Top 10 Most Successful Singers Who Became Successful Business People

The Top Ten Music Entrepreneur Superstars for 2017 display genius not only in their respective music genres of hip-hop, country music and pop, but also in business. All have shown a firm grasp of the value of diversification and multiple income streams.

The Top Ten Music Entrepreneurial Superstars includes five men and five women. The eldest is Dolly Parton and the youngest is Beyonce. At stop No. 10, Jennifer Lopez kicks off the list with a net worth for 2016 is estimated at $322 million. Honors for the highest net worth in 2016 goes to Madonna at $800 million. Dolly Parton, the Queen of Country Music, is the first born on this list.

At 70 years old, Dolly comes in middle of the pack with an impressive $500 million. Another country singer and song writer, Toby Keith, ties Dolly with net earnings of $500 million. The Queen of Pop, Madonna, who will be 59 in August, now outpaces hip hop moguls Jay Z ($650 million), Dr. Dre ($700 million), and P. Diddy ($750 million).

1965 and 1969 birthed five giants of American music. The visionary and legendary Andre Young, a/k/a Dr. Dre, was born in 1965. Four years later, in 1969, four other musical novas/enterpreneurs arrived. Three are native New Yorkers – Jennifer Lopez (born July 24, 1969 – the Bronx), Sean “P. Diddy” Combs (born November 4, 1969 – Harlem) and Shawn Corey Carter, “Jay Z” (born December 4, 1969 – Brooklyn).

The fourth, Master P, born Percy Miller into the Calliope Projects of New Orleans. Master P might have a slight edge over his peers in recognizing the retail potential of rap and income stream diversification. His net worth is estimated at $400 million for 2017.

The combined net worth of Jennifer Lopez, Jay Z and P. Diddy is a staggering $1.72 billion. Another Pop Diva and native New Yorker, Mariah Carey, was born only one year later in 1970 and comes in at a handsome $522-$535 million net worth. The youngest of the super nova pack, Beyonce, celebrates her 36th birthday on September 4. She can toast her $419 million net worth with her husband, Jay Z, and daughter Blue Ivy.

Here is the list of best & most successful singers in 2017-2018

10. Jennifer Lopez – $322 Million Net Worth

Like fellow singers, record producers, and musician-entrepreneurs, Jay-Z and Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Jennifer Lopez was born in New York City. With a $322 million net worth, the 47 year old American dancer, singer, actress, and fashion designer, is one of the wealthiest and most influential Latino women in the US. In 2017, JLo earned $39.5 million, with the majority of her income streaming from television and investments. JLo joined American Idol as a Judge in 2010, with an initial $12 million dollar one year deal. By 2017, JLo was earning $17.5 million from American Idol, coupled with money from her highly successful perfume line, Glow; clothing line, JLO; accessories, and endorsements.

JLo started her career as a dancer whose big break came in 1991 when she was 22. She was selected to be Fly Girl dancer for the show In Living Color, where she remained until 1993, when she moved to acting. In 1997 JLo starred in “Selena,” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. This led to her starring opposite George Clooney in the movie “Out of Sight,” for which she earned over $1 million – a first for an HIspanic actress. By 1999, JLo had turned her creative energies to music and released her debut album On the Six, containing her No. 1 single, “If You Had my Love,” in 1999.

2002 saw the 34 year old JLo gravitating to business ventures beyond entertainment. Her signature fragrance, Glow ($19.50 for 3.4 oz), was launched in 2002 and became America’s top selling fragrance. JLO followed that success in 2003 with the launch of JLO, a stylish but reasonably priced clothing for working women ($23 – $100 per item). To date JLo has created fifteen fragrences, with the most recent, Love and Light, making over $2.9 million since its launch. Add her Cuban restaurant, Madre, her lucrative L’Oreal endorsement, and JLo’s Las Vegas residency, and the foreseeable future continues to look very bright JLo.

9. Percy Miller (Master P) – $400 Million Net Worth

Percy “Master P” Miller was born in 1969 and reared in the Calliope Projects of New Orleans. The multitalented Master P is a record producer, rapper, investor, filmmaker, entrepreneur and former basketball star. Although Master P rarely headlines today with the Top 5 rapper/business moguls, he has a net worth estimated at $400 million and a salary of $45 million in 2016.

