The King of Pop is STILL the king! According to Forbes, Michael Jackson once again tops the list of top-earning dead celebrities of 2019.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Jackson, with $60 million, landed on top of Forbes’ list. To determine the highest earner, Forbes calculated monies earned for the months between the fiscal year of October 2018 and October 2019. The latest entry, Ermias Joseph Asghedom, a.k.a. Nipsey Hussle, who died in March of this year, made the list at #10 with $11 million earned. Rapper Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, a.k.a. XXXTentacion, is the most-streamed dead celebrity in the U.S. with 5.6 billion spins.
Earnings for those who made the list are essentially flat compared to last year’s sum. Even as physical sales continue their decline, the nine musicians who made the list, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Nipsey Hussle, generated 15.2 billion streaming spins over the past year in the U.S., up 38.5% from the prior 12 months.
“In the physical world, it would die down to the point where that stuff just wasn’t carried anymore,” says David Bakula, Nielsen’s Senior VP of Insight and Analytics. “That barrier’s been removed, and it’s just simply as long as you’re still thinking about that artist, you’re still going to go in and play it with really no friction at all.”
Forbes states, “Our annual list of the top-earning dead celebrities measures pretax income from October 1, 2018, through October 1, 2019. We compile our numbers with the help of data from Nielsen Music, IMDBPro, and interviews with industry insiders. Fees for agents, managers, and lawyers are not deducted.”
The Top-Earning Dead Celebrities Of 2019
Michael Jackson – Musician (overdose/homicide) Deceased June 25, 2009: $60 million
Elvis – Musician (heart attack) Deceased August 16, 1977: $39 million
Charles Schultz – Cartoonist (cancer) Deceased February 12, 2000: $38 million
Arnold Palmer – Golfer (heart disease) Deceased September 25, 2016: $30 million
Bob Marley – Musician (cancer) Deceased May 11, 1981: $20 million
Dr. Seuss – Author (cancer) Deceased September 24, 1991: $19 million
John Lennon – Musician (homicide) Deceased December 8, 1980: $14 million
Marilyn Monroe – Actress (overdose) Deceased August 5, 1962: $13 million
Prince – Musician (overdose) Deceased April 21, 2016: $12 million
Nipsey Hussle – Musician (homicide) Deceased March 31, 2019: $11 million
XXXTentacion – Musician (homicide) Deceased June 18, 2018: $10 million
Whitney Houston – Musician (drowning) Deceased February 11, 2012: $9.5 million
George Harrison – Musician (cancer) Deceased November 29, 2001: $9 million