This Week’s News
Forbes released Tuesday its annual list of the Celebrity 100, the magazine’s record of the top 100 highest-earning celebrities of the past year.
The usual suspects populate the list: Jay-Z. Beyoncé. Kevin Hart. Dr. Phil.
There’s also more than a few country music stars on the list. (Well, that depends on your definition of “country music,” but I digress.)
Six country artists made Forbes’ list this year, down from 11 last year. However, their combined take from 2015-2016 totals $479 million, pre-tax. That’s about half of the City of Austin’s budget for 2015-2016.
Leading the country music money train this year is Taylor Swift, who is purely pop now but built her brand on country music. She pulled in $170 million before taxes as a result of her touring in support of 2014’s “1989.” She also moved up seven spots from her place on 2015’s list.
Garth Brooks fell from his No. 6 spot last year to No. 15 this year. He still made $70 million, though so don’t feel too bad for him. He makes a ton of money from tours and Vegas shows, and he keeps that money by refusing to allow his music to be streamed on services like Spotify. Plus, he’s got an upcoming three night stand in San Antonio which is sure to bring in the big bucks.
Shooting up to No. 26 this year after being No. 49 last year, country’s (nearly 50-year-old?!) resident island boy Kenny Chesney raked in a cool $56 million due to his stadium touring and product shilling for Corona beer and Costa sunglasses. He’s also got his own brand of alcohol, Blue Chair Bay Rum. And he’s the highest climber out of all the country stars on this list.
Chesney is tied at No. 26 with Kevin Durant, Novak Djokovic and Justin Bieber. He’s doing better than his island-boy father figure Jimmy Buffett, who slid eight spots to No. 66 this year with a total take of $40.5 million from his lucrative touring gigs and ever-burgeoning Margaritaville empire.
Rounding out the list are bro-country harbingers Luke Bryan at No. 37 with $53 million and Jason Aldean at No. 75 with $36.5 million.
Bryan’s wealth comes from touring and endorsement deals with Cabela’s and Miller Lite. (Wonder how much he got paid for shilling Tinder to help sell his latest album.) Bryan is tied with Cam Newton, Phil Mickelson, Tom Cruise and Jordan Spieth. He also went up 11 spots form his placing last year.
Aldean is tied with McLaren-Honda Racing driver Fernando Alonso, and represents the biggest dip in rankings out of country stars from last year, moving from No. 47 to No. 75. While he makes most of his money from touring, he’s also the only country act to invest in Tidal.
Read the full list and view an interactive here.
This Week’s Best New Song
This song technically didn’t come out this week, but better late than never, right? Cody Jinks’ latest song “Chase That Song” is but the latest tune to be met with heavy anticipation from the Fort Worth native.
If you haven’t heard “Adobe Sessions” or “I’m Not the Devil,” go out and find those now, and revel in some good old-fashioned country music. “Chase That Song” is in the same vein as Jinks’ other material: traditional with a metal-inspired edge in the lyrics (he was a former thrash metal rocker).
Jinks’ new album “I’m Not the Devil” is due out August 12.
This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin
It’s happening tonight, and it’s FREE. Stop by Zilker Park for KGSR’s “Blues on the Green” and catch Hayes Carll, fresh off of his new “Lovers and Leavers” album. Austin local Carson McHone opens. Show starts at 8 p.m.