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 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 at no.4, who earned $100m this year.

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

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

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

Check out the full list of artists over on the Forbes website.

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 Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.