Touring was limited in 2021, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t money to be had. In fact, in a newly published accounting of 2021’s top musical earners by Rolling Stone, three of rock’s top acts simply raked in the dough primarily based off their prior works alone.
Those three were Motley Crue, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruce Springsteen who each added to their financial windfalls with deals related to selling the rights to their master recordings or publishing catalogs. For Motley Crue, who placed eighth on the list, it was reported that their deal with BMG for their master recordings netted them close to $90 million, accounting for a large portion of their $95 million taken in over the span of the past year.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who finished sixth on the list, sold their publishing catalog to Hipgnosis in May for a reported $140 million. Like the Crue, that sale accounted for the majority of their total take with the band netting $145 million in 2021.
But the big winner of 2021 was rock legend Bruce Springsteen, who topped the overall list with a reported $590 million last year. A good portion of that came from his late year sale of his publishing copyrights and master recordings. The $550 million price tag is reported to be the largest sale of a solo catalog. But Springsteen also had a busy year that included a return to Broadway, two projects with Barack Obama and a new book.
The remainder of the Top 10, according to Rolling Stone, included Taylor Swift (No. 10, $80 million), Blake Shelton (No. 9, $83 million), Lindsey Buckingham (No. 7, $100 million), Ryan Tedder (No. 5, $200 million), Kanye West (No. 4, $250 million), Paul Simon (No. 3, $260 million) and Jay Z (No. 2, $470 million).
Check out the full report here.
Motley Crue: Career Timeline