Dr. Dre is having the last laugh on detractors who criticized him for merging his Beats company with Apple.
The legendary producer has topped the latest edition of Forbes’ World’s Highest Paid Musicians, and the second place entry is trailing behind by a half of billion dollars.
In forming this year’s list, we considered income from touring, recorded music, publishing, merchandise sales, endorsements and other ventures. Management, agent and attorney fees were not deducted. Earnings were calculated from June 2013 to June 2014 and based on data from Pollstar, the RIAA and Nielsen SoundScan, and on interviews with managers, lawyers, executives and some of the artists themselves.
Fifteen years ago Dr. Dre wondered aloud whether people had forgotten about him. If there was a question then, it has certainly dissipated throughout the next steps of a career filled with highlights—most recently the sale of Beats, the company he cofounded, to Apple AAPL +1.3% for $3 billion.
Dr. Dre took home $620 million this year before taxes, thanks largely to that deal, making him the world’s top-earning musician of 2014. More remarkably, that number also marks the largest single-year haul of any musician, ever.
“It’s safe to say headphones is a good business,” said DJ Khaled, one of hip-hop’s top earners.
Dr. Dre’s payday gives him the widest margin in history between the first and second spots on our top-earning musicians list—half a billion dollars separate him from the No. 2 earner, Beyoncé, who pulled in $115 million.
Check out the gallery for all the Hip-Hop talent that rounded out this year’s World’s Highest Paid Musicians list.
The tally was very competitive this year. So while the likes of Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Birdman and Macklemore, all made big bank this year, they didn’t scratch the top 30.
Photo: Alberto Reyes/WENN.com