Justin Bieber brought in a massive $55 million in 2012: does he deserve it?

Justin Bieber

Here are some photos from last night’s Justin Bieber concert in Madison Square Garden. From the looks of things, Biebs is flying in on a ridiculous pair of mechanical wings like some Douche Ex Machina (that just rolled off the top of my head, but it really fits him, right?). Today’s concert gimmicks are so ridiculous, you know? These acts just need to get onstage and rock out, but I guess if you’re anything like Bieber, it’s really impossible to “rock out.”

Whatever the case, Justin has had another inexplicably successful year in the music business. Forbes has released their annual salary report for top musical acts, and Biebs has raked in $55 million thus far in 2012. Sure, he’s only 10th on the list, but damn, $55 million … to act whiny and pretend like he’s the next Justin Timberlake? I can’t believe he’s been around for three albums already, and each of them continues to sell like hotcakes. So is Bieber here to stay, and will he infiltrate other entertainment niches like acting? He really does want to be the next Mark Wahlberg, but I hope that won’t happen. One Mark Wahlberg is enough, thank you very much. Here’s the rest of the list, which includes Taylor Swift, U2, Adele, and the top earner, Dr. Dre:

Justin Bieber

Though he’s only 18 years old, Justin Bieber has had a year for the ages. The Canadian crooner released his third studio album, launched a world tour and continued investing in startups, adding to a portfolio that includes stakes in Spotify, Tinychat and others. All in all, he earned $55 million in 12 months.

“I do calls every week with my business manager and my lawyer,” Bieber told FORBES this spring as part of a cover story on his budding venture capital career. “Each week I’m learning something about my business and what I need to know for my career.” But when it comes to the world’s highest-paid musicians, Bieber is a relative pauper, barely breaking the top ten.

Hip-hop superproducer Dr. Dre leads the pack this year with $110 million, thanks largely to his Beats headphone line. He collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year, at the beginning of our scoring period; he and his partners later bought back half of what they sold.

“The brands are so aligned, Dre and Beats, it’s just who he is,” says Kevin Liles, former president of Def Jam Recordings, who now manages acts ranging from Young Jeezy to Trey Songz. “If you look at the biggest earners, the guys have been doing it for 20 years … what’s happening now is people are really telling their truth.”

Dr. Dre leads a slew of pop stars, rock icons, rap moguls and country crooners, many of whom bank the bulk of their bucks outside the recording studio. Though some artists–Jay-Z and Diddy, for example–owe their success partly to business ventures like Dre’s, most of this year’s top 25 are on the list because of touring.

This year’s list has a distinctly international flavor. Among the top five, only Dr. Dre hails from the United States. Pink Floyd rocker Roger Waters ranks second with $88 million, nearly all of it coming from his The Wall Live tour. According to Pollstar, he grossed $158 million on 63 shows in the first six months of 2012. Fellow Brit Elton John claims the third spot with $80 million, culled from over 100 shows in our scoring period.

Ireland’s U2 ranks fourth, pulling in $78 million on the tail end of the group’s record-breaking 360 tour. British boy band Take That rounds out the top five with $69 million, thanks to a wildly-popular reunion tour. Other highlights on the list include Toby Keith, who tied Bieber for tenth with $55 million. With his Ford sponsorship now on its second decade and his I Love This Bar And Grill restaurant chain booming, Keith was the top earner among all country artists–unless you count crossover star Taylor Swift, who earned $57 million, same as Paul McCartney. Coldplay and Adele continue the British trend, claiming the 21st and 22nd slots with $37 million and $35 million, respectively. Eight of the top 25 acts hail from England or Ireland.

[From Forbes]

Dr. Dre is making an absolute killing with his Beats. I love the guy from a rap standpoint, and don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that he’s found continued success with Beats (even though the headphones are kind of cheap and awful in terms of quality), but he’s so … commercial now. He’s no longer a renegade rebel, you know? Other artists have flocked to the Beats for the huge money-making opportunity as well, including (of all people) Trent Reznor. You know, Trent was the guy who once told his record company, “F*** you. Take that beat and shove it up Timbaland’s ass.” Ah well, even the good ones go soft, don’t they? At least Bieber started out that way, so he can’t possibly go on to lose cred in his advanced age. Or can he?

