Unlike Ghana where no data can be collected on record sales, concert attendance and all, musicians in established jurisdiction like America are always up to some competition with who makes what and by kindest courtesy Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes puts together a list of the wealthiest female musicians of 2016.
The title of one of Madonna’s most popular songs is right on the money: “Material Girl.” With a personal fortune of $560 million, she’s one of the richest self-made women in the country–and claims the top spot on our first-ever list of America’s Wealthiest Female Musicians.
Though Madonna has been in show business for decades, her earnings power is as strong as ever. Her recently-wrapped Rebel Heart tour grossed $170 million, adding to her whopping career total: an estimated $1.4 billion on the road alone.
The latest cash infusion adds to a fortune already rich with royalties and the rising value of her real estate portfolio, which includes an outrageously large townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side purchased at the bottom of the market, as well as a fine art collection reportedly featuring the likes of Picasso, Kahlo and Man Ray.
Her secret? ”I’m a workaholic,” she once said. “I have insomnia. And I’m a control freak.”
Celine Dion ranks second with a net worth of $380 million. Yes, she was born in Canada, but the fact that the “My Heart Will Go On” singer has made the bulk of her bucks in Las Vegas–netting some $260 million from shows there since 2003–renders her eligible for the list.
After a hiatus to care for her ailing husband (who passed away in January), Dion has resumed her performances and is scheduled to perform her thousandth show in Vegas by year’s end. She has also earned money from tours and from selling more than 220 million records worldwide.
Barbra Streisand rounds out the top three with a fortune of $370 million. She may not be wealthiest on the list, but she probably has the most extensive resume. Pick just about any award, and Streisand has won it: Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy, Legion D’Honneur, Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Streisand is also the only musical act to have a No. 1 album six decades in a row, and she’s grossed hundreds of millions of dollars for her live shows over the years. Streisand lives well, too: sources say her Malibu compound, reportedly purchased for less than $20 million, could be worth nearly $100 million.
Beyoncé Knowles claims the fourth spot, clocking in at $265 million. The sultry songstress has already pulled in more than $500 million in gross earnings as a solo artist—and now she and husband Jay Z (net worth: $610 million) are chugging toward the billion-dollar mark.
That could come sooner than later, thanks to income from joint tours, multi million-dollar endorsement deals and stakes in companies like Tidal, the streaming service she and her husband co-own with Madonna and others. Ever the businesswoman, Beyoncé launched her latest album, Lemonade, exclusively on Tidal in April ahead of a wider release; the record became her sixth to debut at No. 1 on the charts.
“I’ve never met anyone that works harder than me in my industry,”Beyoncé told FORBES in 2009.
Finishing at No. 5 is Taylor Swift, who at 26 is the youngest name on this list–and our larger list of America’s wealthiest self-made women–with a net worth of $250m. The onetime country starlet has transformed herself into arguably the world’s biggest pop superstar, padding her considerable coffers with her 1989 Tour, which grossed a quarter of a billion dollars last year, far more than any other tour.
At the same time, Swift has become an outspoken advocate for musicians’ rights to fair royalty rates as the industry adjusts to the streaming model, pulling her music from Spotify and penning a firm letter to Apple that many believe caused the company to change its tune last year.
Inevitably, some of the wealthier musicians listed above will slow down, and a new generation will rise up to join these elite ranks. Perhaps the most likely up-and-comer? Katy Perry, whose net worth we estimate at $125 million.
Since entering the mainstream consciousness with surprise hit “I Kissed A Girl” in 2008, she has pulled in more than $350 million pretax. From June 2014 to June 2015 alone, she earned $135 million, playing 124 concerts in 27 countries—and joined a club that includes Self Made Women list members Beyoncé and Madonna by gracing the cover of the FORBES Celebrity 100 issue.
“I don’t feel like my career is a ticking time bomb,” Perry told FORBES. “I don’t feel like I’ll always have to be feeding the meter of show business. I got my spot, yo.”
Additional reporting by Natalie Robehmed