Adele Becomes Britain’s Wealthiest Female Musician

Entertainment Expert Says Singer’s Success Will Be Thanks To Good Deal

21.04.2016

Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

A legal expert at Thomas Eggar has said Adele’s success is down to making good deals with her record label and music publishing company, after she was confirmed as Britain’s wealthiest female musician and became one of just two under-30s on a Sunday Times Rich List.

The singer songwriter, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, has more than doubled her earnings since last year, from £35m to £85m, following a comeback album and tour.

The 27-year-old, raised in Tottenham, North London, ranked at number 30 on this year’s musical rich list, with 25-year-old Ed Sheeran entering at number 49 with £45m.

The only female singer with a bigger fortune on the list - which also covers Ireland - is Irishwoman Enya on £91m.

The list is dominated by older male musicians, with Sir Paul McCartney at number one with £760m and U2, Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger in the top five.

Adele, who topped the under 30s music Rich List, beat veteran musician Sir Cliff Richard, Take That’s Gary Barlow, The Rolling Stone’s Ronnie Wood and Kylie Minogue after a successful and lucrative year of touring.

The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology graduate made her debut on the under-30s list in 2011 in ninth place, behind stars such as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Katherine Jenkins.

The world famous singer and mother-of-one Adele was given a recording contract by XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo on Myspace in 2006 after she graduated. 

In 2007, she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" award and won the BBC Sound of 2008 poll. Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to commercial and critical success. It is certified seven times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. 

Ian Coxon, who has edited the Sunday Times Rich List for 20 years, said he expected Adele's fortune to continue to grow.

"Adele is only 27 so I would see her getting in the main list of the richest 1,000 in a couple of years - she is only £15 to £20 million away now," he said. 

Media and Entertainment expert Aurelia Butler-Ball a solicitor at law firm Thomas Eggar, part of the Irwin Mitchell Group, said Adele’s meteoric success over the last decade was likely thanks to a good deal made with her record label XL Recordings and publishing company Universal.  

“The key to financial success in the music industry is getting deals with record labels and publishing companies, right. In Adele’s case, its likely good royalty rates were negotiated and any share of her live income was kept to an absolute minimum. 

“The whole music industry is being squeezed due to changing consumer habits, reduced CD sales and plummeting downloads, alongside the rapid increase of streaming services such as Spotify and digital platforms such as YouTube.

“Adele’s fans still buy CD’s  which she will be gaining good royalties from but income from streaming services and digital platforms is much lower. Also, record labels provide little transparency over what income they actually get from these services so it is impossible for artists to challenge what royalties they are getting paid from these sources. So with the music industry evolving so rapidly, technology changing and an unclear future, could incredibly wealthy recording artists like Adele be a dying breed? 

“The entertainment industry is a fickle beast where artists can never be sure how long their success will last so it is vital that stars like Adele are sensible with their earnings and plan for the future with pensions and investments which will ensure they are able to live comfortably when their career comes to an end. Future planning is key and even the band Oasis said that getting a pension when they first started out was the best thing they ever did.

“The best advice is to ensure you get a good deal with your record label, and when you get those earnings – spend them wisely, plan for the future, because in such a rapidly changing industry, no one knows what the future holds.”