Skip to content

‘Forbes’ Magazine’s Highest Paid Musician Doesn’t Make Music Anymore

dr. dre, forbes

Forbes has released its annual list of the 25 highest paid musicians and the top spot has gone to someone who doesn’t make music anymore. Dr. Dre, the Compton producer and entrepreneur, pulled in $110 million between May 2011 and May 2012 to claim the title of highest earning music maker, despite having not released a new album since 1999. “His long-awaited album, Detox, is still on the shelf, but Dre still rakes in cash from old albums, production, and the occasional concert,” Forbes writes, attributing much of the O.G. MC’s Beats By Dre headphones line. “The superproducer collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51 percent stake in the company last year, at the beginning of [the] scoring period.” As previously reported, that sale doubled Dr. Dre’s wealth but still kept him behind Diddy and Jay-Z when Forbes ranked the net worth of hip-hop’s biggest players.

The ex-N.W.A. member has released two solo LPs — 1992’s classic The Chronic and its follow-up, 2001 — and number three, the aforementioned Detox, has been “on the way” for more than a decade. Earlier this year, the good Doctor guested with Jay-Z on Rick Ross’ single “3 Kings” and appeared on “Compton,” the closing track off his protege Kendrick Lamar’s Essential good kid, m.A.A.d. city, but that will probably be it for new verses from the mogul in the near future.

Many other artists featured on the Forbes 2012 list have similarly spotty outputs. Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters comes in at No. 2 with a cool $88 million made. Aside from his 2005 three-act opera Ça Ira, Waters hasn’t released a new album since 1992. Elton John is third, with $80 million earned this year (last studio LP: 2006’s The Captain & the Kid). U2, last seen on 2009’s No Line on the Horizon, follows next with $78 million. Middle-aged U.K. boy band Take That, who staged a reunion in 2005 that’s so far yielded three new records including 2010’s Progress, round out the Top 5.

Forbes‘ 25 Highest Paid Musicians of 2012

1. Dr. Dre, $110 million
2. Roger Waters, $88 million
3. Elton John, $80 million
4. U2, $78 million
5. Take That, $69 million
6. Bon Jovi, $60 million
7. Britney Spears, $58 million
8. Paul McCartney, $57 million (tie)
8. Taylor Swift, $57 million (tie)
10. Justin Bieber, $55 million (tie)
10. Toby Keith, $55 million (tie)
12. Rihanna, $53 million
13. Lady Gaga, $52 million
14. Foo Fighters, $47 million
15. Diddy, $45 million (tie)
15. Katy Perry, $45 million (tie)
17. Kenny Chesney, $44 million
18. Beyoncé, $40 million
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers, $39 million
20. Jay-Z, $38 million
21. Coldplay, $37 million
22. Adele, $35 million (tie)
22. Kanye West, $35 million (tie)
24. Michael Bublé, $34 million
25. Sade, $33 million