Forbes has released the 2018 Country Cash Kings list – the ten highest-paid country stars of the year. Luke Bryan comes in at No. 1, knocking Garth Brooks off his throne into the No. 2 spot. Bryan pulled in $52 million, thanks largely to a slew of shows on his worldwide headlining tour where he grossed seven figures nightly. Bryan also cashed in at his new job as a judge on American Idol and through endorsements with the likes of Chevrolet.
Over the past three years, Brooks took back country’s throne, selling more than six million tickets on his North American tour with wife Trisha Yearwood and topping back-to-back-to-back lists of the genre’s highest-paid acts. But this year, his $45.5 million haul is only good for the No. 2 spot — another singer has seized country’s cash crown.
Kenny Chesney rounds out the top three with $37 million, mostly from his Trip Around the Sun Tour, as well as his own Blue Chair Rum and an endorsement deal with Corona.
There were plenty of country stars who earned double-digit millions, but didn’t quite crack the list. Among them are Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.
Forbes formulates the list by looking at touring numbers from Pollstar, Bandsintown and Songkick, as well as record sales data from Nielsen, while performing independent research on outside business ventures and endorsement deals. Their estimates represent pre-tax income from June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018, and fees for managers, agents and lawyers are not deducted either.
The 5 Highest-Paid Country Stars of 2018:
1. Luke Bryan ($52 million)
2. Garth Brooks ($45.5 million)
3. Kenny Chesney ($37 million)
4. Zac Brown Band ($31 million)
5. Blake Shelton ($28 million)
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.