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U2, Dre Highest Earning Artists

Big tours and fat contracts made pop stars rich in 2001

June 13, 2002 12:00 AM ET

U2, Dr. Dre and the Beatles top the list of Rolling Stone's fifty highest earning artists of last year. U2 come in on top with a net gross of $61.9 million from recording and publishing earnings, but it was their Elevation Tour 2001 that sealed the deal. Every one of U2's seventy-three North American dates was a sell out, bringing the band $62.1 million (gross, not net) just from touring.

Dr. Dre's deal to sell thirty percent of his share of his Aftermath label to Interscope Records reportedly earned him $35 million. But Dre also earns his salary as a producer. His work on Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair" earned him more than $2 million, bringing Dre to a total of $51.9 million for the year.

With sales of over 18 million copies of 1, the Beatles' collection of Number One hits, it doesn't matter that the band split over thirty years ago. The Fab Four (and their respective estates) are still raking it in, earning $47.9 million on the year, largely due to the fact that Beatles' holding company Apple Corps has the only access to Beatles master recordings.

Rounding out the top five earners are the Dave Matthews Band and Madonna. Matthews and Co. continue to earn their keep through touring, which totaled $34.9 million; their net was $43.4. Madonna's Drowned World Tour was a success earning her $16.1 million, but the real money came from her contract re-negotiation with Warner Bros., which included an advance of an estimated $20 to $30 million, for a total of approximately $40.8 million on the year.

Numbers Six and Seven on the list, Master P and Santana, also made a killing with their recording deals, worth $40 and $30 million, respectively, and took home nets of $36 and $32.7 million. 'N Sync, Aerosmith and Sting round out the top ten. Both 'N Sync and Aerosmith earned the bulk of their net $26.5 and $24.2 from touring, while Sting came in at $24 million from recording.

The Top 50 earners of 2001 (in millions):

U2, $61.9
Dr. Dre, $51.9
The Beatles, $47.9
Dave Matthews Band, 43.4
Madonna, $40.8
Master P, $36
Santana, $32.7
'N Sync, $26.5
Aerosmith, $24.2
Sting, $24
TLC, $22
Whitney Houston, $26.5
Elton John, $21
Andrea Bocelli, $20.9
Eric Clapton, $20.8
Matchbox Twenty, $20.6
Britney Spears, $20
Tim McGraw, $19.6
Eminem, $19.4
Destiny's Child, $18.9
Jimmy Buffett, $18.9
Christina Aguilera, $18.7
Blink-182, $18.5
Limp Bizkit, $18.4
Backstreet Boys, $18.3
Metallica, $17.5
The Eagles, $17.5
Billy Joel, 17.1
Rod Stewart, $16.8
Creed, $16.8
Neil Diamond, $16.2
Bon Jovi, $15.6
Lenny Kravitz, $14.9
Janet Jackson, $14.3
Enya, $14.2
Sade, $14
Brooks and Dunn, $13.9
Korn, $13.8
Kiss, $12.9
Jennifer Lopez, $12.3
AC/DC, $12
James Taylor, $11.3
Mariah Carey, $10.9
Tool, $10.3
The Offspring, $9.3
Jay-Z, $9.3
Shaggy, $9
Ozzy Osbourne, $8.5
Nelly, $8.2
Dido, $8.2

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