The highest earning musicians of 2012

When Forbes released the latest in its tastefully named ‘People Who Make More Money Than You’ series about the highest earning musicians of 2012, there were, without question a few interesting elements. It has never been more difficult to make a living as a musician since the bottom fell out of music sales. Illegal downloading and file sharing has apparently made free music an inalienable right in the eyes of most people today – and it would seem that contributing to the blood, sweat , tears and creativity it takes to release music is all too much for a generation that happily pays a fiver for a glorified cup of coffee.

So it is no surprise that in hitting the top spot, Dr Dre made most of his fortune through his headphones empire rather than the tiresome business of actually releasing quality music. Dre is a notorious perfectionist and is said to despair at spending months perfecting every last frequency only to have listeners convert it into low quality mp3’s for sharing.

The reality is that almost all money is made in the music industry these days comes through commercial licensing, touring and merchandising. The rich get richer, the up and coming don’t get a look in without corporate backing and the skewed economics of the music business mirrors the growing wealth gap in the rest of society.

Take That wafted into the top 5 after a busy year while the Rolling Stones are nowhere to be seen. Interesting to see what was once a purely British phenomenon beating out the big boys. Michael Buble is apparently $34 million worth of popular, U2 were knocked off their perch at the top for the first time since 2009, while the Beyonce / Jay Z household may just be able to push the boat out for a new fleet of boats. Britney Spears outdid more current competition proving no matter how badly you embarrass yourself – people will still give you money and Roger Waters quietly proved that the Pink Floyd effect has a massive hidden power. See what you make of the list.

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) 8. Taylor Swift ($57 million) 10. Justin Bieber ($55 million) 10. Toby Keith ($55 million) 12. Rihanna ($53 million) 13. Lady Gaga ($52 million) 14. Foo Fighters ($47 million) 15. Diddy ($45 million) 15. Katy Perry ($45 million) 17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million) 18. Beyonce ($40 million) 19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million) 20. Jay-Z ($38 million) 21. Coldplay ($37 million) 22. Adele ($35 million) 22. Kanye West ($35 million) 24. Michael Buble ($34 million) 25. Sade ($33 million)

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