Forbes Unveils 2019’s Highest-Paid Country Stars List
Forbes has released its list of the top-paid country superstars of 2019, and no surprise here: These A-listers made some serious cash this year! The genre grew substantially this year, thanks in part to groundbreaking, genre-busting performers like Lil Nas X (who, by the way, netted a tidy $14 million in his first year on the list), and country's fanbase is larger than ever.
Still, the highest earnings went to the true-blue country artists who have spent years -- in some cases, over a decade -- dominating the charts and the format. It will come as no surprise to country fans that artists such as Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Keith Urban and Blake Shelton are all sitting pretty near the top of this list. And, holy cow: Everyone who made Forbes' Top 10 raked in over $20 million this year!
Frustratingly -- if unsurprisingly -- the breakdown of country's highest earners points one again to the need for greater diversity on country radio and in the lineup of country tours. Aside from Shania Twain, who clocks in at No. 7 with $29 million, the Top 10 highest-paid country acts are all men. In fact, there's only five other female acts (or bands that include women) in the Top 20. The outlook for racial diversity is even bleaker: Lil Nas X is the lone non-white act on the list, and he's the only openly gay artist, too.
On the whole, the genre's legends seem to be the biggest earners. George Strait, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks all earned spots in the Top 20. Young hotshots like Luke Combs, Dan + Shay and Thomas Rhett don't quite make the cut, despite the fact that they've raked in high-profile collars, awards show nods, sold-out tours and new chart records this year.
Forbes' list is based on estimated pretax income, and generated figures based on numbers from Nielsen Music, Pollstar Pro and interviews with members of the industry. Wanna know which country superstar sits at the top of this list? Read on to find out!
10 Highest-Paid Country Stars of 2019
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