a lot more like a utility than it was before streaming, when it was just a one-time purchase.”

Here is this years Top 10 via Rolling Stone

1. Bruce Springsteen: $550 million
2. Jay-Z: $470 million
3. Paul Simon: $260 million
4. Kanye West: $250 million
5. Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic): $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

O’Malley Greenburg now covers the music business on Substack. You can find his work including the highest earners 11-15 here.

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