Luke Bryan beats Garth Brooks to become country music’s biggest earner


Garth Brooks has been raking in the cash since coming out of retirement and hitting the road in 2014, landing at the top of highest-paid country stars lists for three consecutive years. He couldn’t maintain the streak in 2018, however, as Luke Bryansailed past him to claim his spot as country’s top earner for the year.

According to Forbes, Bryan earned some $52 million in the past year through a combination of several revenue streams. His What Makes You Country Tour, which has played in several stadiums in 2018, is a major cash cow, but Bryan also enjoyed other earnings from his first year serving as a judge on the rebooted “American Idol” and through an endorsement deal with Chevrolet.

That puts him a few paces ahead of Brooks, whose $45.5 million earnings are down somewhat from last year’s $60 million total as his marathon world tour hits pause.

Bryan and Brooks beat out Kenny Chesney, whose Trip Around the Sun Tour is about midway through, along with Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band and the only woman in the top 10, Dolly Parton.

Forbes also points out that the $304 million total for the top 10 is a considerable decrease from last year, but that may coincide more with some of the artists — Brooks, in particular — touring less in 2018.