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The Richest Boy Bands: From the Beatles to BTS

Cynthia Measom

For many people, boy bands inspire a whole new level of fandom. From the frenzied fans of the Beatles to the screaming teenyboppers who flocked to see One Direction, boy bands have earned their place as some of the best bands of all time.

Along with touring to satisfy their adoring fans, these bands have scored chart-topping hit singles and quadruple platinum albums. Some even made documentaries or feature films. Combine all that with merchandise sales and paid meet-and-greet experiences and you have a recipe for wealth.

Last updated: Sept. 24, 2019

 

 

The Beatles: $2.75 Billion

  • Paul McCartney: $1.2 billion
  • John Lennon: $800 million; deceased
  • George Harrison: $400 million; deceased
  • Ringo Starr: $350 million

Even though the Beatles broke up almost 50 years ago, they remain an icon in the music world. The Fab Four went from selling over a million copies of hit singles such as “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the U.K. to superstardom in the U.S. after appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February 1964.

Mere months after their appearance on that show, the Beatles held the top five spots on the Billboard 100 for best-selling singles and the top two spots for best-selling albums. In fact, most of the band’s albums and singles reached No. 1 on the charts.

From music sales and movies to sold-out tours, the Beatles were a phenomenon the world couldn’t get enough of during the 1960s.

 

The Jackson 5: $507.3 Million

  • Michael Jackson: $500 million; deceased
  • Marlon Jackson: $100,000
  • Jermaine Jackson: $5 million
  • Tito Jackson: $2 million
  • Jackie Jackson: $200,000

The group that would become The Jackson 5 started out in 1962 with the eldest three sons playing together but it later added two younger brothers: Marlon and Michael. In 1969, the five brothers drew industry notice when they opened for Diana Ross. They later launched a debut album, “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5,” and released their first single, “I Want You Back” — a record that catapulted The Jackson 5 to instant success as pop icons.

From there, the group’s success was fast and furious. Its first four singles hit No. 1 and it went on to release two more albums within the first year of its national debut. The Jackson 5 continued releasing successful albums and hits, although at a less rapid pace, until its final album in 1984. In 1989, The Jackson 5 and all but one of the rest of the Jackson siblings got together to produce a reunion album, “2300 Jackson Street.”

 

Take That: $515 Million

  • Robbie Williams: $300 million
  • Gary Barlow: $105 million
  • Howard Donald: $40 million
  • Jason Orange: $30 million
  • Mark Owen: $40 million

British pop band Take That dominated the U.K. charts during the first half of the 1990s and experienced a degree of success not seen since the Beatles took the world by storm in the 1960s. During the band’s first five years, it put out seven No. 1 hits, tweaking its musical style along the way. With the addition of Hi-NRG dance music and contemporary pop ballads, the band went from appealing mostly to teenagers to appealing to adults, as well. Unfortunately, Take That was never able to do what the Beatles did — become a sensation in the U.S. The group disbanded in 1996.

One Direction: $340 Million

  • Harry Styles: $75 million
  • Niall Horan: $70 million
  • Liam Payne: $60 million
  • Louis Tomlinson: $70 million
  • Zayn Malik: $65 million

For a band that finished third on the U.K.’s “The X Factor” in 2010, One Direction went on to achieve a high level of success. The band recorded and released four well-received albums —”Up All Night,” “Take Me Home,” “Midnight Memories” and “Four” — as well as a fifth, less popular album prior to the group disbanding in 2015.

The band toured the world, made numerous TV appearances, performed at the 2012 Olympics and released a worldwide premiere of its concert film, “One Direction: This is Us,” which all contributed to the band’s monetary success.

'N Sync: $315 Million

  • Justin Timberlake: $250 million
  • Lance Bass: $22 million
  • JC Chasez: $16 million
  • Joey Fatone: $14 million
  • Chris Kirkpatrick: $13 million

Although ‘N Sync only lasted from 1996 to mid-2002, it experienced a level of success that propelled its members to almost overnight stardom. The rise to superstardom began with the band’s self-titled debut album, which was released in Europe and received with gusto.

