#37: Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson is an American singer with a net worth of $150 million. Born in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of the nine Jackson children, Janet moved with her family to a mansion in Encino, California at the age of four. She performed with the Jackson Five on an occasional basis, and began her solo career at the age of sixteen, with her debut album Janet Jackson. In 1991, Jackson began to distance herself from her family's music empire, signing a contract valued at between $32 – $50 million with Virgin Records and thereby taking on the title of the highest-paid female artist in contemporary music. Her first album with Virgin, janet., debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and included five number-one singles, including the Grammy-winning single "That's the Way Love Goes."
Her next two albums, The Velvet Rope and All For You, also debuted at the top of the charts and sold a combined total of sixteen million copies worldwide; she remains an important pop artist with a long legacy. In 2004, Jackson became the most-searched news story in Internet history (as reported by the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records) when, during the Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore her shirt open, exposing one breast; Jackson called the moment an accident and refused to apologize to CBS. Jackson has also appeared in several films—she got her start in 1993′s Poetic Justice and returned to the big screen in The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and Why Did I Get Married?, all three of which opened first at the box office. Forbes Magazine ranked Jackson the seventh-richest woman in the entertainment business.
Beyonce Knowles net worth: Beyonce Knowles is an American pop singer and actress who has a net worth of $300 million. Beyonce Knowels had her first brush with fame thanks to the 90s TV show Star Search as a member in the rapping-and-dancing troupe Girl's Tyme. Girl's Tyme struggled in the late 1990s but was eventually signed by Columbia Records in 1997 under its new name, Destiny's Child. Destiny's Child would go on to release seven albums, five of which went platinum. In total they sold over 50 million records worldwide.
Not to be limited by groupthink, Beyonce struck out on her own and has released several extremely successful solo albums. She also developed a serious acting career with leading roles in Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records, Obsessed and Austin Powers. While this successful Texan is known for her contributions to the entertainment industry, her savvy business acumen makes her a brand name to be reckoned with. Beyonce signed her first endorsement deal with Pepsi in 2002 which was quickly followed by deals with L'Oreal, American Express, Samsung, Ford and DirectTV. She has launched a number of fragrances over the years, and recently signed a $20 million, three year deal to develop a signature fragrance for Coty. And don't forget the fashion line, Dereon, that she launched with her mom Tina. Beyonce's best business deal to date has been her marriage to Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, the hip hop artist, producer, co-owner of the NJ Nets and multi-millionaire entrepreneur. The couple welcomed their first child Blue Ivy Carter in 2012.
The couple is intensely private but we do know that Beyonce does like to spend a little money on herself. She wears a $5 million, 18 carat diamond engagement ring and is known for her love of high fashion, including a taste for wearing PETA-unfriendly furs. The pair shares a couple Manhattan apartments, an estate in Scarsdale, New York and a mansion in Miami. Rumor has it that they are looking for a place to buy in England. Don't expect to see them in first class on your way to the back of the plane – these two fly private and are shuttled around town in a fleet of luxury cars.
#3: Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey net worth: Mariah Carey is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress who has a net worth of $510 million. Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist in the history of the Billboard charts. Mariah Carey has sold over 200 million albums worldwide to date. In 2000, Mariah Carey was given a $100 million recording contract with Virgin. It was the biggest contract in the history of music at the time. Carey was raised on Long Island and worked a variety of part-time jobs to supplement her singing career before meeting Columbia Records producer Tommy Mottola, who signed her to the label and whom she married in 1993. Carey's debut album, Mariah Carey, reached number one on the Billboard charts and earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She continued to release successful albums on Columbia, including Music Box, which spent 128 weeks on the charts, and Daydream, which included several number-one singles and was the most successful album on American radio in 1996.
In 1997, Carey split from Mottola and from Columbia and experienced a string of personal troubles, including fallings-out with several labels and the unanimous panning of her semi-autobiographical film Glitter. In 2005, Carey released The Emancipation of Mimi, which returned her to critical prominence and became the best-selling album of the year; in 2008, her album E=MC2 had the best-selling first week of her career and made her the artist with the second most number-one singles in the history of pop music, above Elvis Presley and second to the Beatles. Carey married actor/comedian/musician Nick Cannon in 2008, and continues to release albums.
#2: Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson net worth: Michael Jackson is one of the most famous musical artists in history whose estate currently has a net worth of $600 million. In the decade between 1985-1995, Michael Jackson comfortably earned between $50 and $100 million per year through touring, record sales, endorsements and merchandise. Even after his death in 2009, Jackson has remained one of the most popular and profitable celebrities in the world. To date he has sold over 750 million albums, including 35 million that were sold in the year following his death. During his lifetime, Michael spent money just as quickly as he earned it.
Michael's most valuable asset was his music catalogue. While the copyright value of his own songs was estimated to be worth $100 million, the crown jewel of his net worth was his portfolio of other artist's songs, especially those from The Beatles. Michael's first foray into owning music rights began when he purchased the cataglogues of Sly and the Family Stone in the early 1980s. He then bought a series of classic singles like "Great Balls of Fire", "Shake Rattle Rattle and Roll", "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Runaround Sue" to name a few. But the biggest win came in November 1984 when Michael purchased The Beatles catalogue ATV music for $47.5 million. The Beatles catalogue was eventually merged with Sony to create a 50/50 joint venture called Sony/ATV which today is estimated to be worth $2 billion.
Since Michael Jackson died in 2009, his estate has brought in over $600 million. More than any other living artist in that time. His executors have easily paid back his loan from Sony and have secured the future of his billion-dollar music catalogue.
# 1: $650 Million
Madonna net worth: Madonna, is an influential and best-selling recording artist who has a net worth of $650 million. Madonna, whose birth name is Madonna Louise Ciccone, has sold over 200 million records worldwide. Born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958, she moved to Rochester Hills, Michigan with her family and spent her youth in that small city. Madonna moved to New York in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. While there, she began a career as a professional singer and recorded her first hit album, "Madonna" in 1983.
She had a second hit album, True Blue, in 1986. These two hit albums catapulted her to superstardom and, around the same time, Madonna landed her first acting role in the movie, Desperately Seeking Susan. Madonna has frequently operated "on the edges," pushing sex in her recordings and in a coffee table book she wrote that was actually called Sex. The Recording Industry Association of America has ranked Madonna as the Best-Selling Female Rock Artists of the 20th century. She is also the Number Two best-selling female artist in the U.S. with 64 million certified albums sold. Guinness World Records has labeled her the most successful female artist of all time.
"And I'm making all these racks a-all these racks"