Skip to main content

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Motley Crue among the 10 best paid artists of 2021

Chili Crue
(Image credit: RHCP - Kevin Winter/Getty Images: Motley Crue - Brian Rasic/WireImage)

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Mötley Crüe were among the 10 highest-paid artists of 2021, according to a new report by former Forbes editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg, published by Rolling Stone.com.

While the on-going pandemic kept both of the Los Angeles-based veteran rock acts off the road in 2021, the Chili Peppers and the Crüe secured their positions in the top 10, at number 6 and number 8, respectively, by selling the rights to their catalogues. The Chili Peppers banked a reported $140 million from the sale of their songs to Hipgnosis, while the Crue are believed to have trousered around $90 million (not $150 million as initially reported) by flogging their songs to BMG. 

The profits made by both acts, however, were dwarfed by the earnings of the number one artist on the list, Bruce Springsteen, who is estimated to have earned $590 million in 2021, with $550 million of that coming total coming from the December sale of his catalogue to Sony.

The only female artist included in the top 10 in the report is Taylor Swift, who earned a reputed $80 million in 2021.

Rolling Stone notes: “The list measures pretax income for calendar year 2021 before deducting fees for agents, managers, lawyers, living expenses, etc. Estimates are generated by scouring public documents and interviewing individuals with direct knowledge of major deals.”

The Chili Peppers and Mötley Crüe aim to return to the road in 2022. The Chili Peppers are scheduled to begin a global stadium tour in Seville, Spain on June 4, while the Crüe hope to kick off their long-delayed co-headlining tour of US stadiums with Def Leppard on June 16, in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder and Metal Hammer. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.