Beyonce or Rihanna: Which Icon Is Worth More?

Deciding who the real queen of the music industry is today is turning more into a subjective question if ultimately a battle of riches over the content. If you can argue the music industry has become more of a contest over who has the highest net worth over the quality of material, it might seem like a dead heat between Beyoncé and Rihanna.

We’ve reported here before on whether they’re friends and if they respect their respective artistry. It appears they do from a distance. Many still wonder if they secretly compete with each another on their own net worth.

Which one ultimately comes out on top? The answer has already surprised many in the music industry and beyond.

Beyoncé is making millions from music

Beyonce
Beyonce | Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Entertainment

We’re all used to thinking of Beyoncé being at the top of the music heap and seemingly impossible to topple. This held true for ages, even back to her earlier days when she had to bring a wheelbarrow to haul away her Grammys.

Her personal and professional hookup with Jay-Z made her all the more powerful, including in total net worth. Together, they more than exceed $1 billion as a duo. Individually, it’s a different story: According to Business Insider, while Jay-Z is a personal billionaire now, Bey has a net worth of $355 million as of this year.

As with Jay-Z, not all of Beyoncé’s wealth comes entirely from the music industry. Thanks to her own business investments in a gym wear line, plus a meal delivery service for vegans, she can consider herself a well-rounded businesswoman.

How Rihanna is growing her net worth

Indeed, we’ve all loved Rihanna’s hit singles and albums for the last decade, even if nobody would have thought it was dominant enough to overcome other icons. What nobody noticed was that Rihanna was nurturing other business interests beyond the music industry.

Those of you not paying attention may be surprised to learn Rihanna managed to do the same thing at a compelling level. At the age of only 31, she’s ended up with a net worth of $600 million this year. With this total, she’s superseded Bey, plus Madonna, and even Céline Dion.

Rihanna now has the designation as the wealthiest woman in music. If a majority of that income is from her other businesses, though, how much is really from selling music?

Has Beyoncé made more money in music than Rihanna?

You’ll have to apply a lot of fractional math to figure how much money Beyoncé and Rihanna make from album/single/streaming sales, respectively. Much of that is also speculation since there aren’t any balance sheets publicly available to sort it out.

The only clues available are how much stake they both have in other businesses. Considering Rihanna invested heavily in founding Fenty Beauty, a good majority of her net worth probably comes from this the last few years. Fenty has already been a major innovator in their beauty products, and they’re soon going to expand into the world of fashion.

Before long, Rihanna may have to be placed in a separate category on her earnings rather than music. Not that her fans don’t continually argue she’s realistically selling more in music than Beyoncé is currently.

Let the debates commence on who really sells more music. One fact no one can deny is Beyoncé definitely has more Grammys (and nominations), a major check mark for true musical legacy over bank account padding.