By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Even after his passing, millions continue to listen to his music — on the radio, on the TV, on their phones.

So, what does that mean for his estate? And, how does it compare to other legacy artists? Good Question.

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According to Forbes, Prince’s estate made $12 million in the time period of October 2018 through 2019. Much of that was due to selling more than 300,000 albums and half a billion streams.

“With a stream, we’re talking about fractions of a penny,” says Blake Iverson, an entertainment attorney. “That’s a very small amount of money per stream, but a popular artist is going to have millions and millions in stream, so the money adds up.”

Prince’s 2019 earnings are a fraction of what music’s biggest touring stars are making now. In 2019, Taylor Swift brought in $185 million.

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But, those earnings are enough to put Prince at ninth of Forbes’ list of top-earning legacy artists.

Michael Jackson is first and has been for the last six years. His estate brought in $60 million. He’s followed by Elvis Presley’s $39 million and Charles Schulz’s $38 million.

After that, the list includes golfer Arnold Palmer ($30M), Bob Marley ($20M), Dr. Seuss ($19M), John Lennon ($14M), Marilyn Monroe ($13M) and Nipsey Hussle ($11M).

“The money available to an artist is in many pools,” Iverson says.

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He says the likeness, merchandising and licenses of songs for a movie, television show or commercial also bring in money.

Heather Brown