For us normal folk (and mere mortals), we spend most of our professional lives negotiating our worth and doing our best to advance and succeed in our careers – but these 10 ladies in music have it a little easier.
They’ve advanced to the top in the music industry and are recognised for their every little success. And they’re paid generously for it.
Here are the 10 highest paid singers in the world!
10. Barbra Streisand
Personal earnings: $30 million (£21.5 million)
Age really is just a number, and Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand is living proof of this. At the age of 75, she released her 35th studio album, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway in August 2016 which went on to top the charts in the UK, the US and Australia and sold over 600,000 copies that year alone.
The album was supported by a sold-out concert tour in North America called Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic, and accounted for most of Barbs’s earnings in 2017 – in fact, it grossed over $53 million at the box office!
9. Katy Perry
Personal earnings: $33 million (£23.7 million)
Katy Perry started her lucrative music career by singing about kissing girls – and look where it got her! Almost a decade later, she’s one of the best-selling female vocalists of all time, behind the likes of Barbra Streisand and Céline Dion (who is also featured on this list).
Perry’s earnings come mostly from endorsement deals with the likes of CoverGirl, Claire’s and H&M. She also launched her very own shoe line, Katy Perry Collections, and made a cameo appearance in the movie Zoolander 2. Her latest musical effort Witness (released in June 2017) and accompanying world tour, as well as a $25 million contract to serve as a judge on the upcoming ABC reboot of American Idol, are expected to at least double her income in 2017-2018.
8. Britney Spears
Personal earnings: $34 million (£24.4 million)
Britney Spears once sang that you ‘better work, b*tch’. Well, she followed her own advice – and all that hard work definitely paid off, if her income for 2016-2017 is anything to go by.
During that period, the Princess of Pop grossed over $36 million from her Las Vegas residency (when it ended in December 2017 after a 3-year run, it made more than $137 million in revenue). Sales of her perfume Fantasy in Bloom, as well as a number of endorsement deals and a mobile game for Android and iOS, also added a couple of zeros to her bank balance.
Personal earnings: $36 million (£25.8 million)
Hailing all the way from Barbados, Rihanna shot to fame back in 2005 with a series of Top 10 hits (‘Pon de Replay’, ‘SOS’ and ‘Unfaithful’) and has been releasing hit after hit ever since. Today, she is one of the best-selling artists of all time, with more than 230 million in record sales to her name.
Riri makes the bulk of her money on the road (her latest tour grossed $40.3 million in the US alone) and also makes a bit of cash (read: millions) from serving as Puma’s creative director. The talented star didn't stop there, venturing into the beauty industry and launching her very own make up line Fenty Beauty in 2017, which flew off shelves within minutes and features in high-end stores across the US. She’s also pursued a successful career in acting and co-stars in the upcoming movie Ocean’s 8 alongside Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, among others.
6. Dolly Parton
Personal earnings: $37 million (£26.6 million)
Country singer Dolly Parton once sang about the woes of working a 9-to-5 job – but, luckily for her, she doesn’t have to worry about ever working another day in her life with the kind of money she earned between 2016 and 2017!
Best known for a backlog of hits including ‘Jolene’, ‘9 to 5’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ (yes, it was Parton, not the late Whitney Houston, who originally made the song famous, way back in 1974), the Queen of Country may be 71 years old but doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon! In fact, she released her 43rd studio album, Pure & Simple, in August 2016, which was supported by a 65-date tour across North America.
5. Jennifer Lopez
Personal earnings: $38 million (£27.3 million)
Jennifer Lopez leads the top five best-paid women in music. The 10-time Billboard Latin Music Award winner started her career as an actress and rose to international acclaim for her leading performance in the 1997 biopic Selena. Lopez didn’t venture into the music industry until two years later with the release of her debut studio album On the 6, a Top 10 hit which went on to sell over 8 million copies worldwide.
Lopez’s annual income is made up of ticket sales from her ongoing Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood, as well as acting fees for her appearance in Ice Age: Collision Course and lucrative endorsement deals with the likes of L’Oréal.
4. Céline Dion
Personal earnings: $42 million (£30.2 million)
While the beginning of 2016 was undoubtedly a difficult time for Céline Dion (having lost her husband of 22 years René Angélil and her brother Daniel in the space of just 2 days, both to cancer), the French Canadian chanteuse has since made a comeback as bombastic as her voice.
Best known for chart-topping hits like ‘The Power of Love’, ‘Because You Loved Me’ and, of course, that song from Titanic, Dion’s earnings were amassed mainly from ticket sales for her residency show Celine at the Colosseum in Las Vegas, where she has been performing almost nightly since 2003 (bar for a 3-year break in 2008 to embark on a world tour and welcome twins into the world). Additional earnings came from sales for her 15th French-language LP (and 26th overall) Encore un soir, as well as a 28-date promotional tour of Belgium, France and her native Canada.
3. Taylor Swift
Personal earnings: $44 million (£31.6 million)
At the age of 28, Taylor Swift is already a 10-time Grammy Award winner and one of the world’s best-selling female vocalists ever, as well as one of the most influential women in entertainment. So influential that between the 2016-2017 scoring period, Swift didn’t really get up to all that much – but still managed to make a tonne of money, anyway!
Her latest release, Reputation, produced the No 1 single ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ and went on to become the best-selling album in 2017 in the US. She also partnered with former One Direction member Zayn Malik on the song ‘I Don’t Want to Love Forever’ for Fifty Shades Darker – it peaked at No 2 and earned the duo an MTV Millennial Award for Best Collaboration.
Personal earnings: $69 million (£49.6 million)
English singer Adele sure is ‘rolling in the deep’ – she’s neck-high in cash! The majority of her earnings were amassed from ticket sales for her 121-date world tour in support of her third studio album 25, released in November 2015. The tour began in February 2016 visited countries like Australia, Canada, France, the UK and the US before concluding 16 months and some $170 million in revenue later.
In February 2017, meanwhile, Adele picked up five Grammy Awards, including for Album of the Year and promptly broke it in half to share with Beyoncé (who – surprise, surprise – tops the list of the highest paid female singers in the world).
Personal earnings: $105 million (£75.5 million)
All hail Queen B! Aside from being one of the most successful women in music history (with half a dozen Billboard No 1 singles and a jaw-dropping 22 Grammy Awards safely tucked under her belt), Beyoncé has also been crowned the highest paid female musician of the year.
And it’s easy to see why: her visual album Lemonade (her sixth solo No 1) became the best-selling album of 2016, with international sales exceeding 2.5 million copies, and was supported by a 49-date sold-out tour across Europe and North America which grossed a whopping $256 million. Beyoncé, meanwhile, also has a stake in streaming service Tidal, along with husband Jay-Z and other musicians including Madonna and Calvin Harris.
From Barbs to Queen B, these were the highest paid female singers in the world between 2016 and 2017, with collective pre-tax earnings of $468 million (£336.5 million)!
What would you do with that kind of money? Join the conversation down below and let us know!
Want to see how much the guys earned? Check out our list of the highest paid male singers!
If you still want to read more about girl power, though, check out who make up the top 10 highest paid actresses in the world!
Celebrity earnings are based on pre-tax income data compiled and published by Forbes for the period June 2016 to June 2017. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 13 February 2018.