If you’re at the top of the music industry in any genre, you can expect to find quite a lot of financial success. But as you’ll see from this article, the best way for artists to establish massive wealth is to expand into other business endeavors in addition to a music career. Take a look at the 15 richest female singers in the world and how they amassed their fortunes.
1. Rihanna – $1.7 Billion
Rihanna is by far the wealthiest female singer on the planet and is a recent addition to Forbes’ list of billionaires. She has done so well that only one other woman who has a higher net worth than her is Oprah Winfrey. Her music career has lasted for over a decade, giving us hit songs like Umbrella, Disturbia, and What’s My Name. That illustrious chapter earned her over 250 million record sales worldwide and a slew of awards that includes nine Grammy Awards, seven Guinness World Records, and 12 Billboard Awards.
Outside of her music career, she has launched successful lingerie and beauty brands such as Savage X Fenty and Fenty Beauty. Her jump in net worth over the past few years can mostly be attributed to these two brands and the wild success they’ve found in commercial markets worldwide.
2. Madonna – $850 Million
Madonna has continually reinvented both herself and her artistic approach over the years, becoming one of the most successful music artists of all time and the best-selling female artist of all time with over 300 million record sales worldwide. The Queen of Pop is a natural nickname for her, with the most number-one songs on the Hot 100 in several different countries.
In addition to her solo career, she is one of the top songwriters in the music business and an established actress, landing roles in films like Evita, which won her the Golden Globe for Best Actress, and A League of Their Own. In 1992, she launched Maverick Records, becoming one of the most successful artist-run record labels in history, and has worked on several other business ventures in film, fashion brands, writing, and health clubs.
3. Céline Dion – $800 Million
Céline Dion’s music career has run the gamut of genres, and she’s notably one of the best singers of all time, as well as the best-selling French-language artist of all time. She’s had seven albums sell over 10 million records, with over 200 million record sales worldwide. Her Taking Chances World Tour became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time, and her two Las Vegas concert residencies also rank among the highest-grossing in history.
Outside of music, she owns a perfume label, a line of bags and accessories, and several other establishments including Le Mirage Golf Club and Pure Nightclub, and founded the Nickels food chain. Her perfume line alone has netted $850 million in commercial sales.
4. Dolly Parton – $650 Million
Dolly Parton is perhaps the most successful woman in country music. She began as a songwriter before debuting as a solo act in 1967 and has since gone on to sell over 100 million records worldwide. One hundred ten charted singles and 3,000 composed songs show just how massive her impact in the music industry has been, but her net worth doesn’t just come from that.
She co-owns the Dollywood Company, which manages and controls several different entertainment venues. Dollywood Theme Park, Splash Country, The Dolly Parton Stampede, and Pirates Voyage are all under that umbrella.
5. Beyoncé – $500 Million
Beyoncé is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time with over 200 million worldwide record sales. She spent time in the group Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling girl’s groups of all time before beginning her solo career. She is also one of the most-awarded recording artists of all time, netting 28 Grammy Awards and becoming one of the most influential women in music.
Her marriage to Jay-Z formed one of the first hip hop power couples in history, with a total of over 300 million album sales between the two of them. In addition to her incredible music career, she is also known for several different endorsement deals with L’Oreal, Pepsi, and American Express. She is also at the helm of a successful fashion line and works as an ambassador for numerous different charities.
6. Gloria Estefan – $500 Million
Gloria Estefan is one of the best singers to come out of Cuba in recent history. Her influence is so massive in the industry that she is credited with breaking the mainstream barriers facing Latin artists and allowing others like Selena and Shakira to thrive. She has earned over 75 million worldwide record sales, but music hasn’t been her only interest.
As an actress, she has starred in several TV shows and made appearances in a few films. In addition to being a singer and actress, she has written children’s books, one of which made it onto the New York Times Bestseller list.
7. Victoria Beckham – $450 Million
It would be true to form that a member of the best-selling female group of all time would make this list. Victoria Beckham rose to fame as Posh Spice, a member of the Spice Girls, selling over 100 million records worldwide. After the Spice Girls split up, she released a solo album but found more success on TV and in the fashion industry. She spent time as a guest judge on American Idol, Project Runway, and America’s Next Top Model while also starring in several documentaries and reality shows.
She’s since become a fashion icon, working with several big-name brands before launching two of her own fashion labels, one of which was named the designer brand of the year in the UK in 2011.
