Dr. Dre is now the top paid celebrity on the Forbes celebrity earnings list for annual earnings between June 2013 and 2014. He has ousted Sean “Diddy” Combs from the top spot of highest paid hop hop artist, and what makes the $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings so astronomical is that it is actually the highest of any musician in any genre ever evaluated by Forbes. It is also more than the combined takings of the other 24 artists listed on the top hip-hop earners list.
A large portion of Dre’s earnings came from the historic $3 billion sale of the Beats high-end headphone company he helped co-found with music executive Jimmy Iovine. Another significant portion also came from his financial ventures with various cognac and vodka brands.
The Forbes list was compiled using income earned from record sales, publishing, merchandise sales, tours and endorsement deals and talking to managers, agents, lawyers and artists. Forbes also used data from Pollstar, Nielsen SoundScan and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The estimate does not deduct expenditures or fees.
Other artists who appeared on the list include Sean Combs and Jay-Z tied for second place with $60 million in earnings. Jay-Z’s earnings came from his Roc Nation empire, 68 concerts and his latest album going platinum before it was even released. Combs’ earnings came from vodka and tequila ventures as well as a clothing line and RevoltTV. Drake earned the fourth spot with $33 million in earnings from his album, concert tour and endorsement deal with Nike. The fifth spot went to rap duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis who had $32 million in earnings. Two newcomers to the list were CJ Khaled and J. Cole who tied for the 20th spot with earnings of $7 million. For both artists, these earnings represented new highs in their careers.