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 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 Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.