Throughout his career, The Weeknd has been unafraid to try new things and take creative risks, and they have all paid off beautifully. He got his start by completely revolutionizing R&B, taking it to a dark and sparse place. Then he brought his signature sound to the masses, singing about heartbreak, loneliness, and even substance use in a way nobody before him had. After he succeeded with that sound, he switched things up again and rose to new heights by incorporating electro-pop into his work, and now he’s one of the biggest stars on the planet.
In the decade-plus since he released his first mixtapes, The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has gone from sharing a tiny apartment with friends to being one of the richest musicians in the industry. His album Dawn FM and singles like “Take My Breath,” “Sacrifice,” and “Out of Time” all earned warm welcomes upon their arrival. The artist also embarked on a tour in 2022, which stopped in only 16 U.S. cities.
Up next for The Weeknd is his HBO show The Idol, starring himself and Lily-Rose Depp. He teamed up with Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson for the project, calling it “the sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood.” Despite the show, which premiered on June 4, only receiving a 31% Tomato-Meter score on Rotten Tomatoes and debuting to a lower-than-average audience, it’s likely he will make some bank from the show.
He will also be embarking on the European and South American legs of his After Hours tour in June. Read on to learn how much The Weeknd is worth and how he makes all his many millions of dollars.
8 Ways The Weeknd Makes His Millions
The Weeknd is one of a relatively small number of artists who claim net worths into the hundreds of millions of dollars who have seemingly made the bulk of their cash from their music. A little more than a decade into his time as a global figure, the hitmaker already has a discography full of successful albums and major singles, all of which have earned him a lot of money.
Throughout the years, The Weeknd has scored half a dozen No. 1 singles on the Hot 100 in America, with another eight tunes breaking into the top 10. So far, he has sent 91 different songs to the Hot 100 songs chart. Looking at the albums chart, the Billboard 200, it’s clear he succeeds both with individual tunes and full collections. Four titles by the songwriter and singer have reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Billboard’s albums chart, while just as many more have broken into the top 10.
In the U.S. alone, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reports that The Weeknd has shifted 111 million singles. Included in that sum are three diamond-certified smashes, “The Hills,” “Starboy,” and “Blinding Lights,” which have all moved at least 10 million equivalent copies in America. The Weeknd has also reached 17.5 million certified album shipments. Globally, his numbers could be twice as high as his U.S.-only totals.
The Weeknd is a four-time Grammy winner and a 13-time nominee. After being snubbed at the 2021 ceremony, he promised he would block his record label from submitting his work, as he no longer valued the award ceremony. Despite that fact, he was nominated for a trio of prizes at the 2022 show, including a pair of chances to win Album of the Year as a featured artist. He is also a one-time Emmy and Oscar nominee, though he hasn't yet claimed either of those trophies.
The Weeknd has headlined at least half a dozen of his own tours, and while complete ticket grosses aren’t available (especially for his first several endeavors), he has racked up at least $100 million in sales on the road by now. As an opening act supporting stars like Florence + the Machine, Drake, and Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd has had a hand in bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales. He is also a pioneer in the streaming age, banking his billions of streaming numbers into touring advances starting at $75 million.
The Weeknd was one of many artists who had to cancel his most recent tour due to the global lockdown. He rescheduled it for 2022, and now he’ll be promoting two albums, After Hours and Dawn FM. The After Hours til Dawn stadium trek was estimated to earn him as much as $1.2 to $1.4 million per show. It is reported that four of the tour’s dates — at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, Chicago’s Soldier Field, Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland — gained $30 million from over 190,000 tickets in the sold-out venues. His Sept. 2 stop at SoFi Stadium was reported to have taken in more than $11 million in ticket sales as well. With his international dates on the horizon, he’s bring in even more money overseas.
Less than one month before Coachella 2022 was set to begin, headliner Kanye West dropped out. He had threatened to do so after he felt fellow headline performer Billie Eilish shaded his friend Travis Scott, and while the rapper didn’t admit publicly that he backed out because of the riff, his absence still left a huge slot that needed to be filled. The Weeknd and his collaborators Swedish House Mafia secured the spot, but the Canadian R&B/pop star reportedly threatened to back out, as Goldenvoice, the company behind the show, offered him less money than West. After what appears to have been tough negotiations, The Weeknd was offered the full $8 million paycheck (and half a million in production fees) for his two-weekend commitment.
For fans who didn’t get to see him on his tour, The Weeknd: Live at SoFi Stadium special premiered on HBO Max on Feb. 25. The concert special was recorded during the LA dates of his tour at SoFi Stadium and edited into a 95-minute film.
As his career was just beginning, The Weeknd co-founded XO Records alongside his close collaborators Wassim Slaiby, Amir Esmailian, and La Mar Taylor. Now a decade into its tenure as a working label, the company operates as a subsidiary of Universal Music Group and works closely with Republic Records. In addition to releasing music from its most popular signee (and owner), fellow artists like Belly and Nav are also included on its roster. The Weeknd likely makes some money from all of the label’s activities, though what he takes home is impossible to know.
