Lemonade was a hit with both critics and fans, giving Beyoncé her sixth solo No. 1. The ensuing Formation World Tour, much of it falling into our list's scoring period, grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. Then she took time off as she and husband Jay-Z welcomed twins Rumi and Sir this summer. Adele finished second, earning $69 million, boosted by seven-figure nightly grosses on her first proper tour since 2011.
"Adele’s music appeals to listeners of all ages all over the world with her undeniably powerful, emotional vocal interpretations paired with timeless songwriting and production," says multiplatinum singer-songwriter Skylar Grey. "No matter what genre someone generally subscribes to, it’s hard to find a music lover who doesn’t appreciate what she does."
In order to form our list, we looked at pretax income from June 1, 2016 through June 1, 2017, and did not take out fees charged by agents, managers and lawyers. We gathered data from Nielsen SoundScan, Pollstar, the RIAA and interviews with industry insiders. The two mononymous stars both earned tens of millions more than the rest of the pack, but there are plenty of notable names further down the list.
Taylor Swift raked in $44 million to claim the No. 3 spot, representing a significant dip from the peak of her 1989 Tour. With the release of new alum Reputation—already the best-selling album of 2017—which came after the end of this list’s scoring period, look for her earnings total to rise significantly in next year’s accounting.
Celine Dion ranks fourth with $42 million, resuming a lucrative Las Vegas residency last February after going on hiatus in the wake of her husband’s January 2016 death. Jennifer Lopez rounds out the top five with $38 million, also boosted by a standing Sin City gig, as well as new show World of Dance, where she serves as both judge and producer.
The rest of the list proves that age is just a number: 71-year-old Dolly Parton (No. 6, $37 million) still tours with the rigor of stars half her age, grossing mid-six figures per city across 63 dates during our scoring period; Barbra Streisand (No. 10, $30 million) remains a huge draw even at 75, selling $46 million worth of tickets on her 14-show stint last year. Next up: Netflix special Barbra: The Music…The Mem’ries…The Magic!
Earning double-digit millions does not guarantee a spot on this vaunted list—as near misses Madonna, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande can attest. The first two names should be back in the running the next time they go on tour; the latter two could be, too, as their careers continue to progress.
Despite the success of the female stars on the list, there are regrettably still more than twice as many men than women among music's top-earning stars. Acts like the ninth-highest-paid woman, Katy Perry--who earned millions from endorsement deals with the likes of CoverGirl, Claire's and H&M--are doing their best to change that.
"I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company," she told Forbes. "I'm an entrepreneur. ... I don't want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls."
As for Adele's Grammy? Sorry, folks--it seems she broke it in half by accident.
The world's highest-paid women in music 2017 gallery.