Taylor Swift was the highest paid musician in 2015 – by a lot

Swift earned almost twice as much as the next artist in the list

Taylor Swift was the highest-earning musician in the world last year, according to official US figures.

Experts have calculated that she earned a whopping $73.5m (£50.9m) in 2015, just from her music. Most of that – $61.7m (£42.8m) came from the massive world tour she undertook in support of her most recent album ‘1989’. She also earned $7.2m (£5m) from album sales, $4.1m (£2.8m) from publishing rights, and just $564,000 (£391,000) from streaming. The total figure doesn’t even take into account the no-doubt enormous sponsorship deals she has with, amongst others, Keds, Apple Music and Diet Coke.

According to Billboard, which compiled the figures, Swift owned 2015 to the extent that she made nearly twice as much as her nearest rival, the US country star Kenny Chesney, who made a paltry $39.8m (£27.6m) in 2015.


Other big sellers on the list include The Rolling Stones in third, with $39.6m (£27.6m) in sales; Billy Joel with $31.7m (£21.9m); and One Direction, the highest-earning British musicians, with $24.2m (£16.8m).

One Direction had the highest streaming revenue in 2015, earning $891.8m (£617.9m). It will not have escaped record industry execs’ notice that streaming accounts for by far the tiniest part of even the biggest stars’ earnings.

The top ten was rounded off by Grateful Dead & Company, Luke Bryan, U2, Adele, and Maroon 5. Other Brits in the list include Elton John in fifteenth Ed Sheeran in seventeenth.

The highest-ranked urban artist was J Cole, who with earnings of $8.8m (£6.1m) in 2015 was the twenty-seventh highest earner.