8. Barbra Streisand – $400 Million
Barbra Streisand is a name you no doubt know, thanks to her success across multiple fields that made her one of the few performers to win an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony Award. An established music career in the 60s saw her release a total of 11 albums that topped the Billboard 200 chart and earn over 150 million worldwide record sales. By the 70s, she began starring in films, winning both an Oscar and Golden Globe in those endeavors.
9. Jennifer Lopez – $400 Million
Jennifer Lopez would become the first Hispanic female actress to earn over $1 million for a film and became the highest-paid Hispanic actress in Hollywood for a while. She broke in with the leading role in the 1997 film Selena and would go on to star in Anaconda and Out Of Sight as well.
In 1999, her debut album helped bring Latin pop to mainstream audiences, but her second album and appearance in the film The Wedding Planner made her the first woman to have a number-one album and movie in the same week. She is a true icon in the entertainment industry, a singer, actress, and dancer who can truly do it all.
10. Taylor Swift – $400 Million
Taylor Swift’s music career started early and found almost immediate success. At age 14, she moved to Nashville to become a country artist and her 2006 debut album made her the first female country artist to write a US platinum album in its entirety. Over time, her sound has changed from country to pop music, always writing songs from her personal experiences that many people find easily relatable.
Her list of accolades is ridiculously astounding. Two hundred million worldwide record sales, the only artist with five albums opening over one million sales in the US, 11 Grammy Awards, 40 American Music Awards, 92 Guinness World Records, and being named to numerous Greatest of All Time lists by major outlets. She has always done things her own way and retained artistic control in her music, which is one of the reasons her albums have done so well and are so beloved by so many people.
11. Trisha Yearwood – $400 Million
Trisha Yearwood established herself in the country music scene with singles like She’s In Love With The Boy, XXX’s And OOO’s (An American Girl), and Walkaway Joe. Her career continued to find success throughout the 90s and early 2000s before taking a hiatus from music and focusing on other career options.
She would publish three successful cookbooks and take a spot on the Food Network with her own show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Outside of that Food Network show, she has appeared in a recurring role on JAG and done work for several films including Stuart Little.
12. Shania Twain – $400 Million
There are several female country music artists on the list, and Shania Twain is one of the greats. When you look at only country albums, she is the highest-selling female artist with over 100 million worldwide album sales. Her biggest hits are Any Man of Mine, You’re Still The One, Man! I Feel Like A Woman, and That Don’t Impress Me Much.
Among the greatest female country artists of the 90s, she was instrumental in the pop-country movement of the time, and her influence on the genre has had a long-lasting impact that we can still see today. She’s won numerous awards in music, but outside of the music industry, she only has a few business endeavors that include two fragrances released with Coty.
13. Cher – $360 Million
Cher has had a six-decade-long career in music, rising to fame as part of the Sonny & Cher duo and launching a solo career around the same time with two Top 10 singles. By the 70s, she had become a TV personality on The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour and then Cher. While on those shows, her fashion style made her a trendsetter thanks to her elaborate costumes.
After she divorced Sonny Bono, she had a lucrative concert residency in Las Vegas. She spent time as an actress on Broadway before finding new success in the 90s in with her album Believe, pioneering the use of Auto-Tune before going on one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time.
14. Katy Perry – $330 Million
Katy Perry has been one of the biggest names in pop from the late 2010s onward. Songs like I Kissed A Girl, Teenage Dream, and California Gurls broke her into the mainstream and rocketed up the charts. She’s found major success and sold over 140 million albums worldwide, becoming one of the most successful artists of all time. Outside of the music industry, she is best known for her role as a judge on American Idol, but she has also launched her own shoe line and starred in an autobiographical documentary.
15. Lady Gaga – $320 Million
It’s hard to miss Lady Gaga with her incredible outfits, but she’s become an absolute icon of music in recent years. Hits like Bad Romance, Bloody Mary, and Poker Face are some of the catchiest songs you’ll hear. She’s the only female artist to have four different singles reach 10 million worldwide sales and has sold around 170 million albums worldwide. She is also an accomplished actress, with roles in the television series American Horror Story and several films including House Of Gucci and Machete Kills.
Bonus: Mariah Carey – $320 Million
Hey, sorry. The list is fifteen, but Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga are tied, and I couldn’t leave the Songbird Supreme out. Especially since you know a big chunk of that is all the royalties from her recording of All I Want For Christmas Is You. Any of my current or former retail people out there are acutely aware of how much that song gets played. That single alone has earned her over $60 million in royalties, but her lucrative record deal with Universal and a few other business ventures has led to her massive net worth.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.