Whoever said popular music was dead may need to take another look at the matter.
Vanity Fair just released its 2013 "New Establishment" list of powerful influencers and innovators, and guess who ranked No. 1 on the list? It wasn't New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bob Iger of the Walt Disney Company, or New York Times editor Jill Abramson (though they ranked second, fourth and eighth, respectively.) Instead, Vanity Fair placed Beyonce and Jay Z at the top of their list, and here's why.
First, the pair are far from suffering financially or in popularity. Forbes recently estimated their combined net earnings of the last year to be over $95 million, a full $15 and $45 million more than the next two power couples on the list.
On her own, Beyonce also ranked No. 2 on Forbes' list of the top 100 Powerful Musicians of 2013, after Lady Gaga and before Madonna. (They also mentioned the diva earned more than her mega-star husband -- and just a year after giving birth to their daughter.) Her world tour, The Mrs. Carter Show, reportedly brought in $1.4 million a night, while Jay Z's newest album, "Magna Carta," went platinum even before it was released.
All this could of course be a fluke particular to the beloved Mr. Carter and Queen Bey, but industry trends would suggest otherwise. Contrary to popular belief, which might have you believe the music industry has suffered in recent decades due to file sharing, streaming, and piracy, the London School of Economics has released two reports in recent years, including one this past weekend, which revealed the opposite. The report references a study outlined in Torrent Freak which shows that digital pirates actually spend more money on legal purchases than non-pirates, turning that whole argument on its head.
The report included the following graphic, which reflects what we're seeing in the case of Beyonce's high-grossing tour and Jay Z's Samsung mobile deal: