Taylor Swift was the highest-paid musician last year, and she did it without any ticket sales. Here’s how the top 10 highest-earning artists compare, according to Billboard

taylor swift you need to calm down
Taylor Swift in “You Need to Calm Down.”

1. Taylor Swift: $23.8 million

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Taylor Swift in “You Need to Calm Down.”

Swift made Billboard history by earning the #1 spot on the top-paid musician rankings without any concert revenue. Earnings from the artist’s 2020 albums “Folklore” and “Evermore” amounted to $20.6 million in sales and streaming royalties, pushing her to the top of the list.

Source: Billboard

2. Post Malone: $23.2 million

Post Malone
Post Malone

Post Malone moved up four rankings from last year, according to Billboard. The artist was one of the few musicians touring before the pandemic hit, leading to $12.4 million in concert revenue. His Pepsi Center concert in Denver sold out in March 2020, one of the industry’s last live concerts before lockdown. 

Source: Billboard

3. Céline Dion: $17.5 million

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Celine Dion.

All but 2% of Dion’s paycheck came from the 23 shows on her Courage World Tour, which brought in $17 million. This means she made more from live touring than any other artist last year, according to Billboard. 

Source: Billboard

4. Eagles: $16.3 million

the eagles
The Eagles in concert.

The popular rock band was the fifth-most-played band of 2020, with 744 million web radio plays. The Eagles played 10 concerts last year, allowing the band to take home $11.4 million from live tours. Almost a third of the band’s earnings come from their recorded masters, Billboard reported. 

Source: Billboard

5. Billie Eilish: $14.7 million

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Billie Eilish’s popular music videos gained 671 million video streams last year, placing her among Billboard’s top 10 artists in that category. Eilish was only able to play at three stops on her Where Do We Go? World Tour before the pandemic hit, totaling to $1 million in revenue. 

It’s worth noting that Billboard includes the share of publishing revenue earned by Eilish’s brother and collaborator, the producer FINNEAS, in the singer’s base earnings.

Source: Billboard

6. Drake: $14.2 million


Drake takes the crown for the second year in a row as the overall top streaming artist. The rapper had nearly 3 billion more streams than Taylor Swift. Billboard notes Swift earned more on streaming, though, because she retains control of her most recent recording masters, including 2020’s “Folklore” and “Evermore” albums. 

Source: Billboard, Rolling Stone

7. Queen: $13.2 million


The rock legends ranked fourth in physical album sales, Billboard reported. The band’s limited-edition colored vinyl Studio Collection cost more than $500 each, adding to the 517,000 physical album sales the group saw last year. Queen also brought in $5.5 million from streaming. 

Source: Billboard

8. The Beatles: $12.9 million

abbey road the beatles

This is the first time The Beatles have made Billboard’s Money Makers ranking. A large percentage of revenue came from selling higher-priced reissued vinyl albums, and that was bolstered by the fact that the Fab Four have locked in a royalty rate of 50%, sources told Billboard.

Source: Billboard

9. YoungBoy Never Broke Again: $11.9 million

youngboy nba top

YoungBoy Never Broke Again debuted on the list, thanks to his 7.6 billion total streams. The “White Teeth” artist ranks first overall in the video streaming category. All of that contributed to about $10 million in streaming revenue last year. 

Source: Billboard

10. Lil Baby: $11.7 million

lil baby
Lil Baby poses in the press room with the award for best new artist at the BET Awards on Sunday, June 23, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Lil Baby landed a No. 1 album with “My Turn” and took over the Billboard Hot 100 last year with 12 songs appearing on the list at one time. The rapper, who’s appearing on the list for the first time, earned $9.1 million from more than 6.2 billion streams, with an additional $2.2 million coming from publishing revenue.

Source: Billboard

Check out Billboard’s full ranking of the top 50 Money Makers here.

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How DREAMSTAGE is taking live music streaming by storm, with global streaming service Deezer by its side

D Smoke performing his album “Black Habits” on a live virtual tour with DREAMSTAGE this past April.