In 2019, The Weeknd signed on as a partial owner of OverActive Media Group, a Canadian esports company. The firm runs several esports teams in the U.S. and Canada, and while the musician’s investment and earnings aren’t public, that industry is expected to continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years.
4. Endorsements & Brand Partnerships
Along with Drake, The Weeknd was one of a very small number of musicians who linked themselves to Apple Music from the very beginning, helping the tech giant launch its streaming service more than half a decade ago. At the time, he starred in TV commercials, and later on, he created his own radio show called Memento Mori. What he made from the deal wasn’t shared by either party, but Apple is known to pay very handsomely (the firm paid Drake $19 million). His continued involvement suggests that the money must be good.
The Weeknd has made a habit out of working with brands in ways that help him make his latest albums or songs even bigger, which is a very smart way of partnering with companies and getting more out of these deals. In 2021, The Weeknd teamed up with Dolby to create a visual experience that promoted his then-new single “Take My Breath,” making it a special viewing for super fans. Back in 2019, Mercedes Benz paid the singer to include both him and his single “Blinding Lights” in a commercial. At the time, the track hadn’t even been released, so nobody knew how big it would go on to become.
After the incredible global success, The Weeknd enjoyed with his album Starboy, he kept the era going by partnering with Marvel to turn the title into a comic book. For his earlier full-length Beauty Behind the Madness, the Canadian superstar worked with Pax to launch a limited edition vape with his label’s logo printed on the item. It also played his single “The Hills” when it’s turned on. The product was priced at $325, but fans didn’t seem to mind.
In the fall of 2022, The Weeknd partnered with Universal Studios to bring a custom haunted house inspired by his After Hours album to the iconic Halloween Horror Nights. The event ran through September and October 2022 and tickets ranged from $74 to $105 depending on the day of the week. How much the artist took home from the experience is unclear.
After making XO Records a successful label, The Weeknd pushed the name into new territory, and the crooner has launched several lines of merchandise throughout the years. Sometimes he sticks to a specific era of his music, while in other instances, it’s just about the XO brand. With the latter, The Weeknd often teams up with well-known clothiers, and he’s surely made quite a bit of money from all of this selling.
The Weeknd has launched capsule collections or longer-running merchandise ventures with companies like A Bathing Ape, Alexander Wang, Futura, Puma, and H&M, with the last collaboration ending in scandal due to a racist gaffe made by the Swedish fast-fashion retailer.
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a new online phenomenon, and it seemed like the trend appeared out of nowhere and then exploded in popularity. Millions of people have spent money to “own” these units on the blockchain, and The Weeknd was one of the first major stars to jump into the business. Because he got in very early, he was able to make some serious cash off of the burgeoning technology. In mid-2021, he launched an NFT collection that included audio-visual items, traditional artworks, and even an unreleased song. In one 24-hour auction, he earned $2 million, making him one of the biggest winners in the NFT field.
7. TV & Film
While he may be one of the most famous entertainers in the world, The Weeknd actually has very little experience in the film and TV industries. That’s surprising, considering he is a former Emmy and Oscar nominee. He appeared as himself in both the movie Uncut Gems and the programs The Simpsons and American Dad, but those turned out to be just the beginning for the musician.
In late 2021, HBO Max revealed it had snapped up an upcoming series titled The Idol, which was co-created, produced, co-written by, and set to star The Weeknd. The show is apparently “set against the backdrop of the music industry, centers on a self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult, who develops a complicated relationship with an up-and-coming pop idol,” according to a statement made public about the to-be-released program, which was created alongside Euphoria visionary Sam Levinson.
The show, which had an initial version that reportedly cost $75 million to make, was expected to make its premiere in the fall of 2022 but ultimately premiered in June 2023. It raked in less than one million viewers for its premiere with mixed reactions.
8. Real Estate
In 2017, The Weeknd dropped $18.2 million on a home in Hidden Hills, CA. Just four years later, he sold the same property to Madonna for $19.3 million, making $900,000 in the process. In 2022 he put his even-more-expensive penthouse apartment in LA on the market for $22.5 million after purchasing it for $21 million in 2019. If it goes for that price, the artist will earn $1.5 million from the sale. Of course, these estimates don’t include any money he put into these properties.
The Grammy winner no longer needs either residence, as he found his dream location in LA, which he bought in mid-2021. The star spent $70 million on a mansion in Bel-Air that features 33,000 square feet of living space. Not too shabby for someone who got their start in a tiny apartment in Toronto.
What Is The Weeknd’s Net Worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, The Weeknd is worth $300 million. According to Forbes, the R&B and pop powerhouse earned $92 million between 2016 and 2017, and then another $40 million between 2018 and 2019. With more projects and tour dates on the way, his wealth is bound to grow.
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