Dr. Dre Tops Money-Making Musician List, Thanks to Beats Headphones

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December 3, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

It’s amazing how hip-hop icon Dr. Dre stays on top — on the financial side of things, that is. The last time he had an album out was more then 13 years ago. Yet he was just named number one on Forbes’ highest-paid musician list.

The list compiles the “World’s 25 Highest-Paid Musicians” and Dre topped it with a haul of $110 million between May 2011 to May 2012. Dre took home more money than Taylor Swift ($57 million), Justin Bieber ($55 million), Rihanna ($53 million), and Jay-Z ($38 million).

Dre was the only rapper in the top five. Following Dre were ex-Pink Floyd composer and leader Roger Waters ($88 million) and Elton John ($80 million), who came in at numbers two and three through constant touring. The rock band U2, who topped Forbes’ list last year with $195 million, are now number four with $78 million. And at number five due to a reunion tour was U.K. band Take That, which raked in $69 million.

Besides Dr and Jay Z, the only other hip-hop presence on the list came from Diddy ($45 million) and Kanye West ($35 million).

Last year, Beats Electronics, which Dre founded with Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine in 2006, sold a 51 percent stake of Beats By Dre headphones to Taiwanese corporation HTC for $300 million. Dre’s share of the mega deal–$100 million.

Also among his accomplishments for the year: Dre produced a remake of his single “I Need A Doctor,” which protégé Eminem and newcomer Skylar Grey (along with a cameo for Dre himself). Dre also made a paid appearance with Snoop Dogg at the 2012 Coachella Festival “where the pair shocked the world presenting a mind-numbing performance of a groundbreaking hologram of the late Tupac,” notes Vibe. Dre also produced Aftermath artist Kendrick Lamar’s number one CD, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City.”

This isn’t the first time Dre led a Forbes list. Earlier this year he also topped the magazines list “Cash Kings 2012: Hip-Hop’s Top Earners.”

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