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U2 Tops Magazine’s 2001 Music Industry Earners Thu Jun 13, 4:13 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – While U2 singer Bono is campaigning for Third World debt relief, his rock band topped Rolling Stone magazine’s list of top-earning music stars last year.

The Irish quartet took home $61.9 million from touring, recording and publishing (i.e. copyright royalties), ahead of rap mogul Dr. Dre, the Beatles, the Dave Matthews Band and Madonna ( news – web sites). The top 50 earners are contained in the magazine’s next issue, due on stands Friday.

While admitting that calculating the earnings of famous people involves some guesswork, the magazine said it compiled the numbers through conversations with music industry insiders, such as managers, label executives, agents, lawyers and publicists. The figures are “net” — what’s left after expenses, fees and label deductions.

Most of U2’s income came from its successful “Elevation” tour of North America and Europe, with album sales and publishing providing some very rich icing, the magazine said.

Gangsta rap pioneer Dr. Dre (born Andre Young), who signed hit rapper Eminem ( news – web sites) to his Aftermath label, followed at No. 2 with net income of $51.9 million. The magazine noted that Young received a reported $35 million payment when Vivendi Universal SA’s Interscope Records boosted its Aftermath stake to 80 percent from 50 percent.

More than 30 years after they broke up, the Beatles came in at No. 3 with $47.9 million in net income, thanks mostly to sales of their worldwide hits album “1.” On the other hand, the Dave Matthews Band had to work for its No. 4 slot. It netted $43.4 million, most of it coming from touring.

Madonna, who also toured last year, ranked No. 5 with $40.8 million, driven by a reported $20 million to $30 million recording advance from a contract renegotiation with AOL Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Music Group, Rolling Stone said.

Rounding out the top 10: rap mogul Master P. at No. 6 with $36 million; veteran guitarist Carlos Santana at No. 7 with $32.7 million; boy-band ‘N Sync ( news – web sites) at No. 8 with $26.5 million; rock band Aerosmith ( news – web sites) at No. 9 with $24.2 million; and pop singer Sting at No. 10 with $24 million.