Beyonce sold more albums than Dr. Dre did this past year, but she was still out-earned by him thanks to Beats. Dr. Dre managed to beat out Beyonce and all of the other musicians on Forbes list of the highest-paid musicians of 2014 by selling the earphone and online music streaming service company he co-founded with Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics, to Apple this past May, to the tune of $3 billion. Apple hired both of them to reinvent their music division.
That brought Dr. Dre’s earnings to $620 million in 2014 before taxes, easily beating out Beyonce. She came in second place on Forbes’ list, with a mere $115 million before taxes.
The gap between the astounding take of rapper and producer Dr. Dre, 49, and that of Beyonce of $505 million is, according to Forbes, “the widest margin in history between the first and second spots.” That is because Dr. Dre and Apple have, together, made Beats the most popular headphones around, on everybody’s wishlists this Christmas. Dr. Dre out-earned Beyonce by six times the $115 million she brought in.
It was not very long ago, in 2008, that Dr. Dre co-founded the audio electronics company Beats with , but it has done such brisk sales that it caused Apple executives to consider it to be a bargain even at the price of $3 billion. The money that the deal put into Dr. Dre’s bank account assured him of the top spot on Forbe’s list.
Beyonce earned her money the old-fashioned way, by having an extremely successful album and going out on tour with her husband, Jay Z, to support it, with the Mrs. Carter Show world tour. She also had lucrative advertising deals with companies as varied as Pepsi and H&M.
The Eagles took their place on Forbes’ list, earning $100 million. Bon Jovi came in fourth place, raking in $82 million, while “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen, came in fifth, earning $81 million.
Wondering how much some other big-name stars made before taxes? According to Forbes’ list, Justin Bieber was in sixth place, earning $80 million. In seventh place was the group, One Direction, with a take of $75 million; Paul McCartney made the Forbes list at number eight, with earnings of $71 million; at number nine on the list was relative newcomer, Calvin Harris, with $66 million; at number ten was the only country music singer on the list, Toby Keith, taking in $65 million. Taylor Swift, despite having the number one selling album in America, came in eleventh place with $64 million.
Besides the margin between first and second place on the Forbes list being the widest ever, Dr. Dre made history by earning more in one year than any other single music-industry figure ever. He did it without going out on tour or even playing one concert the entire year of 2014, though for most of the other musicians on the Forbes list, touring accounted for a large percentage of their earnings.
Dr. Dre topped the Forbes list at number one by earning $620 million, beating out Beyonce, because the list does not just take into account just the money that musical artists earned during a year through album sales and touring, but also money they earn through selling merchandise, publishing, other recordings, corporate endorsements, and through any other method that they earn revenues.
While Dr. Dre beat out Beyonce in overall earnings, the year’s earnings of the musicians on the Forbes list ran from June 2013 to June 2014, effectively not taking into account Taylor Swift’s earnings from her hugely successful album, 1989. Other musical artists also have earned a lot of money since June 2014, like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and One Direction. Still, none of them, even taking that into account, came close to the phenomenal earnings of Dr. Dre this past year.
Written By Douglas Cobb