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Dr. Dre headphone empire puts him at top of highest paid musicians in 2012

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  • Dr. Dre, born Andre Romelle Young, 47, topped Forbes' list of highest paid musicians this year with earnings of $110 million
  • His high earnings were largely due to the success of his luxury headphone line, ‘Beats By Dr. Dre'

By Damian Ghigliotty

PUBLISHED: 21:34 EST, 30 November 2012 | UPDATED: 23:23 EST, 30 November 2012

Move over Bono, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, and several other celebrities that one might expect to be named the highest paid musician this year.

Rockstar-status hip-hop producer Dr. Dre landed the number one spot on Forbes‘ 2012 list of top earners in the music business.

The other four big earners were Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Elton John, U2 and British boy band Take That. MailOnline’s personal favourite, Justin Beiber, 18, just made into the top ten, tying with Toby Keith.

Made man: Dr. Dre tops this year's list of the highest earners in the music biz

Made man: Dr. Dre tops this year's list of the highest earners in the music biz

Made man: Dre's big earnings in 2012 are largely due to the success of his self-titled headphone brand

Made man: Dre's big earnings in 2012 are largely due to the success of his self-titled headphone brand

Dre, 47, a former member of the controversial rap group NWA and Eminem’s primary mentor, came in first this year with earnings of $110 million (£68.7 million), largely due to the success of his luxury headphone line, ‘Beats By Dr. Dre.’

The Compton California native, born Andre Romelle Young, and Interscope Geffen A&M Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine started the company Beats Electronics in 2006 and debuted the highly profitable headphone line in 2008. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.

Hi-fi wire company Monster was granted exclusive rights under a 5-year contract to manufacture and develop the Dre-branded headphones.

‘The brands are so aligned, Dre and Beats, it’s just who he is,’ Kevin Liles, former president of Def Jam Recordings, told Forbes.

Dre co-founded the record label Death Row Records in 1991 with Marion ‘Suge’ Knight Jr. and then left Death Row in 1996 to establish his own label, Aftermath Entertainment. He signed Eminem two years later.

Dre has released two solo albums throughout his music career and has produced beats for dozens of artists, including Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Toni Braxton, Kendrick Lamar and Rakim.

We're not in Compton anymore: A 'Beats by Dr. Dre' celebration party for the launch of the Lil Wayne Edition Pro headphones in Hollywood, California on September 6, 2012

We're not in Compton anymore: A 'Beats by Dr. Dre' celebration party for the launch of the Lil Wayne Edition Pro headphones in Hollywood, California on September 6, 2012

New addition: Luke Wood, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre launch the wireless Beats by Dr. Dre Pill at the Beats Store in Soho, NY on October 16, 2012 in New York City

New addition: Luke Wood, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre launch the wireless Beats by Dr. Dre Pill at the Beats Store in Soho, NY on October 16, 2012 in New York City

Dre was the only U.S. native among the top five earners in 2012.

The Irish rock group U2 led Forbes list of the richest in the music business in 2011 with $195 million (£121.8 million) and in 2010 with $130 million (£81.2).

Forbes’ estimates were based on total earnings from May 2011 to May 2012, including the amount of money each artist and band made from record sales, touring, endorsements, merchandise sales and other ventures before subtracting management fees, legal costs and taxes.

Knocked down a notch: U2 came in second place on Forbes' list for the first time since 2009

Knocked down a notch: U2 came in second place on Forbes' list for the first time since 2009

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