When the album was released in the U.S., it sold more than 10 million copies, helping ‘N Sync gain a strong foothold in the American pop industry. A second album released in the U.S., “Home for Christmas,” went double platinum.

The band’s “No Strings Attached” album, released in 2000, sold more than 1 million copies on the day it was released and nearly 2.5 million during its first week. It went on to sell nearly 10 million copies that year. The release was accompanied by an American tour, pulling in more than $75 million.

In 2001, ‘N Sync released another album, “Celebrity,” which sold nearly 2 million copies in the first week. Before going on a hiatus in 2002 — which eventually turned permanent due to Justin Timberlake’s breakout success as a solo artist — the band launched an elaborate and flashy stadium tour.

Backstreet Boys: $210 Million

  • Nick Carter: $35 million
  • Howie Dorough: $45 million
  • AJ McLean: $45 million
  • Kevin Richardson: $40 million
  • Brian Littrell: $45 million

Combining elements of pop, hip-hop and rhythm and blues, the Backstreet Boys carved out a successful career during the 1990s. Although the group released its initial album in Europe first, its popularity really took off upon the American release of “Backstreet Boys” in 1997. That album sold 14 million copies in the U.S. alone, helped by the ’90s boy band’s early hits like “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”

Their second album, “Millennium,” was released in 1999. It debuted at No. 1 on the charts and sold 1 million copies in the first week before eventually selling 40 million copies worldwide. In 2000, the band released “Black and Blue,” which also sold 1 million copies in the first week and kicked off a successful tour.

The Backstreet Boys released a hits compilation and then took a break until 2004, when it reformed and released another album, “Never Gone,” in June 2005, which reached platinum status. Over the next 14 years, the Backstreet Boys released more albums, embarked on more tours and even secured a Las Vegas residency in 2017. Their most recent album, “DNA,” was released in early 2019 and has topped the Billboard 200, helping the Backstreet Boys members earn even more money.

 

Boyz II Men: $200 Million

  • Michael McCary: $20 million
  • Nathan Morris: $60 million
  • Wanya Morris: $60 million
  • Shawn Stockman: $60 million

Boyz II Men has achieved iconic status in the R&B world thanks to a successful 25-year career and a ranking as the best-selling R&B band of all time. The group has sold 64 million albums overall. It’s also had an ongoing residency at the Mirage Resort and Casino in Las Vegas since 2013.

Although Boyz II Men is no stranger to successful national and international tours, one of its more prominent tours was in 2014 when it embarked on a Package Tour with fellow boy bands NKOTB and 98 Degrees. Boyz II Men’s most recent album is a doo-wop offering entitled “Under the Streetlight.”

 

New Kids on the Block: $87 Million

  • Donnie Wahlberg: $20 million
  • Jordan Knight: $18 million
  • Joey McIntyre: $19 million
  • Jonathan Knight: $14 million
  • Danny Wood: $16 million

Known as one of the most iconic boy bands of the late ’80s and early ’90s, New Kids on the Block — or NKOTB — still performs today.

Although the band made its self-titled album debut in 1986, it wasn’t until its second album release in 1988, “Hangin’ Tough,” that the band began to experience real success.

Five songs from that album made the Top 10, helping push sales to 8 million copies. A Christmas album released later that year reached double-platinum status, while the 1990 album “Step by Step” sold 3 million copies.

In 1991, NKOTB launched a licensed merchandise line that earned the band $400 million in its first year. That line, combined with music sales and sold-out national and international tours, made the band members very rich.

5 Seconds of Summer: $80 Million

  • Ashton Irwin: $20 million
  • Calum Hood: $20 million
  • Luke Hemmings: $20 million
  • Michael Clifford: $20 million

5 Seconds of Summer initially got its start posting hit song covers on YouTube, which caught the attention of Sony and earned the band a publishing deal. That led to a pair of single releases in 2012: “Unplugged” and “Somewhere New.”

In 2013, the band was asked to open for pop sensation One Direction on tour and subsequently signed a deal with Capitol Records. Two years later, 5 Seconds of Summer released its eponymous debut album, which topped the charts in multiple countries across the globe. A world tour was followed by a live concert album release.