Master P is an entrepreneurial genius first, last, always; rap was a means to an end. Master P self-launched his multimillion dollar empire off $10,000 seed money. In the late 1980’s to early 1990, Master P inherited $10,000 from settlement of his grandfather’s wrongful death suit and used the money to negotiate a building lease for a record store. No Limit Records, located in Richmond, California, quickly identified gansta rap as a market niche ripe for development.

Using street knowledge and native business savvy, Master P embarked on an ingenious marketing and branding plan to create and sell gansta rap CD’s. Selling tapes from the trunk of his car, utilizing visionary branding techniques, led to Master P’s groundbreaking distribution deal in 1996 with Priority Records. Master P’s company, No Limit Records, retained 100% ownership of its master recordings and kept 85% of its record sales. Priority received 15% for pressing and distribution of the records.

Master P influenced a generation of rappers by his foresight and business acumen. He was one of the first rappers to focus on the financial aspects and retail potential of rap. He is a founder and CEO of P. Miller Enterprises, a conglomerate; a Sports management company – No Limit Sports, a sports management company; a clothing line, Money Mafia Clothing; an energy drink named after his it “Make ‘Em Say Ughh!,” and a cable television network, “Better Black Television,” whose content focuses on positive messages to underprivileged black Americans.

Master P may have taken a break from recording gangsta rap, but he has been investing wisely for 19 years. The business classes he took at Merritt Junior College and native ability have made this rapper an “Old G.” This rapping head will stand the test of time.

8. Beyonce – 35 YO – $419 Million Net Worth

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The stunningly beautiful and talented Beyonce is No. 8 on this list, with a 2016 net worth of $419 million. Although Forbes estimates Beyonce’s 2016 earnings in the $54 million range, MoneyNation guesstimates that Beyonce actually earns an average salary of $71,156,218. The biggest source of Beyonce’s income is generated by her world tours, and the 2016 Formation World Tour grossed approximately $202 million alone. Since 2003, Beyonce’s product endorsements for H&M clothing, Tommy Hilfiger, and Armani have garnered about $7.3 million annually. Those endorsement earnings were substantially increased by her $50 million deal with Pepsi in 2012.

This 35 year old powerhouse, whose birthday is September 4th, has joined her peers, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna, in channeling her entrepreneurial talents into the fashion industry. Beyonce created six versions of her signature perfume, Heat, each brand retailing around $69.00 for a 100 ml bottle, and The House of Dereon clothing line.

Beyonce rose to fame as the lead singer of the female R&B group, Destiny’s Child. In 2003, she released her first solo album, “Dangerously In Love,” for which she won five Grammy’s and sold over 11 million copies. To date Beyonce has won 20 Grammy’s and 24 MTV Video Awards and has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist. For these achievements, Beyonce was rated No. 17 on “The World’s Most Powerful Female Celebrities” by Forbes, Inc.

7. Dolly Parton – $500 Million Net Worth

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born January 19, 1946, in one room log cabin to a dirt poor family in Sevierville, Tennessee. She soared from these humble beginnings to become the Queen of Country Music, with a net worth estimated at $500 million in 2016, annual income of $58.8 million in 2015, and an estimated income of $67.7 million in 2016. Her impact on women musicians in country music was recently recognized when she was presented the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 CMA awards.

This multi-instrumental, singer, song writer and actress has also shown herself to be a savvy shrewd business woman. A prolific writer of over 3,000 songs, her most beloved international hit, “I Will Always Love You,” was sung by Whitney Houston in 1992 for the movie, The Body Guard.” Her achievements include twenty-six No. 1 Billboard hits, over 100 million in album sales, and a $34 million from Dolly’s 2011 “A Better Day World Tour”.

In 1982, Dolly ventured into the amusement park business and partnered with the Herschends’ Silver Dollar City, near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to open Dollywood. Attendance jumped from 750,000 to 1.4 million in the first year alone. Dollywood has a Theme Park, Water Park, and $20 million dollar Wild Eagle Roller Coaster. The combined annual revenue is around $400 millions, with Dollywood’s earnings estimated at $150-$155 million. A season pass to both parks runs $147.00 for adults and $135 for children.

A one-night stay at the resort starts at $179 in the winter months and a luxury three bedroom, two bath log cabin can be reserved for $149 a night. In addition to royalties from her recordings and songs, a Dolly Parton game may be purchased in Las Vegas that lets players choose exclusive video clips and some of Dolly’s most beloved hits while they play. Since IGA slots measured a 26% profit increase in the first quarter of 2013, Dolly’s income is only going to continue to increase.