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Photos courtesy of WENN

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53 Responses to “Justin Bieber brought in a massive $55 million in 2012: does he deserve it?”

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  1. tina d says:

    Ew. He tries to have this ‘tough’ image. Obviously does not work at all.

  2. Annie says:

    This new heroin addict look is so gross. Congrats on his success I guess but he needs to stop being such a douche. It’s sad that a young man can’t enjoy a semblance of sucess in the music business without becoming a total narcissistic a-hole. The whole overalls situation with the Canadian PM was beyond rude. Dude lives in his own little world.

  3. ZigZagZoey says:

    NO. And I really don’t think “tween” crap should be counted as far as record sales go…Or it should at least have it’s own category. It’s pathetic and disgusting how much money bad entertainment makes just because they are beloved by tweens who have parents that spend all their money on it. (cough : Twilight : cough)(I know it isn’t ALL tweens, but still…)

  4. spinner says:

    Does he deserve it??

    A resounding NO !!!

  5. Lipsy says:

    I LOL’ed at the first image. It looks like he’s on a baby swing.

  6. Rachel says:

    OMG. Put your shirt on little boy. No one needs to see your bird chest. His entire career makes me want to vomit.

    Bedhead you sound so hipster. Dr. Dre is just soooo commercial now…

  7. hoya_chick says:

    NO! These lists always put things into perspective lol. What kind of world are we living in? SMH I cannot even deal with those numbers for the crap people like him and Swift put out. Just about everyone else on the list though seem like they are vets who tour extensively all over the world for the entire year.

    If the headphones are so crappy, how come he is making so much money off of them?!

    I don’t have a problem with Dr. Dre being ‘commercial’ or whatever. He is a grown man, not a boy from the ‘hood anymore. People grow up and mature. He is more about his business than anything else. It’s a whole other type of hustle and a big FU to the establishment, in that he is now the man and in control of his own financial/creative image. I can respect that. I think pretending to be a bad boy on/from the street would be authentic at this point of his career.

  8. V4Real says:

    Does he deserve it? No he doesn’t; Next post Please.

  9. BreeinSEA says:

    He will never have a manly body I swear…

  10. Guest says:

    One word…….ENVY. He earned it; so he deserved it.

    • flan says:

      Not a fan, but I do notice that anything liked by teenage girls always get crapped on the most.

      What do people think teenage boys watch at the same time?

      But then it’s a boys will be boys thing and nobody is allowed to say anything.

    • Jen says:

      Hahaha Guest…best joke of the day. Thanks for that.

  11. KellyinSeattle says:

    I find it terribly insulting that Bieber is on the same list as Sir Elton John!

  12. lower-case deb says:

    i know they’re supposed to be cymbals, judging from the rest of the elements in the vaguely-steampunky-musical-instruments-wings.

    but they just look like rows and rows and rows of nippy-boobs to me.

    *hangs head in shame* i know. very hormonal pimply high school jock of me.

  13. Lithe says:

    Well he must be doing something right if he has legally earned this money. I’m not a fan of his music and I think his PR people need to keep him on a shorter leash. BUT I don’t think the question of whether he deserves his income is a fair one.

  14. Sweet Dee says:

    Nobody deserves that much money, no matter what the industry. Sorry, but there’s nothing you can do to “earn” that much money in a year in my book, even if it is given to you fair and willingly. Nope.

  15. stephanie says:

    douche ex machina LOL LOL

  16. tabasco says:

    well, i don’t think he “earned” it, but i think “earned” and “deserved” are not really applicable to the entertainment industry in general. nobody “earns” or “deserves” insane millions for acting, music, whatever. i mean, sure, meryl streep has the talent and substance, but i don’t think any of it is worth the kind of money that could feed a small country. i didn’t realize JB is 18. i thought he was maybe 16. it does seem like he’s a bit slow on the puberty, but that’s a pretty unpredictable thing. i also wonder if he’s encouraged to stay as teen-looking as possible for as long as possible b/c his fan base is young and his inevitable change in look may threaten that and will bring to a head the question of whether or not he can “transition” from tiger beat to gq.

    • Sweet Dee says:


      No actor or musician can deserve what they make. There is no way. Just because people are willing to pay a certain amount doesn’t mean anyone could possibly deserve the sum of it all.

