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Metallica, Eagles and Guns N’ Roses among 2019's top earners

Metallica's James Hetfield, Eagles' Don Henley and Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose
Metallica's James Hetfield, Eagles' Don Henley and Axl Rose from Guns N' Roses (Image credit: Georg Hochmuth/AFP, Ethan Miller, Paul Kane - Getty )

Forbes (opens in new tab) have released their annual list of the world’s top-earning musicians – and the rock and metal world feature across the top 40.

To come up with the final figures, the website worked with Pollstar, Nielsen Music and industry insiders – including some of the artists themselves – and have taken into consideration income from “touring, music and outside business ventures.”

The list measures pre-tax earnings and has not deducted funds that would go to managers, agents or lawyers.

Top of the earners is Taylor Swift with earnings of $185 million in 2019. The first rock act to make the top 40 is Eagles (opens in new tab) at no.4, who earned $100m this year.

Elton John (opens in new tab) is at no.5 with $84m while Metallica (opens in new tab) land at no.10 with a tally of $68.5m earned in 2019.

The next rock artist in the list are Fleetwood Mac (opens in new tab) at no.21 with $49m while Paul McCartney (opens in new tab) is tied at no.22 with Ariana Grande with both earning $48m.

Gun N’ Roses (opens in new tab) are at no.25 with $44m, the Rolling Stones (opens in new tab) are at no.28 with $41m while U2 (opens in new tab) enter the top 40 at no. 39 with $37m.

Check out the full list of artists over on the Forbes website (opens in new tab).

Forbes top-earning rock musicians of 2019

  • Eagles: $100m
  • Elton John: $84m
  • Metallica: $68.5m
  • Fleetwood Mac: $49m
  • Paul McCartney: $48m
  • Guns N’ Roses: $44m
  • Rolling Stones: $41m
  • U2: $37m

Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.