Billboard Releases Highest-Paid Artists of 2020

Sarah Stukalin

This week Billboard released a list of the highest-paid musicians from the United States of 2020. And while usually, a list of this nature is not the most exciting thing, the year 2020 made it all too unique, as ten out of the twelve months of the year, artists were not touring or having concerts at all: most of the revenue earned by musicians this year was solely based off of streaming. 

Not only is this an incredibly different list, but a list we will (hopefully) never see the likes of again. The payout for most artists is drastically smaller, and the winner of the number one highest paid slot is slightly shocking. Here are the top five highest-paid U.S. musicians of 2020.

5. Billie Eilish – $14.7M


Billie Eilish began the pandemic year by playing three tour dates of her Where Do We Go? World Tour in which she earned a whopping one million; however, due to the pandemic Eilish made most of her money from streaming, sales, and publishing alongside her brother FINNEAS. 

4. Eagles – $16.3M


The Eagles played ten shows in 2020 which made them $11.4 million, making up a small fraction of the rest of their earnings. The band was the fifth most-played act of 2020 and generated $4.9 million from their master recordings.

3. Céline Dion – $17.5M


Céline Dion was one of the few lucky musicians to get a decent amount of tour dates under her belt in 2020, playing twenty-three shows on her Courage world tour before lockdown. While Dion made a significant amount of money from streaming, sales, and publishing, the big bucks came from her tour, in which she made seventeen million.

2. Post Malone – $23.2M


Much like Céline Dion, Post Malone was one of the few artists to significantly tour before the COVID-19 shutdown, playing nineteen shows. While he made $12.4 million from concerts, he earned a whopping $8.1M from streaming alone, coming in at fifth on the list of greatest streaming royalties for the year. 

1. Taylor Swift – $23.8M


While Taylor Swift topping this list in any other year would not be a surprise, her number one standing comes as a shock since Swift did not play a single concert of tour date all of 2020 and that her revenue came entirely from streaming, sales, and publishing. Billboard states that this is the first time in the history of the list that concert revenue did not determine the number one spot, as Swift’s folklore and evermore was enough to secure her the title of the highest-paid musician of the year.