Forbes Releases List of World’s Highest-Paid Country Music Stars

Every year, Forbes releases lists of the highest earning stars, and now, the publication is narrowing it down to the World’s Highest-Paid Country Music Stars. This years’ Top 10 earned a combined $366 million.

This year’s top country earner is Garth Brooks, who earned $60 million this year. Most of that income came from touring. Brooks began his comeback tour in 2014 and has since played 300 dates. He typically plays multiple days in a row with more than one show on many of those days. This is a unique approach tour touring with a big show, because instead of doing less shows in a larger stadium venue, he sticks to more shows in a smaller arena due to the personal aspect of it.

“It’s easier to reach those people in the top rows of an arena than it is in a stadium where they all just become one color or one kind of fabric,” Brooks told Forbes.

The second highest paid country artist of 2017 is Kenny Chesney. Chesney’s many endorsement deals – including Apple, Corona and his Blue Chair Bay rum – combined with huge stadium shows on his tour, raked in $42.5 million for the year. Luke Bryan is not far behind with $42 million earned from his Huntin’, Fishin’, & Lovin’ Everyday Tour as well as his Buck Commander show on the Outdoor Channel.

Coming in at No.4 with $47 million is Dolly Parton. Though Parton often makes the list, her higher position this year is thanks to her 63 tour dates within the past year, which earned her six figures per city. Parton also earns from publishing paychecks and the Dollywood theme park in Tennessee. Tied at No. 5 are Toby Keith and Florida Georgia Line, who earned $34.5 million this year.

The rest of the Top 10 include Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Eric Church and Zac Brown Band.

The list changes every year, but by looking at the careers of the acts at the top of the list, the key to earning a spot in the Top 10 is touring!