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Top 10 richest singers in the world

By William Gish

Reading list of the world’s ten richest singers can be surprising. There isn’t always a correlation between wealth and mainstream popularity. Accounts of net worth also vary greatly, which can lead to great headaches. Here, however, is a pretty good estimate of the world’s ten richest singers.

1.Paul McCartney. It’s no surprise that the former Beatle is one of the world’s richest musicians. Even after a costly divorce, Sir Paul’s net worth is estimated at $660 million. The richest Beatle chose wise legal council, and invested in song publishing rights. Being a member of The Beatles, who have sold over 170 million albums in the United States alone, doesn’t hurt either.

2.Jay-Z. As of 2007, Forbes posted Jay-Z’s worth at $150 million. Since then, he’s sold Rocawear for $204 and made a $150 million deal with Live Nation. That’s $504 million, not considering deals with Budweiser and Armadale Vodka, and proceeds from 2009’s multiplatinum “Blueprint 3”.

3.Madonna. Forbes has named Madonna the world’s richest female musician, with a “conservative” estimate of $325 million as of 2007. The material girl reaps huge dividends from her tours, and she’s had a few since ‘07. Her vanity label, Maverick Records, has grown into a respectable institution, netting Madonna millions. Extensive real estate holdings enhance Madonna’s excessive wealth.

4.David Bowie. Accounts of David Bowie’s wealth vary wildly. According to Business Age Magazine, he has in excess of $900 million. The Sunday Times, however, puts Bowie’s wealth at $151 million. Either way, he is one of the world’s richest singers. Bowie has made very shrewd investments, and made a killing selling his music rights as stock.

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5.Sean Combs. Call him P, Puffy, Diddy, or Daddy: either way you slice it, Sean Combs is one of the world’s richest singers. Yet most of his $346 million comes from his non-musical activities. As founder of Bad Boy Entertainment and the Sean John clothing line, Combs has made heaps of money with his business acumen.

6.Beyoncé. Princess of Pop and Jay-Z’s Queen B Beyoncé is worth a whopping $315 million. Between her solo records and Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé has sold over 100 million records. Queen B has starred in successful films like “Dream Girls”, has deals with the likes of Pepsi, and broke the record for most Grammys won by a female performer in one night in 2010. At 29 years old, Beyoncé is the youngest of the world’s richest singers.

7.Mick Jagger. Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger made most of his $288 million the old way, through touring, record sales and merchandising. Stones ticket prices are notoriously expensive, and their tongue logo is ubiquitous. Sir Mick has also acted in a produced a number of films, such as “Performance” and “Enigma”.

8.Elton John.  Elton John has sold more records than The Rolling Stones, and he is only one man, so he isn’t sharing the wealth with anyone. His worth is estimated at $265 million. In addition to several high profile tours, including a joint venture with Billy Joel, Elton John has written music for several films.

9.Céline Dion. To anyone younger than 50 with a sense of irony, Céline Dion will always and exclusively be known as the set of pipes behind the “Titanic” theme song with the inappropriately old and overweight husband. Dion, however, is one of the most successful performers in Las Vegas history. Her net worth of $250 million makes her one of the world’s richest singers, and can be attributed not only to her Vegas show, but worldwide album sales in excess of 200 million.

10.Mariah Carey. Having sold 160 million records, its no wonder Mariah Carey is one of the world’s richest musicians. Her estimated net worth of $225 million can be attributed not only to her success as a singer, but her endorsement deals with Nescafe and, weirdly, Aeon English Language School in Japan (which leads us to wonder whether Asian is one of the many races that have gone into Carey’s multifaceted ethnic make-up).

Resources: Forbes Magazine, New York Times, Sunday Times, Grammy