The trend of veteran musicians selling their publishing rights has led to an increase in wealth for those who haven’t, The Sunday Times concluded in its annual "Rich List."

Previewed before the official publication tomorrow (May 23), the British newspaper listed Paul McCartney as the richest musician in the U.K., with an increase in wealth of £20 million ($28.3 million) to £820 million ($1,160 million). Artists including U2, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and others were given a similar markup. The list of richest British rockers is available below.

“McCartney, in common with many of the other wrinkly rockers, sees a healthy growth in his wealth this year, despite lockdown and the wider pandemic putting paid to the usually highly lucrative touring revenues generated by so-called heritage acts,” The Sunday Times reported. “Starved of tours, this older generation of performers have fared well on music streaming services instead and also seen the value of their back catalogues soar after a number of eye-catching sales in the past year. This has led our music valuer to attach greater value to the more extensive back catalogues, gains which may be realized in future years if they are sold.”

The paper noted: “What a strange year that was for the music industry… All over the world the live sector – the fun, lucrative part – stopped, owing to COVID-19, which meant artists big and small had box office receipts scrapped, while, down the food chain, those who work to put an act on stage considered retraining. For such people? Catastrophic. For household names? Not so bad really, as streaming services totted up record figures and the three big labels – Sony, Universal and Warner – boasted streaming revenues of $2.21 billion for the first three months of the pandemic, with most artist earnings going to the leading acts.”

The Sunday Times Rich Rockers List 2021

1. Paul McCartney – £820m +£20m
2. U2 – £620m +£37m
3. Elton John – £375m +£15m
4. Mick Jagger – £310m +£25m
5. Keith Richards – £295m +£25m
6. Olivia and Dhani Harrison – £290m +£20m
7. Ringo Starr – £280m +£20m
8. Sting – £220m +£20m
9. Rod Stewart – £215m +£15m
10. Brian May – £210m +£20m
10. Roger Waters – £210m +£20m
12. Eric Clapton – £195m +£20m
13. Roger Taylor – £190m +£20m
15. Tom Jones – £175m +£5m
15. Charlie Watts – £175m +£5m
17. John Deacon – £155m +£15m
18. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne – £150m
19. Phil Collins – £145m +£5m
20. Jimmy Page – £142m +£15m
21. David Gilmour – £136m +£20m
22. Nick Mason – £130m +£20m
23. Robert Plant – £117m +£15m
24. Mary Austin – £110m +£15m
25. Ronnie Wood – £100m +£5m
26. Barry Gibb – £90m +£15m
27. Pete Townshend and Rachel Fuller – £86m +2m
28. Mark Knopfler £81m +£5m


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