By Dave S
No doubt, the life of a pop star is a glamorous one, and one that makes many of us green with jealousy. There’s so many perks: world travel, adoration by fans, free stuff and of course, the money. But if we’re talking the kind of green that you can put in the bank, let’s take a deep dive and see how much the people behind the music are making.
That being said, some of the wealthiest people in the music industry right now aren’t the rock stars and music celebrities, but the people who put work in behind the scenes: record producers.
That being said, if you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. Just because there are some exceptionally rich music producers out there, doesn’t mean that such is the case for most people. In reality, a music producer’s salary can range anywhere from $20,000 to upwards of a $1 million a year. So you can end up making modest means, or living a life of luxury. Unfortunately there’s no certain path on ending up on either end of that scale.
But since it’s fun to dream, let’s take a look at some of the top industry professionals and their enormous salaries.
P. Diddy, Puff Daddy, whatever name you call him by, this man is the best of the best at what he does, and the money talks.
Sitting at a whopping $820 million net worth, there’s no question everything Sean Combs touches turns to gold.
He got his start as talent director at Uptown Records before he was fired and starting his own record company Bad Boy Entertainment in ’93. It was then that he began working with a rising taken by the name of Notorious B.I.G., producing his first album Ready To Die. He began sweeping up more acts like Mary J. Blidge and Carl Thomas. At Bad Boy Entertainment, he hired a production team of who he called The Hitmen, who produced hits for Jodeci, Usher, Mary J. Blidge, TLC, Boyz II Men, Aretha Franklin and more.
Since then, the rapper and producer has made his mark on over a hundred different albums, working with acts like J.Lo, Ice Cube and Pitbull. He also somehow has the time to appear as an actor in TV series and movies, run his charity Daddy’s House Social Programs and act as Chairman and CEO of his company Combs Enterprises. No question this man works for his money.
Born Timothy Mosley, you know him better as Timbaland, a world class record producer and rapper who’s been behind the wheel of a ton of successful acts for 20 years.
Timbaland first found success after catching the ear of Missy Elliot for some work he had produced, who enlisted him to help put together her 1997 album Supa Dupa Fly.
After putting out his first album with collaborator Magoo and landing the 33rd spot on the Billboard 200, Mosely got his first massive hit when he produced Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” in 2002. He went on to produce both Timberlake’s next full length albums.
But he was nowhere near done. In the coming years he went on to write and produce tracks for Jay-Z, Ludacris, Bubba Sparxxx, Madonna, Nas, Drake, Rick Ross, Rihanna and more. By 2014 he had written 85 UK hits and 99 alone in the United States. He also went on to put out two records of his own and found critical success out of Nelly Furtado when they collaborated for her album Loose.
By 2012 he had already made a fortune at $48 million, but the money didn’t stop. By 2014 that fortune had increased to $73 million, and kept going to today where it sits at $85 million. There’s no telling where the money stops with this guy!
There’s no name more synonymous with the world of music production than Rick Rubin. The man has had his hand in practically every genre and worked with artists from all walks of life. From System of a Down to Adele, Rubin has done it all and proved he is the standard of excellence in the industry.
Rock and pop aside, there’s no question Rick Rubin has his mark on Hip Hop. Interestingly enough, Rubin actually got his start producing hip hop albums in the 80s. Between 1981 and 1989 he produced 28 records, including Run DMC’s King of Rock and Tougher Than Leather, both Radio and Walking with a Panther by LL Cool J, and most notably Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, to name a few.
Since then he’s worked on literally hundreds of albums from across the genres, winning two Grammy Awards for Album of the year in 2007 for Dixie Chicks’ Taking the Long Way and again in 2012 for Adele’s 21. No question he’s amassed a large fortune for his work through the years, and is said be worth over $400 million.
This Swedish-born music producer has been slowly taking over as one of the top music producers in Hollywood. In the 1990’s he rose to success after some massive pop hits at the turn of the millennium including Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way”, Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” and NSYNC’s “It’s My Life”
Since then, he’s either written or co-written 22 of Billboard’s Hot 100 hits, working with artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 and The Weekend to name a few.
In that time, it’s estimated that he’s raked in a cool $250 million. Just in 2016 alone, his company earned $54 million, $19 million of which he benefitted personally.
American artist and producer Swizz Beats, born Kasseem Dean, got started in the production world at the young age of 16. At that time his uncles Joaquin “Waah” Dean and Darin “Dee” Dean and aunt Chivon Dean had started the Ruff Ryders Record label which he started work for.
At such a ripe young age, he was afforded the opportunity to work among some of the the hottest rising talents in the game. This meant producing singles for the likes of Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes and DMX in his early twenties.
It wasn’t until he started putting out his own music did he really start to gain attention. Following his debut album G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories in 2002, his production style and attention to detail became noticed by artists like Beyonce and T.I.. He’s had an illustrious career for such a young producer, and has been called one of the greatest producers of our times by many publications and similar praise from Kanye West. It’s unsurprising Swizz Beats has collected a fortune over time, and is said to be worth $65 million.