- Taylor Swift was the highest-paid musician of 2020, according to Billboard’s Money Makers list.
- Due to the pandemic, most artists relied on streaming revenues rather than touring for income.
- YoungBoy Never Broke Again, The Beatles, and Lil Baby made debut appearances on Billboard’s list.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
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.
2. Post Malone: $23.2 million
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.
3. Céline Dion: $17.5 million
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.
4. Eagles: $16.3 million
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.
5. Billie Eilish: $14.7 million
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.
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.
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.
8. The Beatles: $12.9 million
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.
9. YoungBoy Never Broke Again: $11.9 million
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.
10. Lil Baby: $11.7 million
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.