6. Toby Keith – $500 Million Net Worth

Another mega country music star, Toby Keith ties Dolly Parton with an estimated 2016 net worth of $500 million, although his estimated salary of $47.5 million is slightly lower. Since bursting on the music scene in 1998 with his breakthrough single, “How Do You Like Me Now,” Toby has filled his signature Red Solo cup with money from multiple income streams.

Wildly successful tours, twenty No. 1 top hits, another 21 Ten Hits, Toby Keith merchandise, and healthy shots of revenue from his restaurant franchise, “I Love That Bar & Grill,” and distribution of tequilla’s sexy cousin, Mezcal make Toby Keith one of the wealthiest country musicians in the United States. Introduced to the United States market by Toby through his “I Love That Bar and Grill” franchise, Mezcal sales have risen to $80 million in 2015 according to International Wine & Spirits. Combined sales of Tequila and Mezcal have increased 30% from 2010 – 2015. At $46.00 a bottle, Keith’s endorsement and distribution of Mezcal in the U.S. only adds to his portfolio of earning streams.

5. Mariah Carey – $520-$535 Net Worth

Pop diva Mariah Carey earned an impressive $520 – $535 million in 2016. Although her salary for 2015 dipped down to $27 million in 2015, Mariah remains one of the highest paid women in music because of her investments, endorsements and jewelry, perfume and clothing lines.

The five octave, platinum voiced New Yorker released her first album, Mariah, in 1991 when she was 21 years old. It was packed with four chart topping singles, peaked on the Billboard 2000, won two Grammys, and launched her career. Two years later Mariah released Music Box, again topping and lingering on Billboard 200 for weeks. Her single hit, “Hero,” was a worldwide hit, as was her “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” released in 1994. Her 1993 marriage to her former boss, Tommy Mottola, head of Sony & Columbia Records, ended in divorce in 1998. It did not end her career. Although Sony terminated her contract, two years later, in 2000, Mariah signed a $100 million record contract with Virgin Records.

Afterwards Mariah briefly spiraled downwards but her remarkable vocal range bounced her out of the slump. Her extraordinary comeback album, “The Emancipation of Mimi ” in 2005, was nominated for eight Grammy’s. Mariah won three, including “Best Contemporary R&B Artist.” From 2005 to 2007, Mariah sold about 160 million albums and finally turned her creative energies and attention to diversifying her revenue stream portfolio.

In 2006 she entered into a deal with Intel Centrino PC and subsequently went on to negotiate deals with Pepsi, Motorolla and Elizabeth Arden. Elizabeth Arden manufactures and distributes Maria’s “M” fragrances, which is estimated to have earned Maria over $150 million since their 2007 launch. The M perfumes and Lollipop Bling colognes are sold at affordable prices starting as low as $6.72 up to $18.35 (8). Jewelry also contributes to Mariah’s $520-$535 million net worth.

Pieces sold online through poshmark.com start as low as $8.00 for earrings and range up to $180.00 for glamorous rhinestone studded heels. MAC distributes a complete line of Mariah Carey blush ($32.00), lipstick ($20.00), eye shadows ($67.00) and face highlighters ($80.00). After the birth of her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, Mariah lost 30 pounds using Jenny Craig, She became an ambassador for the weight loss chain and assisted with a virtual campaign until Jenny Craig altered its advertising techniques in 2014. In addition to endorsements, fragrances, clothing and accessories, Mariah landed a 2012 contract as an American Idol judge for $18,000,000,

4. Jay Z – $650 Million Net Worth

Drug dealer turned rapper, mogul extraordinaire, Jay Z demonstrates that creative genius is not limited to a single talent or by lack of formal education. With a net worth estimated at $650 million in 2016, JayZ’s genius as a lyricist appears to be equalled only by his ability to make money. His 2016 earnings of $53.5 million stem from multiple sources and clearly demonstrate his legendary business skills.

A hard knock life in the Mercy Projects of New York early honed JayZ’s survival and skills. Although JayZ, like Master P, started his rap career by selling CD’s out of the trunk of his car, he broke onto the musical scene nationally with his l996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt. With an appearance by high school friend, The Notorious B.I.G., this album was followed by his 2001 hit, The Blueprint, and the 2003 Black Album, released at the opening of JayZ’s 40/40 Club. During the 21 years since his 1996 debut album, Jay Z has earned 21 Grammys, was ranked by MTV in 2005 as the Greatest MC of all time, and has sold more than 100 million records.