5 Seconds of Summer’s second full-length album, “Sounds Good Feels Good,” reached No. 1 in the U.K., U.S. and Australia on the day of its 2015 release. And then 2018 brought another No. 1 album, “Youngblood.” A year later, the band announced plans for its next album, which could be released in 2019 or 2020.

New Edition: $80 Million

  • Ronnie DeVoe: $15 million
  • Bobby Brown: $2 million
  • Ricky Bell: $15 million
  • Ralph Tresvant: $8 million
  • Michael Bivins: $40 million

New Edition didn’t spark the interest of any major labels at the onset of its career in 1983, but once the group released its smash-hit single “Candy Girl,” industry heavyweights began to take an interest. Two more hits —”Is This the End?” and “Popcorn Love” — appeared on the group’s debut album, also titled “Candy Girl.” And with that, MCA offered the boy band a deal.

After signing with MCA in 1984, New Edition produced two smash hits from its second album: “Cool it Now” and “Mr. Telephone Man.” In 1985, the group released a third album, “All for Love,” and picked up an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola. More albums and hits followed until the group began to splinter and ended up with just three members: Bell, Bivens and DeVoe, who went on to form Bell Biv DeVoe.

In the mid-1990s, New Edition came back together for a reunion. The band released another No. 1 album, “Home Again,” that included the chart-topping single “Hit Me Off.” After a blockbuster tour, the group once again disbanded.

More recently, a planned 2018 reunion tour was later abandoned due to trademark issues.

The Jonas Brothers: $75 Million

  • Nick Jonas: $25 million
  • Joe Jonas: $25 million
  • Kevin Jonas: $25 million

The Jonas Brothers’ 2006 debut album wasn’t a big seller, prompting Columbia to drop the group from its label. Early the following year, however, things improved. The Jonas Brothers signed with Disney-owned Hollywood Records and released a successful second album, “Jonas Brothers,” that was supported by appearances on Disney shows and sold-out American tours.

The brothers earned even more money from their reality TV show “Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream,” two movies — “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2” — and a live concert film. Two of their first four albums were chart-toppers and three went platinum.

The trio officially split in 2013 but released a surprise single in early 2019, “Sucker,” which debuted at the top of the Billboard 100. The Jonas Brothers then released a new album, “Happiness Begins,” in June 2019.

 

 

Bell Biv DeVoe: $70 Million

  • Ronnie DeVoe: $15 million
  • Ricky Bell: $15 million
  • Michael Bivins: $40 million

Bell Biv DeVoe was formed from the ashes of New Edition and soon rose like a phoenix in the music world. In 1990, the trio released its powerhouse debut album, “Poison,” which contained four chart-topping singles and sold more than 4 million copies.

In 1993, Bell Biv DeVoe experienced success again with the release of its gold-certified album, “Hootie Mack.” The band briefly rejoined the other members of New Edition in 1996 and recorded a multiplatinum reunion album, “Home Again,” before everyone returned to their other pursuits.

Following the release of “BBD” in 2002, Bell Biv Devoe began splitting its time more evenly between professional and personal obligations. However, the band is still going strong today with no plans to quit.

 

Hanson: $60 Million

  • Taylor Hanson: $20 million
  • Zac Hanson: $20 million
  • Isaac Hanson: $20 million

Bubblegum pop group Hanson hit paydirt in 1997 with its No. 1 hit “MMMBop,” a song that helped sell more than 12 million copies of the band’s debut major-label album. Before that, the band had produced two independent albums.

The trio earned additional money through tours, public appearances, movie and TV cameos, a live-concert film, a record label and a documentary production.

 

The Monkees: Estimated at $59 Million

  • Davy Jones: $5 million; deceased
  • Michael Nesmith: $50 million
  • Mickey Dolenz: Unknown
  • Peter Tork: $4 million; deceased

The Monkees didn’t get its start in the usual way of forming a group, playing gigs and making records. Instead, the individual members were recruited and cast in a sitcom series about a rock band, which lasted for two seasons. The show debuted in 1966 and was an instant hit — as were songs like “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” — causing Monkees merchandise to stream into the marketplace.

