Becoming a successful singer or musician and making it big in the music industry is far from easy. Indeed, with countless artists out there hoping to get noticed, the competition for up and coming singers is incredibly fierce.
While many fantasise about their big break in fame, others make lucrative earnings by living out their dream. Undoubtedly, though, along with golden contracts, platinum records and distinguished awards comes dedication, passion and real talent. These 10 men have it all.
So, who are the highest-earning male singers of 2020? Read on and find out!
10. Bruno Mars
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2018–2019 earnings: $51 million
Hawaiian-born Bruno Mars is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 200 million singles and 26 million albums worldwide. His last album, 2016’s 24k Magic, was a huge success, earning him six Grammy Awards in 2018 as well as Artist of the Year at the 2017 American Music Awards.
Mars has worked with numerous prominent artists, including the likes of Ed Sheeran and Gucci Mane. Most notably, his collaboration with Cardi B landed Mars with another hit single, peaking at No 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 2019.
9. Billy Joel
2018–2019 earnings: $52 million
Billy Joel has had an illustrious solo career over the past 40-plus years, blessing the world with his musical talent and 33 Top 40 hits in the US (including ‘Piano Man’). The singer-songwriter, composer and pianist, more commonly known as the Piano Man among his fans, was inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and is a regular resident at Madison Square Garden where he’s been performing live since 2014.
Even though Joel hasn’t produced a new album since 1993, and while his rock and roll days are behind him, this hasn’t stopped his shows from selling out.
8. Justin Timberlake
2018–2019 earnings: $57.5 million
Justin Timberlake has come a long way since his early days at the Mickey Mouse Club and his seven-year stint with NSYNC. Indeed, his solo career has been a successful one, with over 32 million albums and 56 million singles sold globally and 10 Grammy Awards safely tucked under his belt.
In 2018, Timberlake’s The Man of the Woods Tour became the sixth-highest grossing tour of the year, with over $225 million in earnings. The pop star is currently preparing to for his next project, the Trolls World Tour, which will take off in 2020.
7. Travis Scott
2018–2019 earnings: $58 million
Travis Scott’s debut studio album Rodeo, followed by his first single ‘Antidote’, was a turning point for the rapper’s career. Since then, Scott has hit many musical milestones, including a No 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018 and a collaboration with The Weeknd and SZA for HBO’s Game of Thrones.
In 2019, Netflix released Scott’s much anticipated documentary Look Mom I Can Fly. The film traces Scott’s road to stardom, giving his fans an inside look at the rapper’s journey and rise to fame.
6. Sean Combs
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2018–2019 earnings: $70 million
Rapper Sean Combs has undergone many name changes over the course of his career – including P Diddy, Puff Daddy, Puffy, B Love and Diddy.
Beyond his musical success, Combs has also dabbled in numerous entrepreneurial ventures, including a clothing line and two restaurants (which have since closed), while he co-owns the DeLeón Tequila, Cîroc vodka and Aquahydrate beverage brands. He also signed a contract to executive produce MTV’s reboot of Making the Band, scheduled to premiere in 2020.
2018–2019 earnings: $75 million
Drake first entered the limelight as a child actor on the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi: The Next Generation. His big musical break, however, came about in 2009 after getting signed by Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment label. His second album, 2011’s Take Care, earned Drake his first Grammy for the Best Rap Album of the Year and was certified four-times platinum as of 2016.
Drake’s lyricism and pop talent has earned him a huge fan base and led to countless of top hits over the past decade, including the chart-topper ‘God’s Plan’ which spent 11 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200, only to be dethroned by himself with his next single ‘Nice for What’.
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2018–2019 earnings: $81 million
Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, is one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records across the globe. 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 how the chart-topper made it into the list of the highest-paid male singers of 2019.
Part of Jay-Z’s fortune comes from his business ventures, which include urban clothing line Rocawear and streaming service Tidal, which he co-owns with a string of A-lister musicians.
His collaboration with his wife and R&B superstar Beyoncé (who is featured on this year’s list of the highest-paid female singers in the world) on Everything Is Love took the world by storm and earned the power couple a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
3. Elton John
2018–2019 earnings: $84 million
Elton John’s contributions to the music world have turned him into an iconic figure within the industry. The singer, songwriter, pianist and composer has countless of achievements to account for, including 50 Top 40 hits, composing 1994’s The Lion King soundtrack, a long list of the industry’s most coveted accolades, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
After his Vegas residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas came to an end in 2018, John embarked on a three-year farewell tour and plans to retire from music to spend time with his children.
2. Ed Sheeran
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2018–2019 earnings: $110 million
At just 28 years old, Ed Sheeran is no stranger to success. With a unique tone of voice and impeccable talent, Sheeran is a one-man band who dresses in casual clothing and hides behind a guitar. With one top hit after another, the pop singer has earned countless awards and nominations, including four Grammy Awards and six Billboard Music Awards.
The pop icon has also tried his hand in acting, with a recurring role in medieval drama The Bastard Executioner, a guest appearance on Game of Thrones and a supporting role in the film Yesterday, which was released in June 2019.
1. Kanye West
2018–2019 earnings: $150 million
Despite being prone to controversy, Kanye West has been dubbed as one of the most influential artists of his time. Starting his career as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, Kanye worked with several prominent artists including Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Shortly after, his debut album The College Dropout paved the way to a lucrative career as a rapper, with every studio album he has ever produced since going platinum.
Beyond his successful musical career, Kanye’s earnings are also the result of numerous business ventures such as his production company GOOD Music, creative content company DONDA, and music streaming service Tidal (which he has since left).
Pursuing a career in the music industry is a risky bet. While many have the talent and the skill, winning a spot in the limelight is all a matter of luck and perseverance. However, these top earners are proof that it can be done.
Of course, their wealth is also, in part, the result of various projects and business ventures, proving that they are not only talented singers but also savvy entrepreneurs.
Which of these singers do you admire the most? Let us know in the comments section below!