JayZ’s 40/40 sports franchise is a $28,089 a day revenue generator ($10 million profit annually), as estimated by its co-owner, Juan Perez, in 2011. The 2011 renovation of the Club show cased an Armand de Brignac champagne tower, a champagne endorsed by JayZ, along with D’Usse cognac. The 40/40 Club’s high rollers enjoy Armand de Brignac champagne, Brut Gold, which can be purchased in stores at $249.99 a bottle. Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades runs slightly higher, at $299.95 a bottle. Another stellar French import, D’Usse cognac, starts around $44.95 for a 750 ml bottle.

Most recently JayZ has tackled the issue of higher royalty earnings for artists. He staked a $56 million purchase in Norwegian based Aspiro, the owner of Tidal music streaming service. JayZ helped launch Tidal in the US in March 2015 with music stars across a range of music genres. Tidal offers a $9.99 monthly regular subscription and a $19.99 HiFi subscription. Tidal offers access to unique video and music content from hip hop, pop, country, dance and rock stars. In twelve months the service grew from 540,000 subscribers in to 3,000,000 subscribers since its launch.

3. Dr. Dre – $700 Million Net Worth

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Andre Romelle Young, known as Dr. Dre, parlayed sizzling talent, an implacable artistic vision, and inordinate drive from Compton’s drug riddled poverty to a 2016 estimated net worth of $700 million. Although his 2016 income is estimated at $41 million, Dr. Dre’s $700 million net worth continues to be bolstered by Apple’s 2014 purchase of Beats headphones and streaming service for $3 billion. Apple saw the advantages of the acquisition after Beats generated 1.5 billion in revenue in 2013. Dr. Dre and Beats co-owner, Jimmy Levine, became Apple employees.

The biographical movie Straight Outta Compton provides a riveting depiction of Dr. Dre’s early life as a gangsta rap pioneer in the 1980’s. He used his nightclub person of Dr. Dre, the Master of Mixology, to team up Eazy-E and Ice Cube, founding members of N.W.A. Dr. Dre’s early portfolio includes Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A. – Ruthless Records) and The Chronic (Death Row Records with Shuge Night). These albums altered rap’s lyrical style and content. Chronic’s G-funk sound lead it to become the sixth best selling album in 1993 when the RIAA certified it triple platinum.

His N.W.A. experience with Ruthless Records and Priority Records taught Dr. Dre the value of owning and controlling his music and its production. By 1991 he had co-founded Death Row Records with Shuge Knight, after Knight strong-armed his release from Easy E. In 1996, Dr. Dre was able to start his own label, Aftermath Entertainment, and signed 50 Cent and Eminem to Aftermath’s client roster.

Dr. Dre will continue to place near the top of music’s highest net worth musician/entrepreneurs. The price of Beats’ headphones start as low as $79.72 and ranges up to $379.95 for a Studio Wireless set. Earphones can be purchased for $199.95, while speakers, such as Beats Pill, range from $164.00 to $229.95. Royalties from his records and his position as CEO of Beats Electronics guarantee Dr. Dre’s presence on the Top Ten Hip-Hop net worth entertainments for years to come.

2. Sean (P. Diddy Combs and Diddy) – $750 Million Net Worth

Born exactly one month before JayZ, on November 4, 1969, rap mogul Sean Combs rose from the streets of Harlem, New York to amass a 2016 net worth of $750 million. His 2016 salary is about $62 million although that number may not include earnings from his Ciroc vodka endorsements. Most of the Forbes estimates of musicians’ net worth are based on based on data from Pollstar, Nielsen and RIAA, but do not reflect the deduction of taxes, expenses and lawyer’s fees.

Shawn was reared by his mother, Janice, a model and teacher’s assistant in Mount Vernon, New York, as his father was shot and murdered while sitting in a car on Central Park West. After Combs graduated from Mount Saint Michael Academy in 1987, he attended Howard University for two years. He dropped out of his business major in 1990 and returned to New York. There he worked for a short period as a talent director with Uptown Records and was integral in kick starting the careers of of Mary J. Bilge and Jodeci.

After he was fired from Uptown, an undaunted Combs snaked The Notorious B.I.G. And founded Bad Boy Entertainment with Arista Records in 1993. Combs, through Bad Boy Entertainment, continued to attract stellar talent and went on to foster a star studded roster that included Mariah Carey, Lil Kim, and BoyzIIMen.

