Who’s the richest musician in the world? (2020)

A lot of the top artists are pretty wealthy but who’s got the most money of all? It may come as a surprise to you.

The surprise is because only four years ago this same artist claimed to be $53 million in debt. Now it looks like they’re not only out of debt but officially the richest musician in the world.

Who is it? None other than Kanye West.

Kanye has called himself a billionaire before and it looks like he is certainly doing well. Forbes have named him the highest-earning musician of 2020 with $170 million in earnings in just the past year. That figure puts him well ahead of even the most popular pop stars.

Beyond the music world Kanye also placed second in wealth amongst entertainment and celebrities. Money is in the family as taking the top spot is West’s sister-in-law Kylie Jenner who is reported to have earned $590 million in the last year.

The earnings don’t include outgoings to their associated managers, agents, accountants and so on which likely carves a decent dent. Forbes have however confirmed West’s claims that he is a billionaire revealing that he has a net worth of roughly $1.3 billion now.

Whilst he’s certainly a huge musician, Kanye’s brand signings and Yeezy clothes line are the most prominent source of earnings for him. Second place on the musicians top list was Elton John who earned less than half of West’s income in the last year.

This week West donated $2 million to the families of recent murder victims by police in America: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. He has also set up a college fund for the education of George Floyd’s daughter following his brutal death.

Warner Music Group closed their first day trading 20% above IPO price

Warner Music’s late launch on Wall Street has paid off as their first day showed huge value on their shares.

Warner Music Group launched their Initial Public Offering on Wall Street last week after delaying their initial February date. Their concerns over the economy during Coronavirus led them to delay it and now they’ve started trading, things are looking good.

Warner ended their first day with stock up 20.48% on Wednesday’s IPO price. Warner Music Group added over $2.5 billion to the company’s value in a single day, making the label worth over $15 billion now.

The initial price of shares started at $25 and by the end of the day that had raised to over $30.

The public offering is being jointly managed by investment firms Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. Underwriters of the deal have 30 days to purchase up to 10,500,000 additional shares of Warner’s stock if they wish to.

Spotify provide artists with advice for releasing music while unable to tour

COVID-19 is halting live gigs and tours around the world. This has lead some artists to pause the release of their new album until they can get back on the road to promote. Others are finding creative ways to promote their new music and connecting with fans, without leaving the house.

No one can give you the correct move when it comes to releasing and promoting your music during this totally different time, as there is no known answer to what works. However, fans are more eager than ever for new music, being stuck at home looking for entertainment.

Spotify have written a blog post regarding choosing the right time to release music, interacting with fans online, live streaming, uploading non-audio content online and more.

Also read our production and marketing advice for artists in quarantine.

Also find out tips on creating interesting and engaging social media posts.

RouteNote remain operational during this time, to help artists publish music whenever is right for them.

Over half of SoundCloud creators don’t get played each month, how can you reach more listeners?

SoundCloud’s CEO recently revealed that out of 25 million creators, 13 million don’t get a single play each month – let’s talk about how to remedy it.

Getting listeners is hard, trust me – we know all about it at RouteNote. But we also know just how possible it is to build a fanbase, gain listeners and even make a whole career out of your music online. With a bit of dedication and some careful attention you don’t need to be part of the SoundCloud 52%.

Here are some tips from what we’ve learned over the years seeing artists make and break their music online.


One of the single most important things to earning a dedicated fanbase online is having a formidable online presence. I’m talking social media pages, biographies explaining you as an artist, making sure your music is available however people want to hear it.

The more you exist online the more likely it is that people will find you. And, once they’ve found you then they can stick around to follow your releases and movements.

When someone hears a song they like and tries to find more on the artist; if they find little to nothing they’ll lose interest, but if they find a Facebook page they can like, a SoundCloud profile they can follow, a YouTube channel they can subscribe to, etc. then they will have an immediate point of entry to find out more and stick around for the future.

Make sure you aren’t just there, but that you care. Connect through platforms with your fans. Provide regular updates to boost engagement and keep people aware of you. Make sure that your profiles represent you in image and writing so people know what you’re all about.


This may seem obvious, but upload your music. I imagine many of the SoundCloud profiles not seeing any life haven’t uploaded in a long time. Unfortunately people lose interest quickly, you want to be making and releasing music if you want people to keep listening to you and discovering you.

Now, I’m not saying that you should rush your art or create for the sake of it, nor am I saying that you should upload just anything you make. But too many artists release a single and then go quiet for a year and immediately lose any trajectory they had.

It can be hard to find time to create and polish tracks, inspiration doesn’t always find us, and we’re not always completely happy with something to go live. But pushing yourself as much as you can to create and release music you’re proud of into the world is vital to making it as an artist and building a fanbase.


There are plenty of ways to promote your music. Of course there are paid options like advertisements but they aren’t necessarily connecting with people, just putting your music in front of them.

