Music is considered by many as the universal language of mankind. Regardless of the cultures, countries, races or languages, music can be appreciated by anyone in the world. That is maybe the reason why the music can pull a billion dollar business industry, which gives the world’s top musicians the opportunity to earn multi-million dollars from their musical talents. Musicians can get their big paychecks from their recorded music, concert tours, publishing and endorsements. The Forbes Magazine has just released its list of the world’s top 25 highest-paid musicians for 2011, which ranked the pretax income earned by top music artists from May 2010 to May 2011, before subtracting agent and managers’ fees. The musicians on the list include Lady Gaga who is at the fourth place with total earnings of $90 million. Justin Bieber, who is the youngest on the list at age 17, made $53 million to put him in the 9th position. Jay-Z and Beyoncé took home $37 million and $35 million, respectively, which makes the couple both in the list. The following is the list of the highest-paid musicians in the world for 2011.
1. U2 ($195 million)
The Rock and Roll Hall Famer band, which is composed of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. are wrapping up the most lucrative tour in the history of music: By the time U2’s two-year trek ends this summer, the band will have sold $700 million worth of tickets over two years and played to more than 7 million people.
2. Bon Jovi ($125 million)
The hard rock band Bon Jovi grossed $200 million performing 74 shows over the past 12 months and released a greatest hits album. Bon Jovi opened New Jersey’s New Meadowlands Stadium with three consecutive sold out concerts last May and another in July. Bon Jovi consists of lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, as well as current bassist Hugh McDonald.
3. Elton John ($100 million)
Sir Elton Hercules John has sold 250 million records worldwide in his four-decade career and isn’t slowing down. He has grossed $204 million on 102 live shows in the past 12 months. John received a knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth II for “services to music and charitable services” and became Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE in 1998. He is also ranked Number 49 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
4. Lady Gaga ($90 million)
The Number 1 most powerful celebrity of 2011, Lady Gaga, grossed $170 million on 137 shows in 22 countries over the past 12 months. Though high production costs significantly reduced that sum, Gaga rakes in additional cash for heavy radio play, recorded music sales and endorsement deals from Polaroid, Virgin Mobile, Monster Cable, Viva Glam and others. The Queen Monster currently has over 10 million Twitter followers and over 38.5 million Facebook fans. Lady Gaga is also known in her real name as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
5. Michael Bublé ($70 million)
The Canadian Singer has won the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his album Crazy Love in the 2011 Grammy Awards. Michael Steven Bublé rode a lucrative concert tour, heavy radio play and strong album sales all the way to a spot among music’s top five earners.
6. Paul McCartney ($67 million)
At age 68, Paul McCartney is the oldest on the list. But it seems he is not slowing down grossing $130 million on a mere 30 shows over the past 12 months. The former Beatle is considered the most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music, according to Guinness World Records — but the road beckons.
7. The Black Eyed Peas ($61 million)
The hip hop group, composed of will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and singer-rapper Fergie, grossed $68 million on 62 shows around the world over the past 12 months and added to their coffers with lucrative endorsement deals with Samsung, Pepsi, Honda, Verizon, Chase and others.
8. The Eagles ($60 million)
The all-time favorite rockers, the Eagles, continue to soar at the sky. They still make lots of money doing road tour. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. They have sold over 120 million albums worldwide and 100 million in the U.S. alone. They are the fifth highest selling music act in U.S. history and the highest selling American band in U.S. history. No other American band sold more than the Eagles during the 1970s.
9. Justin Bieber ($53 million)
The Youtube phenom is the youngest on the list at age 17. Bieber got his earnings from international tours, new album, biopic Never Say Never and even a perfume line. The young pop and RnB singer also has tons of hardcore teenager fans. His concert movie Never Say Never grossed $100 million globally and his music video for the hit song “Baby” has been viewed a YouTube record 500 million times.
10. Dave Matthews Band ($51 million)
The American rock band grossed over $1 million per night over the course of 68 shows in the past 12 months. The band’s Whiskey and the GrooGrux King album debuted at number one on Billboard 200 during its release in 2009.
Other musicians who made it to the top 25 of the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2011
11. Toby Keith ($50 million)
12. Usher ($46 million)
13. Taylor Swift ($45 million)
14. Katy Perry ($44 million)
15. Brad Paisley ($40 million)
16. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers ($38 million)
17. Jay-Z ($37 million)
18. AC/DC ($35 million, tie)
18. Sean “Diddy” Combs ($35 million, tie)
18. Beyoncé Knowles ($35 million, tie)
18. Tim McGraw ($35 million, tie)
18. Muse ($35 million, tie)
23. Rascal Flatts ($34 million)
24. Kenny Chesney ($30 million)
25. Rihanna ($29 million)