For some, 2021 was a great year but for others, Covid-19 has decimated touring, with brutal effects for artists who rely on gigs as a primary source of income.

But some of the biggest names in music had a very fruitful 2021, raking in millions and millions of dollars.

Here’s a list of the artists that managed to make it work despite everything that’s gone on.


Taylor Swift

In 2021 Taylor earned $80 million in total.

Taylor Swift is an American pop and country music singer-songwriter. 

In 2004, at 14, Taylor signed a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV, leading her to be the youngest signing in the company’s history.

In 2006 she signed with Big Machine Records and scored her first Top 40 hit with “Tim McGraw.” 

Her catalog, which was the main factor in her reaching the top ten, was sold out from under her, Swift’s revenge moves.

She re-recorded old albums rereleasing two of them.

Both of which topped the charts, with ‘Red’ (Taylor’s Version) and ‘Fearless’ (Taylor’s Version) becoming No. 2 and No. 4 albums of 2021 in terms of total sales.

Partnerships with Peloton and Starbucks further gave her more credibility.

Next, we have:

Blake Shelton 

Blake earned $83 million in 2021.

He is an American country music singer and television personality.

He is the only country singer on this list and landed a respectable $50 million for a previously unreported catalog sale of his own.

He further increased his earnings with his eight-figure salary for The Voice, a new album Body Language, and a tour that earned him $14.5 million despite the pandemic.

Then on the list is:

Mötley Crüe

The band reportedly earned $95 million in 2021.

They specialize in heavy metal glam and metal hard rock.

Mötley Crüe reached their peak popularity with the release of their fifth album, the Bob Rock produced Dr. Feelgood, on September 1, 1989.

On October 14th of that year, it became a No.1.

The band’s master-recordings sale earned Mötley Crüe’s takings.

It was made possible by the heavy-metal mainstays’ rare ability to hang on to their masters until now.

Next up is:

Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey earned an astonishing $100 million in 2021.

His main genre is rock new wave.

Lindsey was still part of Fleetwood Mac, when released his first solo album, ‘Law and Order’ in 1981.

One of the songs from the album, ‘Trouble’, featuring Mick Fleetwood on the drums, became a hit and climbed to the number nine spot on the US charts.

All his earnings were due to an album published to Hipgnosis.

The album he parted with includes more than 160 songs, among them is a primary songwriter credit on the licensable “Go Your Own Way.”

Then we have:

Red Hot Chili Peppers

In 2021 they earned $145 million!

They are an American rock band that combined funk and punk rock to create a new musical style in the 1980s.

The alt-rockers sold their publishing catalog to Hipgnosis in May, but they didn’t give it away.

Reportedly, the band banked $140 million for a vast amount of songs that were written throughout their career which spans over five decades.

The Chilis are apparently working on a new album, due out later this year.

Next on the list is:

Ryan Tedder

He earned $200 million in 2021.

Ryan specializes in pop-rock and alternative rock.

In 2002, Ryan met the producer Timberland which allowed things really start moving for the singer.

He later wrote the famous track ‘Apologise’ for his band OneRepublic, breaking records across the world.

Ryan has also worked with other big artists such as Adele and Taylor Swift.

In January last year, KKR bought the vast majority of his remaining publishing copyrights; taking home $200 million.

Ryan continues to earn elsewhere and OneRepublic released ‘Human’ in August.

Then we have:

Kanye West

In 2021 Kanye earned $250 million.

He focuses on hip hop, progressive rap, and pop music.

He released his debut solo album, The College Dropout, in 2004 and it was massively successful with sales soaring.

His Yeezy footwear empire accounted for the majority of his income in 2021.

Also, his new album Donda was released in August and named after his late mother.

It became his ninth consecutive solo record to top the charts.

Kanye is well-known for his unerring sense of self-belief, with such utterings as “I’m going down as a legend, whether you like me or not. I am the new Jim Morrison. I am the new Kurt Cobain” and “My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.

Next up is:

Paul Simon

In 2021 Paul earned a total of $250 million.

Simon is formerly one half of Simon and Garfunkel and his main genre is folk-rock and pop.

What kicked his career off was his biggest solo success in 1975 with Still Crazy After All These Years.

The singer-songwriter sold his entire catalog to Sony Music Publishing last March.

The deal spanned Simon’s solo work as well as rights to songs he wrote as part of Simon and Garfunkel.

Everyone should watch the hilarious video for his song “You can call me Al”

The runner up on the list is:


In 2021 he earned an amazing $470 million.

His main genre is hip hop.

Jay-Z became involved in several battles with rapper LL Cool J in the early 1990s.

He first became known to a wide audience on the posse cut “Show and Prove” on the 1994 Big Daddy Kane album Daddy’s Home.

He is the runner-up on this year’s list, but he just clocked the highest annual earnings in the whole of his career.

Last February, he sold half of his Armand de Brignac champagne to luxury giant LVMH for $300 million.

A few months later, he and his Tidal co-owners offloaded 80 percent of the streaming service to Square for $302 million.

And finally at the top of the list:

Bruce Springsteen

He earned a total of $590 million in 2021.

“The Boss” is a legendary rocker focuses on rock music.

He made a breakout in 1975 from his record, Born to Run.

Bruce sold his publishing copyrights and master recordings to Sony, his longtime musical home, in December.

His $550 million hauls made history as the largest sale of a solo catalogue ever.

Bruce returned to Broadway last summer added millions to his tally, as did two projects with Barack Obama: a Spotify podcast called Renegades: Born in the USA and a book of the same title, from the two icons’ conversations on everything from music to fatherhood.

Not a bad year’s work for a 72-year-old!

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