The origins of country music trace back to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1920’s. While most music genres change over time, the heart and soul of country music has much remained the same. Due to its worldwide popularity, country music has turned many talented solo artists, duos, and bands into legends.
With great success in country music comes fame and fortune. The most successful country music stars sell out arenas across the world. With a fan base that extends far and wide from the Great Lakes of Michigan to California, Australia, Europe and beyond, fans buy concert tickets in record breaking time. As a result of their loyal following and incredible talent, some of these industry stars are earning well over $20 million per year.
Who are the highest paid musicians in the country music industry? We found the 10 most successful country music stars to date. You might be surprised by some of the people who made the list. Let’s start with a duo that is fairly new to country music but has already found great success with their country-meets-pop music feel.
#10 – Florida Georgia Line ($24 Million/Year)
Die-hard country music fans dislike Georgia Line, as they consider them to be the “Nickelback of Country Music.” This comparison is made because of the very formulaic way that the duo’s songs are composed, lacking depth and meaning. Even the genre that Florida Georgia Line falls into is referred to as Bro-country. Still, with a lot of detractors, it is undeniable that Florida Georgia Line is doing just fine for themselves money-wise.
The tour dates for the duo (comprised of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard) routinely sell out, which is pretty impressive for a band that didn’t really start until 2011. Florida Georgia Line also tours with some of the biggest names in country, many of whom we will see later in this list. The end of 2014 saw the release of the duo’s second album, “Anything Goes”. That late boost in record sales helped solidify their place in the top 10 highest-paid country stars.
Even at 62 years old, George Strait is still rocking. Known by many as the “King of Country,” George Strait has maintained both his classic cowboy look and massive popularity since the 80’s. Strait has earned countless awards throughout his career, including the 2014 ACM Entertainer of the Year award and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Strait still had room for one final tour in his career, which kicked off in January 2013.
The “Cowboy Rides Away Tour” didn’t end until June of 2014, packing in a whopping 47 concerts. Strait played his final show at the AT&T Stadium, which is (appropriately) home to the Dallas Cowboys. The stadium holds over 100,000 fans and 104,000 of them showed up to see Strait’s career come to an end. It was a record breaking show for a concert, destroying the previous record of 87,500 in attendance by the Rolling Stones.
Rascal Flatts got their start in 1999 in the city of Columbus, Ohio. Despite Columbus not being known as a hotbed for country music, Rascal Flatts made it to the big time anyways, with a total of 26 songs on the Billboard Top 20 Country Music Charts. 2014 proved to be an interesting year for the trio; their tour had been quite a success, but they also faced some controversy. Due to overusing their vocals on tour, lead singer Gary LeVox admitted that the band lip synced their performance at the ACM Awards.
While admitting to lip syncing bothered some, owning up to the act and having a legitimate excuse didn’t keep people away from the band’s shows. Their tour was known as the “Rewind Tour” and featured musician greats, Sheryl Crow and Gloriana. Rascal Flatts is going back on the road in 2015 for the “Riot Tour” and they’ll be joined by Scotty McCreery and Craig Wayne Boyd.
Keith Urban might be in his late 40’s, but his haircut would suggest that he’s still in his 20’s. Urban was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. He found massive success after he moved to the United States in the early 1990’s. For nearly 25 years now, Urban has released hit after hit. His career hasn’t slowed down at all with recent hits like “Cop Car”, “Somewhere in My Car” and “Raise ‘Em Up”.
While Urban’s music continues to make him a lot of money, the bulk of his recent earnings have stemmed from reality television. He was a vocal coach in the Australian version of “The Voice” in 2011, but left after just one season. Now, Keith Urban is one of the judges on “American Idol” alongside Jennifer Lopez and fellow country star, Harry Connick, Jr. Urban also has his own guitar line that has sold more than 40,000 units.