Here are some photos from last night’s Justin Bieber concert in Madison Square Garden. From the looks of things, Biebs is flying in on a ridiculous pair of mechanical wings like some Douche Ex Machina (that just rolled off the top of my head, but it really fits him, right?). Today’s concert gimmicks are so ridiculous, you know? These acts just need to get onstage and rock out, but I guess if you’re anything like Bieber, it’s really impossible to “rock out.”
Whatever the case, Justin has had another inexplicably successful year in the music business. Forbes has released their annual salary report for top musical acts, and Biebs has raked in $55 million thus far in 2012. Sure, he’s only 10th on the list, but damn, $55 million … to act whiny and pretend like he’s the next Justin Timberlake? I can’t believe he’s been around for three albums already, and each of them continues to sell like hotcakes. So is Bieber here to stay, and will he infiltrate other entertainment niches like acting? He really does want to be the next Mark Wahlberg, but I hope that won’t happen. One Mark Wahlberg is enough, thank you very much. Here’s the rest of the list, which includes Taylor Swift, U2, Adele, and the top earner, Dr. Dre:
Though he’s only 18 years old, Justin Bieber has had a year for the ages. The Canadian crooner released his third studio album, launched a world tour and continued investing in startups, adding to a portfolio that includes stakes in Spotify, Tinychat and others. All in all, he earned $55 million in 12 months.
“I do calls every week with my business manager and my lawyer,” Bieber told FORBES this spring as part of a cover story on his budding venture capital career. “Each week I’m learning something about my business and what I need to know for my career.” But when it comes to the world’s highest-paid musicians, Bieber is a relative pauper, barely breaking the top ten.
Hip-hop superproducer Dr. Dre leads the pack this year with $110 million, thanks largely to his Beats headphone line. He collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year, at the beginning of our scoring period; he and his partners later bought back half of what they sold.
“The brands are so aligned, Dre and Beats, it’s just who he is,” says Kevin Liles, former president of Def Jam Recordings, who now manages acts ranging from Young Jeezy to Trey Songz. “If you look at the biggest earners, the guys have been doing it for 20 years … what’s happening now is people are really telling their truth.”
Dr. Dre leads a slew of pop stars, rock icons, rap moguls and country crooners, many of whom bank the bulk of their bucks outside the recording studio. Though some artists–Jay-Z and Diddy, for example–owe their success partly to business ventures like Dre’s, most of this year’s top 25 are on the list because of touring.
This year’s list has a distinctly international flavor. Among the top five, only Dr. Dre hails from the United States. Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters ranks second with $88 million, nearly all of it coming from his The Wall Live tour. According to Pollstar, he grossed $158 million on 63 shows in the first six months of 2012. Fellow Brit Elton John claims the third spot with $80 million, culled from over 100 shows in our scoring period.
Ireland’s U2 ranks fourth, pulling in $78 million on the tail end of the group’s record-breaking 360 tour. British boy band Take That rounds out the top five with $69 million, thanks to a wildly-popular reunion tour. Other highlights on the listinclude Toby Keith, who tied Bieber for tenth with $55 million. With his Ford sponsorship now on its second decade and his I Love This Bar And Grill restaurantchain booming, Keith was the top earner among all country artists–unless you count crossover star Taylor Swift, who earned $57 million, same as Paul McCartney. Coldplay and Adele continue the British trend, claiming the 21st and 22nd slots with $37 million and $35 million, respectively. Eight of the top 25 acts hail from England or Ireland.
Dr. Dre is making an absolute killing with his Beats. I love the guy from a rap standpoint, and don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that he’s found continued success with Beats (even though the headphones are kind of cheap and awful in terms of quality), but he’s so … commercial now. He’s no longer a renegade rebel, you know? Other artists have flocked to the Beats for the huge money-making opportunity as well,including (of all people) Trent Reznor. You know, Trent was the guy who once told his record company, “F*** you. Take that beat and shove it up Timbaland’s ass.” Ah well, even the good ones go soft, don’t they? At least Bieber started out that way, so he can’t possibly go on to lose cred in his advanced age. Or can he?