The band followed with live shows and then album releases, with its third album, “Headquarters,” rising to No. 1 on the charts in 1967. The Monkees’ fourth album, released later that year, was titled “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.”

Several more albums followed, as well as a feature film, before the band called it quits in 1970.

BTS: Estimated at $52 Million

  • Suga: $8 million
  • J-Hope: $12 million
  • RM aka Rap Monster: $8 million
  • Jimin: $8 million
  • V: $8 million
  • JungKook: $8 million
  • Jinn: Unknown

BTS, the name of the seven-member South Korean boy band, is an acronym for a Korean phrase that translates to “bulletproof boy scouts” in English. The group, which sings and raps in both English and Korean, released its first single, “No More Dream,” in June 2013. BTS soon skyrocketed to global stardom.

A large portion of the band’s net worth can be attributed to earnings from tours related to its “Love Yourself” album trilogy, including the Love Yourself World Tour and the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself Stadium Tour Extension, which has netted the band millions. Music sales from the “Love Yourself” album trilogy as well as BTS’ most recent album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” have also added to the band’s bottom line. And then endorsement deals with Coca-Cola and Hyundai have helped BTS rake in even more millions.

The Wanted: $40 Million

  • Max George: $8 million
  • Siva Kaneswaran: $8 million
  • Jay McGuiness: $8 million
  • Tom Parker: $8 million
  • Nathan Sykes: $8 million

Formed at a time when One Direction was experiencing success, The Wanted topped the charts in the U.K. with the release of their single “All Time Low” in 2010. A couple of months later the band released its debut album, “The Wanted,” which debuted at No. 4 on the U.K. charts. In 2011, the band released its second album, “Battleground,” and also signed a contract with Def Jam Records.

To gain entry into the U.S. music scene, The Wanted released a self-titled compilation album with previous hits and some new songs. A third album, “Word of Mouth,” was released in 2013. That album topped the U.K. charts and kicked off a world tour that lasted into 2014. Soon after, the band announced it was taking a break and then officially broke up.

 

 

98 Degrees: $35 Million

  • Nick Lachey: $20 million
  • Drew Lachey: $8 million
  • Jeff Timmons: $5 million
  • Justin Jeffre: $2 million

After a stint as one of the top boy bands of the 1990s, 98 Degrees took a hiatus for about a decade from 2002 to 2012 and then got right back in the game. In 2012, the members reunited and even toured with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block.

During its peak from 1997 to 2000, 98 Degrees racked up six Top 20 hits, including “Invisible Man,” “Because of You” and “The Hardest Thing.” Two of its albums rose to the top two, with one achieving gold status and the other quadruple platinum.

Although the band’s current success can’t match the early days, its members are still making bank with merchandise sales and tour dates.

Big Time Rush: $34 Million

  • Kendall Schmidt: $12 million
  • James Maslow: $6 million
  • Carlos PenaVega: $6 million
  • Logan Henderson: $10 million

If you’ve heard of Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush” then you know its namesake band. What started out as a role in a TV series that launched in 2009 eventually helped the band stand on its own. Big Time Rush performed for a year after the hit Nick series ended.

During its career, the band released three albums and one feature film. In 2019, band members PenaVega and Schmidt reunited to make a video of an acoustic version of their previous hit “Boyfriend.” When diehard fans viewed it, they couldn’t help but speculate about the possibility of a future reunion of the band.

B2K: $17.5 Million

  • Omarion: $12 million
  • Lil Fizz: $2 million
  • J-Boog: $2 million
  • Raz-B: $1.5 million

For a band that was only active from 2001 to 2004, B2K racked up some major credibility. Its 2001 debut single, “Uh Huh,” reached the Top 40. Another single — “Gots ta Be,” which was released the next year — did the same thing. The result was that the corresponding debut album, “B2K,” achieved gold sales status. In 2002, B2K also released a second album, “Pandemonium,” which ended up going platinum, largely due to the chart-topping single “Bump, Bump, Bump.” In early 2004, the band called it quits.

