Most folks would assume Taylor Swift is a higher earner than Blake Shelton. Just because she’s got more Grammy’s doesn’t mean she makes more money, however. Shockingly, Shelton made more money in 2021 than the “Betty” singer. Here’s how he did it.
Highest Earners In Music
Rolling Stone announced the ten highest-paid musicians of 2021. Bruce Springsteen topped the list thanks to his podcast deal, book, and selling his back catalog to Sony. He earned $550 million from the Sony deal alone, which is a record. This also hints at how Shelton was so successful.
Coming in at number 10 is Taylor Swift, the only woman on the list. Swift famously does not own her masters, so she’s chosen to re-record her own music. Two of these recordings, Red and Fearless, were two of the top five best-selling albums of the year. Throw in some lucrative partnerships, and it’s not surprising to see Swift hit $80 million.
Shelton Reaps Even More
Shelton took home $83 million last year and was the highest earner in country music. The Voice accounted for at least $10 million, and a new album helped as well. Unlike Swift, Shelton went out on tour and grossed $14.5 million. Not too shabby.
Factoring in his commercials and partnerships, Shelton still wouldn’t come close to what Swift earned. How did he do it? Well, he sold his catalog too. In fact, most of the top earners in 2021 did so by selling their music to corporations. Shelton made $50 million in an unreported sale, according to the magazine.
Selling Catalogs Is The Way
The top ten list is dominated by stars selling catalogs to labels. Shelton is joined by Lindsey Buckingham, who earned $100 million by selling his catalog to Hipgnosis. The Red Hot Chili Peppers did the same and made away with $145 million.
Mötley Crüe hasn’t released new music in years, but they’re number 8 on this list thanks to a $95 million master-recordings sale to BMG. Paul Simon went with Sony, as Springsteen did, but only made $260 million for his entire catalog.
One of Swift’s own writing partners made more than her. Ryan Tedder, OneRepublic frontman and songwriter on 1989, sold his publishing copyrights for $200 million. You have to hand it to Swift though: she’s the only woman in the top 10 and didn’t get there by selling her publishing rights.
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