Between endorsement deals, clothing lines, and multi-billion-dollar business acquisitions, it's hard to believe the artists on this list have time to make music. Yet Drake, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift somehow manage to not only churn out recordings, but also make them some of the best of the year. At least according to this year's Grammy Award nominations.
Even if they don't take home a statue Monday night, they're all winners, at least as far as their bank accounts are concerned. Here's a breakdown of the savviest moneymakers nominated for a 2016 Grammy.
7. Pharrell Williams
Before Kanye West entered the fashion game, Pharrell Williams, nominated as a songwriter on Kendrick Lamar's 'Alright,' made a name for himself by founding the Billionaire Boys Club (in fact, he bought back a controlling stake last month) and collaborating on footwear collections with Adidas and Timberland.
And just this week, he became co-owner of denim brand G-Star Raw. Among his other collaborations? A jewelry collection with Louis Vuitton, sunglasses and clothing with Moncler, and hoodies for fast fashion chain Uniqlo.
He is also a backer of venture capital fund Collaborative Fund.
While it's true that Drake makes more money than some of the higher ranked members on this list, he finds himself near the bottom due to some irresponsible spending habits, like allegedly dropping $50,000 at a strip club in one night. As any personal finance expert will tell you, that money would be much better off invested in a low-cost diversified index fund. But Drake, who is nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album, is young and bringing in significantly more income than that, so it's not as egregious a money behavior as if, say, your standard middle class American did the same thing.
Drake has plenty of other business ventures to make up for his loose spending. Like his fellow performers on this list, he signed a deal to produce specialty sneakers, in this case Air Jordans, for which he's also acted as spokesperson. He is the co-founder of OVO Records, which inked a (reported) multi-million-dollar distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records and brings in additional revenue from its branded clothing line and annual music festival. And he launched another clothing line as the Toronto Raptors Global ambassador.
5. Nicki Minaj
Pharrell and Drake may pull in more money from their records than Ms. Minaj, but when it comes to outside business interests, the crossover artist has them both beat.
And she will be executive producing and starring in her own TV show, on top of working on a mobile game, a la Kim Kardashian. If Kim K's success is any indication of Nicki's, she can expect a sweet payday.
4. Kanye West
Most of Ye's non-music earnings stem from one of his other artistic interests, fashion. He has three different sneaker collaborations under his belt, with big name brands Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Adidas. Despite being a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry, even the sneaker world wasn't ready for West's Air Yeezy I and II, for Nike, which sold out in minutes before immediately hitting insanely high resale values.
His other high fashion chops include launching his own clothing collection (though the profitability of that is questionable) and starring with wife Kim Kardashian in Balmain's Spring/Summer 2015 campaign.
As my Money colleagues noted, West, nominated for best rap performance, is also the founder of G.O.O.D. Music and has a stake in Jay-Z's streaming service TIDAL. But he's had some missteps too, like launching a travel site back in 2008 (have you heard of KanyeTravel.com? No?) through his holding company, West Brands LLC. His restaurant holding company, KW Foods LLC, reportedly made a deal to open 10 FatBurger franchises but ultimately opened just two, both of which have since shut down.
3. Justin Bieber
Surprised to see Justin Bieber so high on the list? You shouldn't be. The 21-year-old crooner, who is nominated for Best Dance Recording along with Skrillex and Diplo, is a veteran when it comes to maximizing his profitability.
Bieber's been practically minting money since he landed on the scene in 2009. His 2011 biopic, Never Say Never, grossed $100 million at the box office. Someday, his fragrance, brought in $60 million in sales in its first six months on the market, according to Forbes. And his managers told the magazine in 2012 that he has invested millions in a dozen tech startups (Forbes confirmed four investments at the time), including Spotify. Add in endorsement deals with Calvin Klein, Proactiv, and more, and Bieber has one of the most diversified portfolios in the industry.
2. Taylor Swift
It makes sense that someone whose dad is a wealth management adviser would be so good at managing, well, wealth.
Swift, with seven nominations this year, has a net worth of over $200 million according to Forbes, but it’s less her stellar earnings from selling albums (though she makes plenty on that front) and more her general business acumen that has garnered a lot of attention in the past year: She owns a reported $86 million worth of real estate, copyrights to song lyrics, and has earned well into the eight digits from endorsement deals with the likes of Diet Coke and Keds, not to mention the fragrances, a clothing line, and more. Oh, and she's also planning to get in on that mobile app money.
The 26-year-old, who once fittingly said she wanted to be a financial planner when she grew up, really knows how to build her brand—and her bank account.
1. Dr. Dre
But while eight-digit endorsement deals and real estate holdings are well and good, a nine-figure payday is better. That's why Dr. Dre, nominated for Best Rap Album, is the savviest Grammy nominee when it comes to making and keeping money.
Aside from his prolific rap career, Dre was a co-owner of Death Row Records and is the current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment (part of Universal's Interscope Records, which counts Kendrick Lamar and Eminem as artists). He is one of the producers of the 2015 box office phenomenon Straight Outta Compton, and responsible for the subsequent album, Compton.
Music money is one thing, money from getting acquired by one of the biggest companies on the planet is another. The producer cofounded Beats By Dr. Dre with Interscope chief Jimmy Iovine in 2008, which provided him with a steady income. But when Apple bought the company, by then Beats Electronics, for $3 billion in 2014, Dre walked away with a reported $500 million, elevating his net worth to just below the 10-figure mark, according to Forbes.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Beyoncé
The Queen of pop culture capitalism, Beyoncé sadly was not nominated for a Grammy this year. But after she dropped ‘Formation,’ followed by a show-stopping (and stealing) Super Bowl performance punctuated with the announcement of a new world tour last week, it’s hard not to credit Bey on this list. The businesswoman just does it better than anyone else. And while her Super Bowl performance may have stirred up some controversy, the best revenge is, of course, paper—and Beyoncé’s got a ton of it.