Adele and Sir Paul McCartney have topped the annual Sunday Times Rich List for UK and Irish music makers, each retaining the number one spot on the lists for young musicians and all musicians respectively.
Having stayed atop the full list of musical fortunes since 1989 thanks to his prolific career with The Beatles and a solo artist and collaborator, Sir Paul McCartney is estimated to be worth £680m – £60m ahead of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. U2 come in at a collective third with £520m, boosted by their record-breaking world tour, The 360 Tour; the most profitable series of gigs in the history of music.
Coming out on top for a second year in a row, Adele sits pretty at the summit of the list for young musicians, with her fortune increased to £30m thanks to the success of Skyfall and the continued sales of her second album, 21. Her closest competitor over the past year has been Cheryl Cole who is thought be worth £14m, with an all-female top eight featuring Leona Lewis, Katie Melua, Florence Welch, Charlotte Church, Jessie J, Lily Allen, Nadine Coyle and Duffy close behind the former X-Factor judge and Girls Aloud singer.
One Direction made their debut on the list this year alongside BRIT winner Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran, with each artist and band member posting a fortune of £5m. Although worth less collectively due to their four members to One Direction’s five, JLS charted above the You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful boyband, with JB, Marvin, Aston and Ortisé all estimated to be worth £1m more than their US conquering peers.
The results reflect the value of acts at the very top of the UK’s music industry, driven by major successes abroad and the continued impact of legacy artists such as Sir Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones who also feature on the main list. However, with cuts looming over the UK’s creative scene, and the commercial pressures of earning a living in an evermore competitive yet financially challenged industry, focus also needs to be placed on ensuring that the potentially best-selling artists of the future have the opportunities and support to flourish in these difficult times.