U2 tops list of best-paid musicians. The jet-setting Irish rockers earned $61.9 million last year, followed by Dr. Dre and the Beatles, according to figures compiled by Rolling Stone
U2, Bono

Bono spent much of the last month traveling the world, urging the U.S. to spend more on aid to Africa, and campaigning for third-world debt relief. Meanwhile, his band’s extensive traveling has ensured that it’s in no need of debt relief. According to a list compiled by Rolling Stone magazine, U2 was the best-paid music act of 2001, earning $61.9 million, largely on receipts from its worldwide Elevation tour.

The magazine, which estimated what the artists netted based on conversations with industry insiders, said that Dr. Dre was the No. 2 earner. The Eminem mentor earned $51.9 million, $35 million of it from Interscope increasing its stake in his Aftermath label from 50 percent to 80 percent, the magazine said.

Third on the list were the Beatles, who, more than three decades after their breakup, netted $47.9 million from worldwide sales of their singles compilation ”1.” Dave Matthews Band was fourth, taking in $43.4 million, mostly from concert receipts. At No. 5 was Madonna, whose $40.8 million take came from her Drowned World tour and a contract renewal with Warner Music, which the magazine said paid her an advance of $20 to 30 million.

The rest of the top 10: rapper/mogul Master P. (No. 6, $36 million); guitarist Carlos Santana (No. 7, $32.7 million); ‘N Sync (No. 8, $26.5 million); Aerosmith (No. 9, $24.2 million); and Sting (No. 10, $24 million).