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Forbes unfurls top 25 music earners. Anyone you know here?

The bar is set pretty high. Unless you made $33 million in fiscal 2012, you’re smalltime.

Read the list.

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  1. Half I’ve never heard of & a few I wouldn’t even listen to if I was paid to.

  2. Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:

    I knew about 4 or five, but never have heard any of the 25.

  3. Michael Redmond says:

    I’m not even going the distance. Perhaps it’s just me, but Forbes’ ads load so slowly that a 25-photo slide show just isn’t worth my time.

  4. Carlos Fischer says:

    I’ve heard about a few , i don’t listen to any of them. Figures like these only in the mass entertainment business : sports; pop music. Once in a while , a very popular writer. For classical musicians…the money is shortening; unhappily.

    • Marilyn Crosbie says:

      Yes, so why are people complaining that Gustavo Dudamel and the like are paid too much? Makes no sense to me. Of course pop music appeals to the lower common denominator and only the musicially educated can truly understand how much work goes into conducting a symphony orchestra compared to how much work goes into a pop ditty. Yes, there are talented popular musicians – Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, (poets as well as musicians), Paul McCartney to name just a few, but much of what is raved about my the masses, especially in North America is a lot of noise and shouting – not music IMO.

      • Carlos Fischer says:

        Dear Marilyn:

        There’s also good pop music and there’s also “musically educated people” listening to pop and not to classical. I listen to CM mostly and some Jazz…is my choice. Anyway ; i think that CM is not appealing most of the people and its audience is perhaps decreasing despite its outstanding and incredible repertory ( past and today’s repertory)….. something to do with Greg Sandow’s points of view???????

  5. I’m very happy and surprised to see Sade on that list. I didn’t even know she’d been on a tour this year.

    Most of those people actually do have a musical talent (exceptions include at least Britney Spears and most of Take That). I recently made the mistake of clicking on a link in a news story about Psy’s Gangnam Style becoming the most viewed video on Youtube. The link took me to the top six of Youtube, which were all positively awful. On that evidence, anything that gets more than a hundred million views on Youtube is certain to be a relentlessly irritating piece of crap.

  6. Therry Neilsen-Steinhardt says:

    I’m happy about Sade too, but did you notice the really big earners are all over 65? And people are still listening to Coldplay and Kenny Chesney? I know I should be above it all, but I wait in the line at the grocery store and I compulsively read the headlines on the cheap magazines.

  7. The really extraordinary thing is that the majority of these big earners made their money from live performance. This is a complete turnaround from how it used to be. Gigging used to be a loss-making exercise; the money was made from sales of albums and merchandise following a tour. Now it’s the reverse.

    Funny to read, in some comments here, a barely-disguised disgust for performers who entertain huge numbers of people, giving them wonderful, meaningful and enjoyable experiences, and collecting the rewards that go with that.

    This money is generated through commercial success. It’s not worth bothering with a comparison with classical music. The top selling specialist classical CD in the UK will sell in one year what a top selling pop record will sell in a couple of hours. That’s just the way it goes.

  8. Stephen Carpenter says:

    Money is a quantifiable measurement for any category you could choose. But wait- all it tells us is how much money. And Forbes is very good at making that the only criteria. I’m glad that some individuals are able to make gobs of money doing what the might love doing. I’m not so sure how directly or how much all those gobs of money connect to the music or the talent.
    As far as being able to present a musical experience to huge numbers of “fans” in a space that is generally not conducive to god sound rendition requires an awful lot of tweaking- hence the large promotional price tag and the mob-like atmosphere that is the “event”.
    A music performer just might be an incidental placeholder if one thinks about it from the money/profit angle. how much of these individual’s time and money now has to be spent managing the money? there’s only 24 hours in their day too.

  9. Income does seem to be inversely proportional to talent, no?

  10. Well, Mozart never was in the top 25 music earners of his days either, I suppose…

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