I’m always interested to find out the rockers who made the most money. I’m not trying to jump in their wallets, but it’s interesting to me. The “average” musician does what they do for the love of the craft. We all want money, but band pay (especially bar bands) can be less than adequate for living purposes. They do it because they love it and hope the money follows.
A friend of mine recently took a trip to Nashville. Every bar had a band playing live. The band would send a member through the crowd asking for tips. This terrified me because the thought crossed my mind, “Are these bars asking bands to work for tips?”
Even the bands who have made it all have stories of getting screwed over in deals. Look what John Fogerty went through to get the rights back to his own songs! Billy Squier wrote “The Stroke” because he was supremely frustrated with the record industry. He felt he was writing great songs, but if the right people didn’t hear them and the right egos weren’t stroked, his music did not have a chance. Billy Squier wasn’t wrong.
The money doesn’t just come from touring. The last couple of years has seen a massive trend of artists selling their catalogs for BIG MONEY. Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan both signed 300 million dollar deals for the rights to the songs.
According to Forbes, these are the highest-paid rock acts for last year… after taxes.