Who’s the Richest Recording Artist in the World? (Hint: It’s NOT Paul McCartney!)

How many years have we been told that Paul McCartney is the world’s richest recording artist? I’ve seen stories putting his net worth as high as $1.5 billion. And who are any of us to dispute that? This is the man that wrote “Hey Jude,” right?

Well, the people at Wealth-X (slogan: “Connecting you with wealth”) would like us to know that Macca isn’t the richest of the 1 percenters in music. They’ve assessed his net worth and have come up with a figure substantially less than $1.5 billion. In fact, Wealth-X say that he’s nowhere near as rich as–wait for it–Madonna.

Wait. What?

I quote:

With the hotly anticipated finals of the UK’s X-Factor drawing near, Wealth-X today released a list of the world’s top 10 richest recording artists. American pop music icon Madonna emerged at the top of the list with a net worth of US$800 million.

At 56 years old, Madonna has had an illustrious career in the music industry over the past three decades, selling over 300 million records worldwide and inking a series of lucrative contract deals, including a US$120 million contract with Live Nation in 2007. The “Queen of Pop” has also ventured into other industries such as filmmaking, fashion, and children’s books.

In second place is British rock and roll music legend Paul McCartney, who gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles. During his Beatles career from 1960 to 1970, however, McCartney only made US$7 million. The rest of his US$660 million fortune was amassed during his later career as a solo artist. At 72 years old, he is the oldest recording artist on the list.

Here’s their list of the Top 10:

1) Madonna $800 million

2) Paul McCartney $660 million

3) Dr. Dre $650 million

4) Diddy $640 million

5) Celine Dion $630 million

6) Bono $590 million

7) Mariah Carey $520 million

8) Jay Z $510 million

9) Elton John $450 million

10) Beyonce $440 million

(Via Billboard)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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