  17. Skins says:

    Not a fan of the Biebs at all, but if he is putting the asses in the seats then he deserves it.

  18. lori says:

    Putting a word like “deserve” and a “$” in a sentence will only result in frustration.

  19. BooBooLaRue says:

    At the very least Marky Mark can act. Sort of.

  20. Cody says:

    Great for him that he made 55 million dollars. If I were him I would take the money, get some good financial advice and retire and enjoy the rest of my life. How much money do you need. To bad in the United States there are such economic inequality. A teacher in the inner city or a police officer puts their life on the line makes maybe $35,000 a year, but some teenager who sings makes 55 million.

  21. Merritt says:

    Considering his complete lack of talent, I would say no.

  22. smiley says:

    that pic of him, hanging with his wings looks like a huge eagle clutching him as lunch

  23. Dawn says:

    ummm…he has more talent in his little finger than the whole Kartrashian and Jenner klan have in total and I do believe that the trashies made more than he did. So hell yes, he deserves it.

  24. INeedANap says:

    He is trying to pack as much muscle as he can onto his little-boy frame, it just makes him look strung out. No go child. I keep saying I wish he would go the Ziggy Stardust route and embrace his androgyny.

  25. Suzy says:

    Someone’s been working out! WOWZA! :)

  26. hayley says:

    let me answer your question without even glancing at the story: no.

  27. Adrienne says:

    Bahahahaha! The “Douche Ex Machina” title totally just made my day.

  28. TheOneAndOnly says:

    I agree zigzagzooey, hoyachick and tabasco; fyi, when this entitled douchenozzle was playing in my area, tics where going for 356 dollars and he sold out although if you looked at photos in the newspapers I’d say his fan base was 9 yr olds accompanied by parents; if i had a 9 yr old she could whine till the moon fell into the sun, and I wouldn’t shell out 356 dollars for a ticket. Disgusting, really, a poster some time ago said he and his team must laugh their arses off backstage after a “show” at all the naifs and soccer moms that cough up good money to see this snot. They are getting played big time. Oh well, there is still great music out there: Esperanza Spalding, Gary CLark, My Morning Jacket, Tame Impala, etc.

    • Julie says:

      I can’t believe Dr Dre made that much from selling headphones! Sure the sound is good but they’re ridiculously overpriced.

  29. lucy2 says:

    Deserve? No. But if people are willing to part with their cash to see…whatever that is, then that’s on them.
    I hope he does have good financial planners, because like most “teen sensations”, his star will fade.

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  31. Sarah9 says:

    Please people don’t be jealous cause justin’s got what you don’t!!!!

  32. skuddles says:

    Awk, I can’t believe we live in a world where some ridiculous brat who runs around in diaper drawers and gold runners makes a 55 mil salary! Of course this is the same world that turns violent assholes like Chris Brown and sickeningly vapid lardasses like Kim Krapdashian into rich and famous celebs. Some days I just want off this planet.

  33. Agnes says:

    NO ONE deserves to make 55 mil a year.

  34. Amy says:

    Those pictures are just about the silliest things I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe this kid is a superstar.

  35. Shy says:

    He needs to gain weight. He just looks like Aaron Carter in that picture where he was super thin and super muscular at the same time. And also had scary methface…

    I don’t believe he can outgrow his teen fans and stay successful as adult artist. All his fans are teen girls and once he will grow up enough – they will find him gross and move to another teen artist. Or will grow up themselves. And new teens will find another teen crush because Bieber will be that gross “wannabe street” guy.

    Of course it won’t happen in one second. But look at Miley Cyrus. She has no career at the moment. She tried to act like grown up singer and lost all her kids fans. And didn’t get new ones. Now she gets in the press only when she shockingly cuts her hair or when she dates Gail from Hunger Games.

    Look how fast Zac Efron fall from his teen fame. I don’t believe that Bieber will survive it. Because you must have talent to gain adult audience. And all adults hate Bieber.

  36. Mourning the Death of Music says:

    No… Just, no.

  37. d b says:

    why does any performer “deserve” 50 million dollars?

  38. Chrissie Malcolm says:

    No, no, no, no, no!!!