Most music producers aren't rich and famous, but there are a lucky and hard-working few who make enough money to amass significant wealth. Success like this usually requires a combination of talent, vision, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people. While their stories and backgrounds vary, these music producers are among the wealthiest in the industry.
Dr. Dre ($740 Million Net Worth)
Hip-hop legend and music producer Dr. Dre (Andre Young ) is reportedly worth about $740 million. Dr. Dre grew up in different areas of Los Angeles, California, including in the projects of Compton. He began DJ-ing in a Los Angeles night club in the '80s and met most of his first hip-hop collaborators there.
In the early '90s, he formed Death Row Records and went on to become a platinum-selling producer and solo artist. He is known for producing many of the biggest albums and artists in the history of hip-hop. Some of his biggest production credits include:
- Ice Cube
- Snoop Dogg
- 50 Cent
- Mary J. Blige
- Alicia Keys
He also created the company Beats Electronics, which eventually sold to Apple for millions of dollars.
Clive Calder ($2.5 Billion Net Worth)
According to Richest Lifestyle, record label mogul and producer Clive Calder has a net worth of about $2.5 billion dollars. The founder of Zomba Group, Jive, Silvertone, and other record labels, Calder helped produce some of the biggest pop stars of the '90s. He later sold Zomba for millions of dollars.
Calder's biggest money-making artists include:
- Backstreet Boys
- Britney Spears
Calder was born in South Africa and grew up in Johannesburg, where he formed his first record label.
Berry Gordy Jr. ($345 Million Net Worth)
Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, has a net worth of about $345 million, according to The Richest. He is known for creating a genre (Motown) that would transform popular music for generations. He is responsible for producing and helping establish some of the most influential artists in modern music history. Some of his best-selling artists include:
- Smokey Robinson
- The Temptations
- Stevie Wonder
- Gladys Knight and the Pips
- The Marvelettes
- The Jackson 5
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Gordy was interested in music at a young age, though his life would take several unexpected turns. He became interested in boxing and won several matches before the military interrupted his career. After serving in the Korean War, he returned to Detroit and used his military pay to open a record store.
Gordy also worked the assembly line at the Ford Motor Company and wrote a few songs in his head while he worked, two of which sold to Decca Records. After that he decided to form his own record label, and Motown Records was born. Their first release, Shop Around by Smokey Robinson (a friend of Gordy), sold over a million songs and gave birth to a new genre of music.
Rick Rubin ($250 - $400 Million Net Worth)
According to Celebrity Net Worth, legendary producer Rick Rubin has a net worth of $250 million, while The Richest lists his net worth at $400 million. No matter which number reflects his wealth, Rubin, who is known for founding Def Jam records, is definitely among the richest producers in the music industry.
Rick Rubin grew up in Long Island, New York and attended college at New York University (NYU). He was a student at NYU when he founded Def Jam records in the '80s. With his new label, Rubin helped create the mainstream hip-hop genre by producing many of the first major hip-hop artists. Examples include:
- LL Cool J
- Public Enemy
- Run DMC
He also went on to produce legendary artists in other genres. Some of his best-selling artists outside of hip-hop include:
- Johnny Cash
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
- Sheryl Crow
- Tom Petty
Envy of the Industry
If you're in the music industry and you've struggled along the way, it can be a little painful looking at lists like these. You might say, "Why can't I get to that level? I'm just as talented. I work just as hard." The truth is that a person has less control over their big breaks than they might care to admit. The best strategy is to use these producers as positive motivators, not a cause to be discouraged or envious. Do the best work you can, and let the cards fall where they may.