Getting creative with promoting can do so much for you. Connect with existing fans by doing things like leaking snippets of new tracks, showing a production diary following you through the creation, share, share, share, share!

Find new fans through promotions on social media – for example, ‘Share this post to be in with a chance of winning a T-Shirt’. It may seem cheesy but it’s a great way for existing fans to take part in something they enjoy and puts your music in front of all of their friends who could become new fans.

Send your music to playlist influencers and your local radio DJs. Talk to labels and see if they’d be interested in promoting your music. Put yourself out there to find places where your music can be put in front of brand new audiences who are the perfect fit for what you’re making.

Get creative and personal with it. Think about unique ways you can promote and share your music. The more interesting and different your approach the more likely people are going to have their attention caught by it.


I’ve mentioned connecting a few times through this article but that’s because it really is important. Connecting through your music but also through yourself as a person is the number one thing you can do for many reasons.

Connecting with your fans or potential listeners in different ways creates a genuine relationship which solidifies a value between the two of you. When an audience feels valued and recognised they are far more likely to stick with you.

Connect with other artists, whether it’s online or in your area. A lot of music is based in community and finding artists in the realm of whatever you’re doing is great not only because it inspires you but it opens up opportunities. You can promote each other to your similar fanbases, make new connections, go on tours together. Your peers are important, especially if they are your friends.

Connect with everyone! Labels, influencers, services, gig promoters, venue owners, artists, listeners, DJs – you never know who will help you take your music to another level. The only way people are going to listen to your music is if they’re aware of it and each person in your community multiplies your chances of being heard.

Spotify’s Sound Up program helps “underrepresented podcasters” around the world boost their content

Spotify are expanding their Sound Up program to support up-and-coming podcasters with expert advice on making a great show.

Spotify have opened applications in the US to Sound Up 2020, the third year for their program dedicated to building the skills of underrepresented groups. The chosen aspiring podcasters will have access to education, workshops and support in building their capabilities as podcaster.

The Sound Up program will soon be launching applications for the UK, Australia, the US, and Germany. Over the years since Spotify launched Sound Up they have had 10 graduates from all over the world launch their own shows and three now have a Spotify Original podcast.

Spotify are planning on a different approach made up of two phases this year:

Due to the challenges of gathering during this unprecedented time, Sound Up will be divided into two phases. First up is a virtual four-week course that will take place later this year.

To ensure everyone has equal access to technology, we’ll be providing computers, WiFi access, and podcast recording equipment to participants.

Then, those who demonstrate a particular knack for podcasting will be invited to a future in-person training where they will further develop their ideas.

Sound Up will also be launching in Brazil and Sweden for the first time this year, helping even more underrepresented groups across the world build their potential. In Sweden their focus will be on women and non-binary people marginalised by other features as well. Their Brazil applications will be open to young PoC from the Periferias, or the outskirts of big citires.

Each country will choose 20 applicants to take part in the program which lasts four-weeks. The aim is that by the end of Sound Up applicants will have the skills and knowledge to empower them to create their own podcasts with the ability to create a trailer for their show.

Spotify have seen huge success since introducing podcasts to their platform and have nabbed exclusive release of some of the world’s most popular podcasts and personalities, including the recent signing of Joe Rogan.

U.S. residents can now apply for this year’s Sound Up here. Those in Sweden, Germany, and Brazil can apply later this month, and applications for the U.K. and Ireland will be available in August. The program will be offered to women and non-binary people of color in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland, and Sweden; young people of color from the Periferias in Brazil; and members of the LGBQTI community in Germany. We can’t wait to hear what these new podcasters have to share.

Apple launch audio stories in News+ from magazines and news outlets

Apple have quietly launched a new blend of podcasts and news in their News+ app to keep users updated by audio.

Apple’s news app has launched a beta version for a new slew of content from their partnered news publishers and magazines. The new audio stories let users plug in and listen to the latest stories making them more accessible for those on the go, in the car, relaxing in the garden, and more.

So far, some of the supported sources include Wired, People, Variety, New York Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal currently. The new Audio Stories section seems to have combined Apple’s podcasting app’s features into their News app.

Reports of an audio section to the app being launched for Apple News have been circulating since last year. The release is still only in a beta for now and whilst there’s no mention of an official release it looks like Apple are needing to license more content before they can build it and work up to a full release.

The new audio stories will be available to their News Plus subscribers, a $9.99 subscription to content for over 300 magazines and selected newspapers. The feature will certainly add value to their Plus subscriptions once launched, though for now the beta feature seems very limited.

How are music magazines coping during Coronavirus? You can probably guess

Britain’s music magazines have revealed how the past few months have hit them and it seems they’re in the same boat as many businesses.

