WHITNEY HOUSTON: $9.5 million
Whitney Elizabeth Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artiste of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide.
The $7 million sale this May of half her estate, along with the success of the Kygo remix of her “Higher Love” cover—which has already clocked over 175 million Spotify spins—paved the way for Houston’s debut on the Forbes list.
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Primary Wave’s infusion provides the bulk of Houston’s estimated earnings of $9.5 million over the past 12 months, launching the songstress to the list of highest-paid dead celebrities for the first time in her afterlife. And “Higher Love” has a great deal to do with the rest.
Boosted by over 175 million Spotify spins, Houston clocked nearly 800 million streams in the U.S. over the past 12 months, up from just over 500 million in the year prior.