In 1997 Combs released his solo album, No Way Out, for which he won a Grammy for Best Rap album in 1998. No Way Out, a certified seven times platinum album, was followed by the 1999 release of Forever, 2001 The Saga Continues, and 2006 release of Press Play. Combs has gone on to earn another two Grammy’s and two MTV Video Music Awards.

By 1998 the talented Mr. Combs had turned his attention to fashion and started the “Sean John” clothing Line. He later followed this line with “Sean” by Sean Combs. In 2004 the Council for Fashion Designers awarded Combs the Menswear Designer of the Year. In addition to clothing, Combs tapped into the fragrance market for men and launched “I Am King” by Sean John, at $33.99 for a 3.4 oz bottle, and “Unforgivable” by Sean John, which costs anywhere from $35.49 – $44.76 for 4.2 oz bottle.

2002 saw Combs wandering into the television arena as Executive Producer of MTV’s Making the Band. Ciroc vodka courted him and in 2007 Combs agreed to help develop the brand for a 50% share of profits. A French vodka made from grapes by the Jean-Sebastien Robicquet -family, Ciroc sells from $29.22 to $37.99 for 750 ml. As time rolls on, Combs diversification efforts only continue to mount. These revenue streams include Enyce Clothing (2008), Revolt TV (2014) and most recently, Aquahydrate, with Mark Wahlberg and Ron Burkle.

1. Madonna – $800 Million Net Worth

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With an estimated net worth of $800 million, Madonna, is truly, as observed by Professor Colvin Barrow, Cranfield School of Management, “America’s smartest business woman…who has moved to the top of her industry and stayed there by constantly reinventing herself.”. The Queen of Pop retained her title as evidenced by the $305 million grossed by the wildly successful MDNA tour. Forbes’ guess estimated Madonna’s 2016 earnings at $76.5 million, a safe lowball for this versatile singer, songwriter, actress, fashion designer, and entrepreneur.

Since Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide, the Guiness World Records Book ranks Madonna as the best selling female recording artist of all time. This ranking is supported by that of the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA). The RIAA ranks Madonna fourth, behind only the Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Michael Jackson.

Born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958, Madonna dropped out of college and moved to New York City in 1977 to become a dancer. Six years later, Madonna released her first hit, “Like A Virgin,” followed by the 1985 release of “Madonna: The First Album”. Certified five times platinum by the RIAA, Madonna had arrived. In 2008 Entertainment Weekly placed “Madonna: The First Album” Number 5 on the Top 100 Albums of the Past 25 Years. Her tenth album, Confessions on a Dance Floor,” released in 2005, also earned a Grammy.

The Material Girl early escaped the confines of being defined by music alone. Madonna has dabbled in acting, writing and investing in the Maverick Record and Maverick Film label with Time Warner. In 1992 she invested $60 million in the Time Warner joint venture.  The Maverick Records deal netted Madonna 20% in royalties, a rate matched at that time only by Michael Jackson. Although panned for many of her films, Madonna earned a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 1996 for Evita.

Subsequently Madonna turned her modeling endorsements and passion for style into lucrative clothing and skin care lines. 2007 saw the Madonna/H&M Clothing venture. Having modeled for the Swedish retailer in 2006, Madonna helped design and market the M clothing in 2007. The M line focused on leather jackets, sequined dresses, cream colored pants and cropped jackets.

2010 was a banner investment launch year for Madonna. Capitalizing on her 1980’s punk girl look, Madonna released, with her daughter, Lourdes, the Material Girl clothing line in 2010. Prices for the this teen clothing line range from $34.50 for leggings to $64.50 for a bomber jacket. 2010 also saw the release of the Truth or Dare accessories and underclothing fashion line, as well as Truth or Dare perfume. Truth or Dare cologne retails for $64.99 for 2.5 oz. Further business expansions overseen by Madonna in 2010 include the Hard Candy Fitness gyms and her signature MGM sunglasses with Dolce & Gabannai.

The most recent Madonna business venture is her foray into skin care. In February 2014, Madonna launched the MDNA Skin care line in in Tokyo. Prices range from $40.00 for a bottle of face wash to $220.00 for serum. The most popular item is the Chrome Clay Face Mask, made from a volcanic ash from the Montecantini mountains, Italy .

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