Many men and women dream of one day becoming a professional singer, but only a few ever accomplish that dream.
Even fewer people are fortunate enough to go on to become global megastars, selling millions of records, topping the music charts and selling out the world’s biggest stadiums in the process.
These 10 women did just that — and they made millions along the way.
Join us as we count down the 10 highest-paid female singers in the world, according to Forbes’ latest rankings, and find out how they made their hard-earned money between 2021 and 2022.
10. Katy Perry
Earnings: $330 million
Katy Perry took the world by storm when she released her chart-topping hit “I Kissed a Girl” back in 2008, and almost 14 years later, she’s doing anything but slowing down.
The five-time Billboard Music Award winner embarked on a 115-date world tour in late 2017 to support her album Witness, with stops in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas. While this was one of her most notable tours and good to remember, Perry also started a Las Vegas residency at The Theatre at Resorts World in December 2021.
Perry also signed a contract to return as a judge for American Idol, with the newest season being released in spring 2023. When you’re Katy Perry, you just don’t stop! If you’re a diehard Katy Perry fan, check out her upcoming tour dates and experience one of the most magnificent entertainers!
Earnings: $360 million
Cher’s professional career started out with her husband, Sonny, with the hit song “I Got You Babe” selling over 40 million records globally. Over her singing career, she has released 26 studio albums and has won numerous awards, including a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award and three Golden Globe Awards.
From a young age, Cher’s life was anything but perfect, but the way she rose above it and continued moving forward was the inspiration for The Cher Show. You can purchase tickets for the shows 2022/23 tour and see for yourself how truly amazing this woman is.
Cher, known as the “Goddess of Pop”, is currently focusing on her new album and her philanthropic outlets. She may be extremely rich, but she’s certainly giving back in any way she can!
8. Dolly Parton
Earnings: $375 million
Parton’s career started out partnering with Porter Wagoner on the Porter Wagoner Show, where they performed and recorded countless country hits. From there, Parton branched out to a solo career and took to RCA Records where she then won the Country Music Association award for female vocalist in 1975–1976. She has 52 studio albums, 9 live albums, and 222 compilation albums, but she’s still recording, so these numbers will only go up! Great news for Dolly Parton fans!
Parton performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas and also released her album Run, Rose, Run in March 2022. Most notably, she was recently nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dolly Parton, the “Queen of Country” is a true music icon!
7. Jennifer Lopez
Earnings: $400 million
Jennifer Lopez has released eight studio albums in her singing career as well as some compilation albums with other artists. Lopez last toured in 2019 in celebration of her 50th birthday, but at this moment, she has no real plan to tour again. She has acted or produced over 126 films, which may explain why she’s not as available to tour again.
While die hard JLo fans are paying for a new tour or a new solo album, there are only rumors, nothing from Lopez herself. If you’re a mega-fan, don’t give up; perhaps when her film career slows down, her music career will take off again.
Earnings: $420 million
As one of the most powerful women in the entertainment industry, it’s no surprise to see Beyoncé on the list—and she may stay on the list forever.
Beyoncé’s career started out with the group Destiny’s Child before she branched out on her own and took the music industry by storm. The singer-turned-actress-turned-entrepreneur partnered with Adidas to relaunch her activewear clothing line, Ivy Park, which aimed to put out shoes, lifestyle apparel and performance gear. Since then, Beyoncé has focused on appearances and modeling jobs, and recording her music. She dropped her new album Renaissance in July 2022, so go check it out to get your Beyoncé fix.
When it comes to Beyoncé, her songs have always been powerful; you can’t stop singing one of her songs once you get started. As Bey herself would say, girls run the world, and she is certainly proving that theory correct with her music career.
5. Barbra Streisand
Earnings: $425 million
Barbra Streisand has released over 50 albums throughout her career. Fans went crazy over her “final tour” in 2000, where Streisand gave a lengthy encore letting the fans know: “It feels like time to say goodbye to this part of my life.” She has spent her over 60-year career acting and singing, where she won an Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award along the way. She still holds the title of the woman with the most 40-charting albums.
Streisand released an album in mid-2021 titled Release Me 2 and a further album in 2022 called Walls. If you’re a dedicated Streisand fan, you’ve already listened to these albums more than you can count. While she doesn’t have any plans to tour, she’s clearly still making music; what could be better!
4. Céline Dion
Earnings: $470 million
Céline Dion, it seems, is still as relevant today as she was back in the 1990s when she dominated the global charts with a string of hits including “The Power of Love”, “Because You Loved Me” and, of course, that song from Titanic. Three decades on, she doesn’t seem to be slowing down!
She has sold an estimated 212.5 million albums in her career, making her the second best-selling female artist in history. With her 27 studio albums, 19 compilation albums, 7 live albums, and 25 box sets, Dion’s career as a musician has been nothing short of spectacular!
She is still performing, and recently took to the stage with a show at Resorts World Las Vegas in late 2021. Dion put on quite the show for the Opening Night Benefit Show for COVID-19 Relief; she has truly found a way to incorporate her love of music and helping others. Her most recent 2022 European tour was canceled due to some health problems, but she has no desire to let that keep her down. We should expect to see more from her when her health improves. As you can see, Dion has a well-deserved spot on this list!
3. Taylor Swift
Earnings: $570 million
It seems that Taylor Swift will always be on this list; while dropping a few spots from number one, she’s still one of the highest-paid female singers in the world.
While Swift has faced some turmoil through her singing career, since she started at just 14 years old, her contract gave her recording studio the rights to her music. She was not happy with this arrangement, so she signed a new deal with Republic Records in 2018 and now has the rights to her own music. Her success has been mostly due to her albums Fearless and Red that took the world by storm during the global pandemic. Following this, she released a further two albums, titled Folklore and Evermore. The country-turned-pop singer also has endorsement deals with Peloton and Starbucks — no wonder she makes the list!
Swift is also on the list of the highest-paid entertainers, according to Forbes. No surprise there, as she doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Earnings: $575 million
It’s no surprise that Madonna has made the list; she’s truly a singing legend and icon. Her income comes from acting, publishing deals, and the many endorsements that she participates in. While her over 14 studio albums and tours are said to be where Madonna makes her money, it’s nice to have other avenues producing income as well, and that’s just what she has done.
In exciting news, Madonna is set to release a new album in 2022. Her last tour was in 2020, and we can all hope that with the release of her new album, maybe a new tour will be coming our way! We don’t see her stopping anytime soon. She shattered the music scene back in the 1980s and it seems her personality doesn’t seem to know when to quit; that’s what we love about her!
Earnings: $1.4 billion
Best known for hits like “Diamonds”, “Pon de Replay” and “Umbrella”, Rihanna continues to make most of her money from Fenty Beauty, a cosmetics brand under LVMH, which helped her get onto the Forbes Billionaire List in 2021. Other sources of income include sales from her Savage X Fenty lingerie line, while she also launched her very own fashion house, Fenty, in May 2019 and is watching the fruits of her labors grow exponentially.
Meanwhile, the Barbadian singer was planning to release her ninth studio album in 2020, her first since 2016’s Anti, but as of right now, that album has been put on hold. Rihanna fans, stay strong and remember that she’s still one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the world, so maybe that will keep her coming back for more!
All these 10 ladies have certainly enjoyed incredible success on a global scale, both on and off the music charts — and they have their bank balances to prove it.
But will they maintain that success in the coming years? Do you think we’ll see these ladies on Forbes’ next ranking of the highest-paid female singers in the world? Or will newcomer talents like Billie Eilish and Jessie Reyez take their spots?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!
This is an updated version of an article originally published on 30 January 2020 and contains contributions by Shalie Reich.