The Guardian have done a report that is looking into the effects of the UK’s beloved music magazines, seeing the effect on the biggest established brands down to the underground, smaller publishers. It shows that even some of the most popular brands are having to consider closure after the fallout.

The nation has gone quiet on the music front and the world has mostly followed. Gigs, festivals, tours, even album releases have been postponed and cancelled all over and it’s left the music industry (and almost every other industry) in a difficult place.

For music magazines, the sudden standstill of happenings has left very little to report on. There’s only so many artists you can interview about how the Coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns have affected them before it gets tired, few in fact as so many are growing weary of the constant stream of true but sad news surrounding the issue.

Bauer Media have announced last week that their monthly magazine Q is under review for the future. They’re looking at the possibility of moving to a digital-only format to cut costs, but other options include a merger, divestment, or even a closure.

That’s one of the UK’s biggest music publications whose future is being brought into question. So, of course the situation for smaller magazines is looking uncertain as well. Loud and Quiet is a free music mag that runs on adverts from live music. It’s founder, Stuart Stubbs said: “It was like a tap being turned off.”

In response, Loud and Quiet and another freesheet Crack have launched emergency subscriptions for their content to help prop them up in lieu of advertising revenues.

Most publishers have moved their efforts online to reduce printing costs, something that some have been doing anyway in response to the dwindling market for physical publications. British music staple NME published their last physical magazine in 2018 to move online though release special edition print copies every now and again.

For the others this transition could become permanent, or it could sadly signal the end for many. Read the full report from The Guardian and remember – report music publishers you love if and when you can!

YouTube add pre-saves for new albums as Google Play Music gets closer to shutdown

Music streamers who are sad to see the back of Google Play Music may be happy to see new features coming to it’s replacement: YouTube Music.

Sometime later this year, Google Play Music will raise its shutters and stop streaming after almost a decade. Google aren’t abandoning music streaming though, they’re just moving shop to YouTube Music which will be their flagship music streaming service and, after this year, their sole one.

In the build-up to GPM’s full closure, Alphabet (Google and YouTube’s parent company) have been bolstering YouTube Music with brand new features. The latest reports show that pre-save releases are now available, allowing listeners to add an album or tracks to their library and playlists before release.

Spotify made the feature popular with their first pre-save in 2016 and Apple Music now also does the same for upcoming releases. Reddit users spotted the feature last week and it’s since been confirmed to be working with already released tracks playable and the rest available to save in your library.

Since the start of this year, YouTube Music has also added lyrics to songs and new places for users to discover music. Whilst no specific date has been given for Google Play Music’s shutdown it has been confirmed to be sometime this year.

They have launched a tool for migrating GPM libraries to YouTube Music and if you’re looking to head to another service completely after GPM we have an article about a service that helps you do that here.

BTS’s record label file IPO, looking to raise $1.6 billion

Big Hit Entertainment, the South Korean label behind hit pop group BTS, has filed for an IPO looking to raise up to 2 trillion won.

In March we reported that Big Hit Entertainment were looking to an initial public offering to raise funds. With the huge music scene in South Korea led by BTS, the record label are on a brilliant trajectory and are looking to translate that into investment for shares in the company.

According to Bloomberg, the label has now filed for an IPO in South Korea which other reports seem to corroborate. Reports say that the label went forward with their IPO on the Korea Exchange on May 21st and are in the process of a review consultation that usually takes around a week.

Their IPO may not be timed just based on their increasing popularity but based on their leading talent. The BTS boys are set to serve mandatory military service for South Korea starting with the first of the group this year. The label are reportedly looking to do their IPO before that happens.

The huge label are looking to raise up to $1 billion though some reports have suggested they could raise as much as $5billion or 6 trillion won before. Big Hit have chosent their underwriters and according to bankers familiar with the matter they’ve chosen JPMorgan, NH Investment & Securities, and Korea Investment & Securities to helm the trading.

Major label Warner Music Group have launched their Wall Street IPO

It’s been a long time coming, Warner Music Group are now publicly sharing stocks on the Wall Street market.

This week Warner Music confirmed the launch of their Initial Public Offering (IPO) after going private in 2011. Warner are offering potential investors 70 million shares at between $23 and $26 to begin with under ‘WMG’.

After delaying their return to Wall Street in February because of the unpredictable results of COVID on the market, the major label has moved forward with trading shares. With states across the U.S. looking to re-open Warner are expecting the economy’s stability is assured enough to go ahead.

Rumours earlier this month suggested that Saudi Arabia, yes the country, had offered to buy Warner Music outright. The country’s public investment fund reportedly wanted to purchase the $12.5 billion value record label though that has not been confirmed. They may go publicly to shares for investment in Warner now.

The public offering is being jointly managed by investment firms Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. Underwriters of the deal have 30 days to purchase up to 10,500,000 additional shares of Warner’s stock if they wish to.