Dream Street: Estimated at $9 Million

  • Jesse McCartney: $9 million
  • Greg Raposo: Unknown
  • Christopher Trousdale: Unknown
  • Frankie Galasso: Unknown
  • Matt Ballinger: Unknown

Dream Street, formed in 1999, quickly gained popularity with Radio Disney listeners and also notched promotional gigs from brands such as Kraft and Kellogg’s.

Dream Street’s self-titled album debuted in 2001 and was certified gold. In 2002, however, the band broke up due to the members’ parents suing the band’s founders for exposing their boys to alcohol, inappropriate female relationships and pornographic material.

Blackstreet: Estimated at $6 Million

  • Teddy Riley: $3 million
  • Chauncey Hannibal: Unknown
  • Dave Hollister: $3 million
  • Levi Little: Unknown
  • Eric Williams: Unknown
  • Mark Middleton: Unknown
  • Terrell Phillips: Unknown

Even though you might not have heard of Blackstreet, it was one of the top R&B ’90s bands. Its debut album, “Blackstreet,” went platinum, while a follow-up album, “Another Level,” sold 4 million copies. With hundreds of sold-out shows to its credit, the group — not with all the original members — still continues to perform today.

 

 

O-Town: Estimated at $1 Million

  • Ashley Parker Angel: $1 million
  • Erik-Michael Estrada: Unknown
  • Jacob Underwood: Unknown
  • Trevor Penick: Unknown

O-Town was originally formed in 2000 for ABC’s reality show “Making the Band,” which tracked the creation of a boy band from the first audition to inking a record deal.

By the end of the show’s first season, O-Town had amassed a fan base. In 2001, it released its debut album “O-Town,” which produced two top-10 hits and sold more than 3 million copies.

The band’s second album, “O2,” was released in 2002 but didn’t match the success of the first album. The following year the band lost its record contract and broke up.

In 2013, all band members except Ashley Parker Angel reunited and released the album “Lines & Circles” for an independent label.

5ive: Net Worth Unknown

  • Scott Robinson: Unknown
  • Sean Conlon: Unknown
  • Rich Neville: Unknown
  • Jason Brown: Unknown
  • Richard Breen: Unknown

If you were boy-band crazy in the 1990s, you might have found yourself tuning into this British boy band, whose hits included “When the Lights Go Out” and “Everybody Get Up.”

5ive had all the makings of success, especially since it was backed by the same management team that handled the Spice Girls. The band was formed in the late 1990s, disbanded in 2001 and got back together in 2012. Today it continues to tour throughout the U.K.

All-4-One: Net Worth Unknown

  • Tony Borowiak: Unknown
  • Jamie Jones: Unknown
  • Delious Kennedy: Unknown
  • Alfred Nevarez: Unknown

Even though All-4-One is still touring 25 years after forming, its greatest success came early. The group, which got its start in 1993, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 with its cover of the song “So Much in Love.” Another cover, “I Swear,” topped the charts and went platinum. The self-titled album these songs appeared on gained multiplatinum status.

In 1995, the group had its third and last chart-topping hit with “I Can Love You Like That.” As a result, the corresponding album, “The Music Speaks,” also went platinum.

 

Jagged Edge: Net Worth Unknown

  • Brandon Casey: Unknown
  • Brian Casey: Unknown
  • Kyle Norman: Unknown
  • Richard Wingo: Unknown

R&B group Jagged Edge is still together and touring more than 20 years after it formed. The band got its start in 1997 when it released “The Way That You Talk,” which made the pop charts and reached the Top 40 on the R&B charts. The band’s 1998 debut album, “A Jagged Era,” went gold, driven by the Top 40 hit “Gotta Be.”

The band’s next album, “J.E. Heartbreak,” hit the Top 10 pop chart and sold more than 2 million copies. The third album, “Jagged Little Thrill,” reached platinum status in 2001, while the fourth album, “Hard,” went gold in 2003. A fifth album, “Jagged Edge,” arrived in 2006 and also went gold.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Richest Boy Bands: From the Beatles to BTS