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Dr. Dre tops Forbes' highest-paid musicians list

November 29, 2012|By Gerrick D. Kennedy
  • Dr. Dre during his performance with Snoop Dogg on the third night of the Coachella Music Festival in Indio.
Dr. Dre during his performance with Snoop Dogg on the third night of the Coachella… (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)

Still waiting on Dr. Dre’s “Detox”? Well, keep waiting. The rapper is too busy raking in money -- and tons of it.

The rapper/producer/entrepreneur will end the year -- which included him bringing Tupac back to quasi-life at Coachella -- at the top of Forbes' annual list of highest-paid musicians.

Dre reportedly collected $110 million during the scoring period that ran from May 2011 to May 2012, beating Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

Though his earnings included royalties from his backcatalog and payment for his headlining gig at Coachella in April (alongside Snoop Dogg and a digital likeness of Tupac), most of the mogul’s cash came from his Beats product line, which includes a robust catalog of headphones, earphones, boomboxes and accessories.

Beats accounted for 53% of 2011's $1-billion headphone market, according to market research company NPD Group, a surprising figure given the recent explosion of celeb-fronted headphones from Quincy Jones, RZA, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and 50 Cent.

Dre earned $100 million when HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones and tablets, purchased a 51% stake in the company last year, according to Forbes. The company later sold half of its share back to Beats, and they have exclusive rights to use Beats Audio technology in its mobile devices.

Dre and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine have continued to expand the company's brand elsewhere, placing the technology in Hewlett-Packard PCs and laptops as well as a line of Chryslers with a Beats audio system.   

Dre's position at the top Forbes' list unseats U2, who topped the rankings last year after they pulled in $195 million from their record-breaking 360 tour. The rockers came in fourth on this year’s list, having netted $78 million. 

Gerrick Kennedy


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