Paul McCartney isn’t only the richest of all his fellow Beatles members, he’s the richest rockstar of all time, with second place being multiple hundreds of millions behind him. How did he become so wealthy?
McCartney made almost all of his money in the music industry, both solo and with The Beatles. It was done through songwriting, touring, and a strong grasp of the importance of publishing rights.
You might think that it makes sense for one of the Beatles, arguably the most famous music group to ever grace the music world, to have made so much money over the course of his long career.
Other similarly famous rock legends haven’t made anywhere near the same amount, so what makes McCartney special?
For the man that is regarded as one of the most creative and capable songwriters of recent generations, it’s worthwhile thinking about just how many and how popular the projects that he has been a part of are.
Even putting aside all of The Beatles catalog of music, McCartney has a whole library of incredible hits that he has been the sole-composer of. To be honest, calling a few of those songs ‘hits’ might be an understatement.
Take “Wonderful Christmastime” for example. Regardless of how you feel about it, every year during the festive season, this song gets raised from the dead for some endless radio play.
That endless radio play, thanks to the fact that McCartney wrote and retains all the rights to the song, means that he receives an enviable chunk of the royalties every single year. When I say enviable, I’m talking about almost half a million per year.
The amount that was earned from The Beatles songs that McCartney was involved in writing is a slightly more complicated issue. For the longest time, there has been a question mark around the royalties and the publishing rights of the Beatles catalog.
The publishing rights have changed hands over the years, even being owned for the longest period by Michael Jackson. Although McCartney still retained some degree of rights over the song, there would be legal battles involved and the actual amount earned in royalties is anybody’s guess.
Legend on Tour
One of the main sources of McCartney’s income is his touring. The tours aren’t just successful, financially speaking, they are capable of producing absolutely jaw-dropping numbers.
Just from a couple of years alone, McCartney has proven that he’s able to pull in hundreds of millions, with one tour reportedly earning $132 million alone. When you start doing a little bit of fantasy math with possible tour numbers over a career as long as McCartney’s, the billion-dollar assessment starts to make a lot of sense.
The billion-dollar guesstimate could come from the touring alone, with some of the figures putting his revenue from tours almost in excess of the aforementioned billion. This puts him on a very short list of performers who have ever managed to get anywhere close to that kind of success.
A Lifetime of Wealth
Unlike other high earning musicians or performers, who may suffer periods of downturns in their popularity, or simply find themselves unable to continue or innovate, a large part of McCartney’s success financially is down to his consistency.
A love for songwriting that has spanned decades, for starters. Even before the Beatles, he was writing songs, continuing to do so for the entirety of his career afterward, including the band Wings who had an at the time number one best-selling single in the UK.
Speaking of the Beatles, they were one of the world’s first supergroups, and not only was McCartney a part of that journey, but he was also one of the main components of the group’s success.
Not many people in his profession can make the same kind of claim of having a lifetime of maintained success, managing to endear himself to generation after generation. In managing to avoid controversies, burning out, or allowing himself to be overwhelmed by wealth or fame, he has continued to grow his name and his bank balance.
Also, although it’s not the main source of his income, it’s worth mentioning that McCartney’s first wife Linda may have left him a fortune when she died, including a business worth tens of millions of dollars.