Forbes Ranks Country Music’s Top Earning Acts
Country musicians are dominating the music industry when it comes to pulling in big earnings.
Toby Keith, Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan all make appearances on Forbes' Country Cash Kings list, which ranks the highest earners in the genre.
Keith ranks No. 1 on the list, bringing in a lot of cash from his I Love This Bar And Grill restaurant chain, as well as his Wild Shot Mezcal, Show Dog record label and a multi-million dollar deal with Ford.
“I can put them on that 30-city tour," Keith tells Forbes about the acts on his label. "I don’t have to look for a place to play. It’s cost-effective as crap. They’re in Toby’s house. They’re drinking Toby’s liquor. That’s Toby’s act. And then we’re moving to the next town.”
Swift lands at No. 2 on the list with $64 million in earnings, a total that is boosted by the 24-year-old's tour endorsements from Diet Coke, Keds and Cover Girl.
One of the biggest surprises on the list is the inclusion of relative newcomers Florida Georgia Line, whose single 'Cruise' was the fourth-most-downloaded song of 2013, beating out pop hits like Lorde's 'Royals' and Katy Perry's 'Roar' and proving that country is becoming more and more mainstream. Their $24 million in earnings landed them in the 10th spot.
“I think country is just getting bigger in general,” FGL's Brian Kelley says. “Pop music isn’t really a sound, it’s just what’s popular.”