By considering numbers from Nielsen, Pollstar, Songkick, Bandsintown and their own research on various business deals, Forbes calculated pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, to exactly one year later. They discovered that Luke Bryan pulled in about $52 million. Not bad for a boy from Leesburg, Georgia.
Bryan’s latest tour grossed 7 figures each night, and with 84 dates within Forbes’ calculated year, Bryan was able to earn the top spot. He also has an endorsement deal with Chevrolet and acted as a judge on American Idol. Of course, Brooks didn’t pull in shabby earnings. After headlining the Stagecoach music festival and RodeoHouston and touring with wife Trisha Yearwood, he gained about $45.5 million.
In the third slot, Kenny Chesney rolls in with $37 million. His highly successful Trip Around the Sun Tour, ownership of Blue Chair Rum and Corona deal helped him to sneak past Zac Brown Band who comes in at No. 4 with $31 million. Rounding out the top five is The Voice star Blake Shelton with $28 million.
Glancing through the top ten, one might notice that only one woman pops up on the unbalanced list. Dolly Parton, with her music, dinner theater establishments and Dollywood theme park earned $19 million according to Forbes.
Interestingly, when the top ten are added up together, totaling $304.5 million, country music stars end up outranking the total earnings of the highest-paid DJs, even with a drop in overall earnings from last year due to fewer major tours.
The Top 10 Highest-Paid Country Stars of 2018
- Luke Bryan – $52 million
- Garth Brooks – $45.5 million
- Kenny Chesney – $37 million
- Zac Brown Band – $31 million
- Blake Shelton – $28 million
- Florida Georgia Line – $27 million
- Jason Aldean – $23 million
- Toby Keith – $22 million
- Braid Paisley – $20 million
- Dolly Parton – $19 million
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