Jay-Z Is Now America’s Richest Musician


December 20, 2018

The “greatest trick in music that people ever pulled off,” Jay-Z said to Forbes in 2010, was convincing young aspiring musicians that “you can’t be an artist and make money.” The rapper followed up on his words this week by rising to become the fifth-richest figure on the magazine’s annual ranking of celebrity wealth in America — and the wealthiest musician on the list.

Jay trails behind George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan with his net worth of $900 million — a number that Forbes says comes from an examination of published earnings, private stakes, publicly traded assets as well as lifetime earnings estimates — but he is the figure who saw the biggest dollar gains. Jay’s net worth has risen $90 million in the last year because of his stakes in various companies including entertainment giant Roc Nation, streaming service Tidal and liquor companies Armand de Brignac and D’Ussé. He’s now ahead of fellow rapper Diddy, who previously held the top music spot on the list.

But Jay may not have the crown for long: Dr. Dre was reported to have an estimated net worth of $770 million earlier this year, and the number has likely climbed after his stock-rich exit from Apple this autumn.

America’s 10 richest celebrities together hold around $18.7 billion, which is up 4 percent from $18 billion last year and marks the biggest cumulative figure since Forbes began tracking the fortunes of the famous three years ago, the magazine said. (Note that the celebrity net worth ranking is separate from the publication’s list of highest-paid celebrities and its list of highest-paid dead celebrities.)

America’s Wealthiest Celebrities of 2018

1. George Lucas (net worth $5.4 billion)
2. Steven Spielberg ($3.7 billion)
3. Oprah Winfrey ($2.8 billion)
4. Michael Jordan ($1.7 billion)
5. Tie — Kylie Jenner ($900 million)
5. Tie — Jay-Z ($900 million)
7. David Copperfield ($875 million)
8. Diddy ($825 million)
9. Tie — Tiger Woods ($800 million)
9. Tie — James Patterson ($800 million)

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