  • The paid live music streaming startup DREAMSTAGE has delivered over 50 concerts with a dynamic range of artists since its creation at the start of the pandemic.
  • Deezer, a Paris-based music streaming service, recently made a significant investment in DREAMSTAGE in a symbiotic deal that will fuel both companies’ growth.
  • Insider spoke to DREAMSTAGE co-founder and digital media veteran Thomas Hesse about the platform’s potential for long-term success.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The coronavirus pandemic nearly eliminated the live music business. DREAMSTAGE, a ticketed live music streaming platform launched in the spring of 2020, has plans to reverse this fate and to even go as far as transforming the traditional live music business model for years to come.

The US-based startup has provided artists with a method of generating income during lockdowns, but it’s also future-proofed for long after fans return to in-person gigs with the goal of offering simulcasting opportunities in addition to premium digital-only concerts.

The brainchild of former Sony Music executive Thomas Hesse, world renowned cellist Jan Vogler, and tech aficionado and CTO Scott Chasin, DREAMSTAGE has delivered over 50 high-definition concerts featuring musicians across multiple genres and levels of experience in the one year since its creation. Artists such as Polo G, Chief Keef, Grammy nominee D Smoke, and most recently Yo-Yo Ma have taken the virtual stage, with co-founder Jan Vogler himself kicking off the platform’s classical lineup in its first livestream in August.

Now, the startup has caught the attention of the Paris-based music streaming service Deezer, which houses a catalog of 73 million tracks, including content from major record labels like Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Deezer will serve as a cornerstone investor in DREAMSTAGE, leveraging its global subscriber base and millions of monthly active users to provide DREAMSTAGE with significant funds to expand its operations and establish it as a leading new format for entertainment.

The strategic partnership will see both companies working together to merge recorded and live music in a streamlined experience, while operating independently with the ultimate goal of accelerating DREAMSTAGE’s growth. Their mutually strong appreciation for musicians and genuine desire to support their craft solidified the deal.

“There’s a lot of potential,” Thomas Hesse, co-founder of DREAMSTAGE, told Insider. “It’s come together in a great spirit of partnership, and we’re both mindful and cognizant of the significant benefits of us working together.”

Thomas Hesse, co-founder of DREAMSTAGE.

The DREAMSTAGE and Deezer teams share the unified mission of growing within the currently exploding global recorded music and livestreaming markets. Both have a deep understanding of the intersection of technology and music, Hesse said, and a shared entrepreneurial and innovative mindset.

“We think that DREAMSTAGE is the service that really has cracked the live streamed music experience. The live streamed events they offer go beyond simple video streaming and feel personal, dynamic and fun,” Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht wrote in an email to Insider. “Their goal is to make you feel like you’re really in the room with the artist, making the experience dynamic and interactive.”

Interactivity is key to DREAMSTAGE’s product. Fans not only benefit from the personalized experience of watching live music streamed directly into their living rooms, but they also enjoy the capability of communicating with one another in real time using the platform’s built-in chat function, which “is what truly separates this experience from watching a YouTube video on your own,” Hesse said.

Artists benefit from the interactive equation, as well. “Even when live concerts start again, live streaming will become a natural addition to live shows,” Albrecht wrote. “Artists will be able to connect to the fans in the room, but also to let fans who can’t make it enjoy the concert live, online. The ability to connect to more people also opens up a number of new digital revenue streams for musicians.”

Musicians and entertainers largely rely on live performances and touring as a means of financial survival. In the year before the pandemic, the US live music business reached nearly $8 billion in ticket sales, trailing slightly behind recorded music, which came in at $11 billion, as found in a report published by Music Watch. The live music streaming industry is expected to generate $6.4 billion by 2027, according to MIDiA Research.

Professionally livestreamed concerts allow musicians to reach a much larger audience, and through supplemental digital-only concerts that are executed and marketed compellingly, artists can collect additional revenue on Spotify and other music distribution services when live gigs aren’t an option. It’s a domino effect – digital-only concerts promote engagement with the artists, bouncing their songs back into the charts, and in turn stimulating the demand for live in-person events, Hesse said.

