The King of Pop still reigns from beyond the grave.
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Forbes says streams of Jackson's music spiked to 2.1 billion this year, up from 1.8 billion in 2018, despite the highly publicized HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland" release in March and put the spotlight back on the child sex abuse scandal that rocked Jackson's last years of life. Several of the pop stars’ albums re-entered UK charts this year following its release, and more than 22 million users listen to him on Spotify each month. A musical about Jackson's life will debut on Broadway next summer as well.
Elvis Presley, who died of a heart attack in 1977, ranks second after generating $39 million in the past year, with a bulk of his income coming from the more than half a million fans who his Tennessee estate Graceland annually.
Charles Schulz, the creator of the beloved comic franchise “Peanuts,” ranks third on the list, earning $38 million from “Peanuts” and a soon-to-expire licensing deal with Met Life insurance.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer takes the fourth spot in the rankings thanks to partnerships with MasterCard, Rolex, and the Arizona beverage bearing his name which poured in $30 million this year.
Bob Marley, at $20 million, comes in at number five. One of the pioneers of Reggae music, the Jamaican singer’s songs remain extremely popular on streaming platforms. Marley’s branded music accessory line adds more cash to the pile.
The following celebrities round out the top 10:
6: Dr. Seuss, $19 million.
7: John Lennon, $14 million.
8: Marilyn Monroe, $13 million.
9: Prince, $12 million.
10: Nipsey Hussle, $11 million
Nipsey Hussle is a notable addition to the list. The young rapper and entrepreneur was gunned down in March 2019 and had not come close to reaching the same global recognition as the other names on the list. However, Forbes says he retained the rights to his music, turning 1.85 billion streams into a posthumous victory lap.