California native Dre, 47, became one of the leading names in hip-hop and rap in the early 1990s and has worked with artists including Eminem and Snoop Dogg.
Along with his extensive back catalogue, Dre’s lucrative headphones business, Beats by Dre, helped him gross $100 million (62.3 million pounds) in pre-tax earnings according to Forbes.
The list’s top 10 was dominated by veteran musicians, with Pink Floyd’s bassist and singer Roger Waters coming in at No. 2 with earnings of $88 million from his lucrative The Wall Live tour, and British singer Elton John at No. 3 with $80 million.
Last year’s highest-paid musicians U2 landed at No. 4 this year with combined earnings of $78 million from their three-year 360 tour. 1990s British boy band Take That, who reformed in 2005, rounded out the top five with $69 million, earned from an eight-date tour at London’s Wembley Stadium, which became the highest-grossing single stadium tour to date.
Forbes compiles its annual highest-paid musicians list by estimating artists’ earnings from music sales, live shows, endorsements and merchandising. Earlier this year, Dutch DJ Tiesto was named the highest-paid DJ in the fast-growing electronic dance music industry.
The only two artists under 30 to break the top 10 were country-pop darling Taylor Swift, 22, who tied with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney at No. 8 with earnings of $57 million, and Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, 18, who tied with country star Toby Keith at No. 10 with earnings of $55 million.
Pop star and “X Factor” judge Britney Spears entered the list at No. 7 with earnings of $58 million, cementing her comeback after a turbulent few years. Her earnings encompass her multi-million dollar “X Factor” deal, music sales and endorsements.
Spears led eight female artists in the top 25 list, including R&B star Rihanna at No. 12 with $53 million, coming ahead of Lady Gaga at No. 13 with $52 million. Grammy-winning British singer Adele notched No. 22 on the list, tied with Kanye West, with earnings of $35 million following a record year for her album “21.”
Music’s power couple, singer Beyonce and rapper Jay-Z, came in at No. 18 and No. 20, respectively, with earnings of $40 million and $38 million.