Through DREAMSTAGE’s integrated platform, artists can sell tickets, merchandise, and VIP experiences, as well as raise donations for charities, with the company taking a platform fee that varies according to the individual deal. DREAMSTAGE offers performers the option of utilizing their in-house production crew and social media marketing team, but also leaves artists the ability to employ their own teams.

The venues are selected according to the artists’ choice, and then cast into their virtual concert halls developed by a “world class team of engineers,” according to a release. Some concerts are available via on-demand for a select period of time, although the offering of a permanent on-demand archive is contingent upon the clearing of rights, Hesse explained.

Performances can be viewed via the Apple TV app, “with the big screen being the medium of choice, accompanied by great sound and picture,” Hesse said. The company plans on delivering mobile apps for iOS and Android in the near future, but in the meantime, performances and interactive features can be accessed on DREAMSTAGE’s website on any device.

While the pandemic was the catalyst for DREAMSTAGE, the real appeal to DREAMSTAGE lies in its longevity. The co-creator of video hosting service Vevo and former Sony Music President of Global Digital Business, Hesse is no stranger to the recorded music industry and music video space. He spearheaded Sony Music’s merger with BMG and was responsible for driving the transformation of recorded music to streaming. It also helps that Hesse is a trained concert pianist, having studied at major concert halls in Austria and Germany.

“DREAMSTAGE, in a way, creates a new format that’s a hybrid between a music video and a live performance,” Hesse said. He calls this the “Live Music Video,” which he hopes will one day compete with Netflix as its own form of appointment TV.

“We’re not really competing with people going to the concert a few times a year, which they will do,” Hesse said. “That’s a big thing; you have to get tickets which are more expensive than an online ticket, you need to get a babysitter, get the car out, drive to the venue, park the car – it’s not something you do on a weekday night.”

If your favorite artist is performing in a different town, it’s easy to just buy the ticket in one click on your mobile and watch it on your TV, he explained. This high-value streaming experience is designed to take the formal aspect out of watching artists perform by granting all viewers a front-row seat. At the same time, the quality and vibrance of the in-person viewing experience is intended to be preserved with DREAMSTAGE’s premium technology, which utilizes high-definition audio/video signal and a clear and friendly user interface.

“Our goal is to make live events in music and entertainment, which can include comedy and other forms of entertainment, as attractive and as interesting as live sports,” Hesse said. “People go to live events and go to watch the Mets and Yankees at the stadium, but lots of them watch them on the television. And the same should be true for music.”

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Beats By Dre founder and rapper Dr. Dre releases statement from hospital saying he’s ‘doing great’ after reportedly suffering brain aneurysm

Dr Dre Kevin Winter
  • Music mogul Dr. Dre was taken by ambulance to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm, TMZ reported on Tuesday.
  • Dre said in an Instagram post Tuesday evening that he was “doing great” and “will be out of the hospital and back home soon.”
  • Dre is one of hip hop’s most famous and financially successful artists and producers, having made his fortune from his music as well as the sale of his headphone company, Beats Electronics, to Apple in 2014.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hip hop artist, producer, and media mogul Dr. Dre said in an Instagram post Tuesday evening that he’s “doing great” and expects to be discharged from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center “soon” after being rushed to the hospital Tuesday evening.

“Thanks to my family, friends and fans for their interest and well wishes. I’m doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team. I will be out of the hospital and back home soon. Shout out to all the great medical professionals at Cedars. One Love!!” the post said.

Dre was transported by ambulance to the Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday evening after suffering a brain aneurysm, TMZ reported.

Dre was taken directly to the intensive care unit, where he remained after being deemed “stable and lucid,” though doctors have not determined the cause of the aneurysm and plan to conduct various tests, according to TMZ.

Aneurysms occur when the wall of an artery weakens and balloons outward or widens abnormally, and be extremely dangerous if they rupture.

A representative for Dre did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dre, born Andre Romelle Young, is 55 years old, and is one of hip hop’s most musically and financially successful artists and entrepreneurs, with a net worth of nearly $800 million. He is known for his extensive solo career and being one of the original members of the group N.W.A., as well as his various commercial enterprises including Beats Electronics, which he sold to Apple in 2014.

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