Dr. Dre made an enormous amount of money in 2014. Forbes puts his single-year payday at $620 million, which is the most of any musician in history. And yes: Tim Cook played a big role in the hip-hop and business mogul’s lucrative year. No one came out a bigger winner than Dre after Apple agreed to purchase his Beats Electronics business for $3 billion. To understand just how far that payday catapulted him, we need only look to the second-place spot on Forbes’ list. Beyoncé took in $115 million on the strength of her surprise, platinum-selling iTunes release, a sold out tour, and various endorsement deals. Dr. Dre made over five times more than one of pop’s biggest stars, so it’s fair to say that Beats and the business world have been much better to Andre Young than music ever was.
Presumably, next year Dre’s annual take will fall back down to more “normal” levels and put him in line with other hugely successful and wealthy entertainers. You can bet he’ll bring in more than most of his fellow Apple employees, though. Right on Beyoncé’s heels are The Eagles, Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen, in case you’d forgotten just how much money can be raked in from nostalgia. More proof? Last year, the same list was topped by Michael Jackson; if you only care about those still living, Madonna brought in $125 million. So for everyone not building a headphone empire, maybe it’s time to get to work on the next “Hotel California” or “Like A Virgin.”