Luke Bryan Tops Forbes List of Highest-Paid Country Stars of 2018
Luke Bryan has toppled Garth Brooks from his position as the highest-paid artist in country music. The superstar ranks No. 1 on Forbes' newly released list of the top-earning stars in country music in 2018.
Bryan earned an astounding $52 million over the last 12 months, raking in much of it from touring revenue that tops seven figures a night. He earned the rest from his job as a judge on American Idol, as well as through endorsement deals.
Brooks had topped the list for three straight years, mostly due to the income from his three-year world tour. This year he slips to No. 2, earning $45.5 million. You'll also find another perpetual favorite on the list, as Kenny Chesney makes another appearance this year. He's one of country music's most enduringly popular live performers, and his Trip Around the Sun Tour earned him plenty of money over the last year, along with his self-owned Blue Chair Bay Rum and an endorsement deal with Corona.
The 10 top-earning country artists raked in a collective $304.5 million over a 12-month period, a better showing than some other genres. By comparison, the Top 10 DJs of the last year collectively earned $260 million. It's still roughly a 20 percent drop from last year's country music total, which Forbes attributes partly to Brooks' enormous tour winding down, as well as fewer dates from another country legend.
Only one woman earned her way onto the Forbes list this year, while overall, Forbes reports that the growing mainstream recognition for country music is opening up new revenue streams for today's stars. Three of the performers who made the list have recently opened bars in Nashville, and several are also popular television personalities.
Country Music's Highest-Paid Artists of 2018: