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The 25 Richest Musicians of 2012

Music is where the money is.

Well, not if you're some struggling indie band or sorry wannabe DJ in some pitiful college town.

But according to Forbes, 2012 saw some big-money winners in hip-hop, country, pop, and rock. A lot of classic icons made big comebacks with massive tours, and some newer faces proved they've got what it takes to stick around.

But who took the top spot? Check out the 25 richest musicians of 2012.

See also:

-The 20 Richest Rappers: From Pitbull to Dr. Dre

-Ten Richest DJs: From Pauly D to Tiesto

-The 15 Richest Musicians: From Jay-Z to Justin Bieber

-Eight Richest Musicians in Their Teens and 20s

25. Sade ($33 million)

This smooth operator hasn't been up to a whole lot in the recent decade, but a super-stacked tour earned the crooner enough dough to round-out the list this year. She booked almost 100 dates, and now she's singing all the way to the bank.

24. Michael Buble ($34 million)

Your mom loves him, and he loves your mom, because this Canadian is raking in the mom millions. Thanks for a successful tour and a top-selling Christmas album, this bro is living it up like Frank Sinatra for a new generation. Alright, a little less mafia.

 

22. Kanye West ($35 million)

Mr. West didn't even need that UR1 money. Mofucker been on that Throne tip, making stacks off rap all year round. Not to mention, he designed a bunch of shoes for Nike and a line of women's clothing. Not to mention GOOD Music. Not to mention everything.

22. Adele ($35 million)

She's a new mommy and her baby is going to be one spoiled little bean. Her breakthrough record 21 has sold more than 23 million copies to date, making it one of the best-selling albums of all flippin' time. Ride that shit out, momma.

 

21. Coldplay ($37 million)

White people still really love Coldplay. They sold a crap-ton of records with their latest album Mylo Xyloto and banked on more than 50 supporting tour dates. The gravy train isn't over just yet.

20. Jay-Z ($38 million)

It stands to reason that if Kanye is banking, his boss is banking, too. He got all that Throne money and then some, signing deals with Duracell, Budweiser and more. This dude is so bank, financial writers dedicate whole books to how he escaped the block selling rock and turned the city out into his playpen.

 

19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million)

They may be far from spring chickens, but the Peppers are still a hugely sought-after commodity - and they can still rock a house down. Most of their mula this year comes from tour sales and a never-ending desire for high school kids to buy albums like Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication, but a new album certainly didn't hurt.

18. Beyonce ($40 million)

She may be married to Jay-Z, but this independent woman tops her man on the reg. She dropped a baby and a new album this year. And she did it in style, grabbing endorsements from L'Oreal and DirecTV. Plus she's got her clothing line House of Dereon, and everyone still loves to shake it to them old hits.

 

17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million)

America loves country music, and Kenny Chesney is some kind of country music icon of the ages. He went on a massive tour of the US and Canada, and he hooked up with Corona and Hooters for some side money. The country-side is looking a little greener these days.

15. Katy Perry ($45 million)

Dis bitch dropped the husband and picked up a few more million on her way out. Dis bitch has her own movie and stuff. She's the only musician besides the late-great M.J. to have five No. 1 singles from the same album, and her tour brought in more than $60 million. That's dirty money.

 

15. Diddy ($45 million)

Every time some rapper is talking about Ciroc, Diddy cashes in. At least, figuratively, because that's his fuckin' brand, as in, he gets a good share of the total profits. And bros still be rockin' that Sean John. It's like, when you're Diddy, you don't even have to rap. But it looks like he's poising himself for a comeback.

14. Foo Fighters ($47 million)

Nirvana's Nevermind turns 20, and the damn Foo Fighters are still going at it harder than ever. They had a big hit with their album Wasting Light and subsequent tour schedule. Much like RHCP, these old-school rockers have carved themselves some kind of unfillable niche.

13. Lady Gaga ($52 million)

Besides being a huge hit in the music scene, this bitch debuted her own Fame fragrance just in time for the holiday shopping spree season. Her giant tour continues to knock them dead around the world, and her ever-loyal little monsters eat up anything their mother releases.

 

12. Rihanna ($53 million)

Now the most "liked" person on facebook, Rihanna is going 100-miles an hour and shows no signs of slowing down. Her big 777 tour was total insanity and she's constantly making headlines on the blogs. She's got money coming in from Vita Coco, Nivea, some perfume called Reb'l Fluer and duh, a million shows around the world.

10. Toby Keith ($55 million)

Toby Keith is built Ford tough, and his money can't be hauled in no pick-up truck. His lucrative deal with the American car company keeps the cash rolling in deep, and he's got his own restaurant chain that's a big hit with the mouths of America. He's the biggest earner in all of country music, with a new album and sold out shows across the board.

10. Justin Bieber ($55 million)

Pretty much no one is surprised to see this Canadian boy-face anywhere anymore. A lot of nay sayers thought he'd outgrow his stay, but he seems to be bigger than ever. His new sound and grown-up swag keep him at the top of the charts, and he can still sell Bieber-themed merch like a teen heartthrob extraordinaire.

 

8. Taylor Swift ($57 million)

You'd think some guy would stick around for the money, but Ms. Swift isn't sharing any of her hard-earned pile. She made more than $1 million a night on her most recent tour and her new album Red came out of the box running. She sold 1.2 million in her opening week alone.

8. Paul McCartney ($57 million)

He's older than 64, but the world still loves Paul McCartney. This Beatle will be rolling in the millions even after he dies. His royalty checks alone are massive, and he's still making dozens of stops on tour around the world each year. And all those special television appearances.

7. Britney Spears ($58 million)

The bitch is back with a new album, a new attitude, a new show and a million endorsements. She's cleaned up her act and gotten back into shape. Her record Femme Fatale went platinum in the U.S. and she invades homes everywhere on the X Factor. Plus, she still keeps a line of fragrances coming with Elizabeth Arden.

 

6. Bon Jovi ($60 million)

Bon Jovi is livin' on a prayer - and a bed of money. This band has been around for decades and still made more money than Kim Kardashian, Lil Wayne and Kate Moss combined. Woah, that is some serious sex appeal.

5. Take That ($69 million)

In 2012, the UK boy band that spawned Robbie Williams made its return to the touring circuit. And these Limeys made some major bank. Like the song says: "Whatever we said, whatever we did, we didn't mean it/We just want 'em back for good."

4. U2 ($78 million)

Talk about longevity. These Irish rockers are still at the top of the game. You can make fun of Bono all day, but everybody still comes to see their shows. They broke records with their 360 tour and frosted their celebration cake with$736 million. Dat shit sticky.

 

3. Elton John ($80 million)

You can't beat a legend like Sir Elton John. He got his own Las Vegas show this year and made more than 100 tour stops. He had a big hit with his animated film Gnomeo and Juliet, which made more than $200 million at the box office. And did you know he's 30 albums deep? Prolific wears crazy glasses.

2. Roger Waters ($88 million)

When you write classics like The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon, you never worry about money ever again. Instead, you just continue to blow minds for generations to come. He resurrected the double-album classic for a rerun of shows and made more than $131 million in just seven months.

1. Dr. Dre ($110 million)

You don't see Dr. Dre in a lot of music videos these days, but you almost can't avoid seeing a Beats By Dre product placement in anything. The reclusive doctor is making big-pharmaceutical money, and he's got his hands in the productions of up-and-coming superstars as well as tried-and-true legends. Unstoppable, this is still the millennium of Aftermath.

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