Singing for a living is the dream, isn’t it?
After all, it’s a job that isn’t really a job, and you get to make a fortune while you’re at it!
But that fortune comes with a lot of hard work, dedication and talent. And, sadly, not all of us are destined to become singing sensations!
These 10 men were, though – so much so that they managed to make it to the top highest-paid male singers in the world, with a combined income of $686.5 million (£526.4 million) in just 12 months!
Ready to find out who’s raking in the cash in the music industry in 2018? Read on!
10. Calvin Harris
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Earnings: $48 million (£36.8 million)
Calvin Harris has been named the highest-paid DJ six years in a row, so there’s no surprise he secured a spot on this list. The Scottish chart-topper has collaborated with the likes of Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Dua Lipa, Khalid, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna and many more.
His Las Vegas residency show, along with headlining festivals in Croatia and Japan, has increased his income over the past year, making the electronic megastar a household name across the pond!
9. Jimmy Buffett
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Earnings: $51 million (£39.1 million)
Hailing from Pascagoula, Mississippi, Jimmy Buffett started his career in the 1960s and released his first album Down to Earth in 1970. He became known for his distinct, self-described ‘gulf and western’ style, and went on to record hits like ‘Margaritaville’ and ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’, both of which lent their names to two restaurant chains he owns.
The singer, songwriter and actor hasn’t hung up his performing shoes just yet. He’s taking to the stage in March and April 2019 for a once-in-a-lifetime tour, dedicated to all his die-hard fans.
8. Luke Bryan
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Earnings: $52 million (£39.9 million)
Luke Bryan started his career as a songwriter before releasing his debut hit single ‘All My Friends Say’ in 2007. Since then, the country crooner’s success has grown from strength to strength, with Bryan recently finishing a headlining 84-date world tour.
With the rise of Bryan’s popularity, he even managed to score a seat on the judging panel of American Idol, in addition to many endorsement deals with the likes of Chevrolet and Jack Daniels.
7. The Weeknd
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Earnings: $57 million (£43.7 million)
Toronto-born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known by his stage name The Weeknd, is famous for his killer vocals – as well as his on-again, off-again relationship with supermodel Bella Hadid. The ‘Starboy’ singer achieved eight Top 10 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards and nine Juno Awards all in the space of eight years!
The Weeknd made $3.8 million (£2.9 million) in royalties alone this year, and that’s without considering his arena tour and endorsement deals with Puma, H&M and Bacardi.
6. Kendrick Lamar
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Earnings: $58 million (£44.5 million)
Rapper, songwriter and record producer Kendrick Lamar was dubbed the ‘New ‘King of Hip-Hop’ upon the release of his first studio album Section.80 in 2011. Since then, he’s collaborated with a plethora of other hip-hop artists, including The Game, Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg.
2018 has been his best year yet for Lamar, with his solo arena tour, streaming royalties and deals with Nike and American Express adding a considerable amount of money to his earnings.
5. Sean Combs
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Earnings: $64 million (£49.1 million)
Rapper Sean Combs has undergone many name changes over the course of his career – including P Diddy, Puff Daddy, Puffy and Diddy – but now only answers to B Love. Despite the countless name changes, Combs is the second-highest-paid rapper in 2018!
His earnings are mainly due to the Bay Boy Family Reunion Tour, the sale of an equity stake in his Sean John clothing range, as well as sales from his beverage empire which includes DeLeon tequila, Cîroc vodka and AQUAhydrate.
4. Roger Waters
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Earnings: $68 million (£52.2 million)
Roger Waters is best known as the bass guitarist for Pink Floyd. And at the age of 75, the living legend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anything soon. Indeed, he’s the most successful solo performer on the planet, with more than 140 shows performed since the beginning of Us + Them world tour. He’s currently preparing to embark on the final North American leg of his tour, where he’ll visit Costa Rica and Mexico.
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Earnings: $76.5 million (£58.7 million)
Jay Z, also known as Shawn Carter, is the highest-paid rapper in the entire world. With the success of his record production company Roc Nation and the release of hit album after hit album, it’s not hard to see why!
This year, the chart-topper made most of his wealth through his On the Run II Tour, a joint tour with his wife and R&B superstar Beyoncé (also the highest-paid female singer in the world). The pair also released a joint album called Everything Is Love which took the world by storm.
2. Bruno Mars
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Earnings: $100 million (£76.7 million)
The Hawaiian-born Bruno Mars has had a whopper of a year following the success of his third studio album 24K Magic, which sold over 2 million units in the US alone. He also embarked on a world tour, performing a staggering 212 performances!
The singer hasn’t finished yet, though, and continues to entertain his fans with his soulful voice and smooth dance moves on the last leg of his tour.
1. Ed Sheeran
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Earnings: $110 million (£84.4 million)
At just 27 years old, Ed Sheeran has managed to take the top stop as the highest-paid male singer in the world. With a unique tone of voice and impeccable talent, Sheeran differs from the rest of his fellow artists. He’s a one-man band who dresses in casual clothing and hides behind a guitar – there’s no need for lavish productions with Ed Sheeran. His simplicity is what makes him unique!
After taking a year off to travel the world, Sheeran returned to the music scene with his third album ÷ (aka Divide) which topped the charts in over 14 countries. His focus has also moved into the small screen with a cameo appearance on The Simpsons and Game of Thrones.
Who are you surprised to see on this list – and who are you shocked didn’t make the cut? Join the conversation in the comments section below and let us know!
Want to see how much the rest of the celebrities earned? Check out our list of the highest-paid celebrities in the world!
The figures contained in this article are based on data compiled and published by Forbes in their annual list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities. This list was edited to feature male solo musicians only – bands and other collaborations have been excluded. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 9 November 2018.
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 16 July 2015.