The music industry is vastly different than what it used to be in the '80s and '90s and early 2000s. Gone are the days where artists can subsist on record sales alone — those metrics have been replaced with Spotify streams. If you're a musician and you're not selling merchandise on your website and looking at alternative ways of earning income, then you're shooting yourself in the foot.
But in the days of Rick Astley, you could amass a sizable net worth on record sales, but is that the only way he makes his money?
Rick Astley's net worth is $16 million.
Everyone knows Rick Astley as the "deep-voiced Ginger dude" whose "Never Gonna Give You Up" is used to troll people all over the web since... well... streaming video became available.
It was probably the most-watched video on YouTube at one point and everyone and their grandma was hiding links in emails or chat conversations to "Rick Roll" their unsuspecting colleagues.
It had gotten to a point in college where it was so bad that my friends and I had memorized the URLs of the most popular Rick-Roll clips to ensure we wouldn't fall victim to the gag. We'd even print out clips from the music video along with lyrics and slide them underneath each other's dorm rooms, drop them on one another's heads when we were in bathroom stalls... it was... yeah.
And while I'm old enough to remember "Never Gonna Give You Up" as a song that was legitimately played on the radio because people enjoyed it and not as part of some strange internet joke where, years later, people still couldn't get over the fact that a dude who looks like every kid from central casting who gets peanut butter sandwiches stolen from him at recess had a voice like that.
But where does Rick Astley's net worth come from? Is it just his music? Or does he have other ways of supplanting his income? Well here's the thing, while everyone knows Rick Astley for "Never Gonna Give You Up" and maybe "Together Forever," people don't know just how popular his tracks were.
"Never Gonna Give You Up" reached No. 1 hit single status after its 1987 release in 25 separate countries: that's insane.
In his native U.K., he was the first male solo artist to have his first eight singles reach the top 10. His 1991 album, "Free" had guest appearances by Elton John and Mark King, and his first four albums were so successful that he stepped away from making music in 1993 so he could spend more time with his family. He was 27 years old.
He wouldn't return back to making music until 2001, churning out the album "Keep It Turned On" and then "Portrait" in 2005.
How old was Rick Astley when he made "Never Gonna Give You Up"?
Rick Astley was no more than 21 years old when his hit single went to the top of the charts pretty much everywhere in the world. The track didn't just make Rick a household voice, but he also ended up becoming a millionaire by the age of 22.
Astley had some advice for people who strike it rich at such a young age: namely getting an "expensive" lawyer to keep tabs on everyone.
He also suggested enlisting the services of a manager who actually cares about you personally as a human being. As for becoming a millionaire so young, Astley said, "It shouldn't happen to anyone" and that having that much dough early on is "ridiculous."
In addition to making a ton of money off of his records, Rick Astley is also an accomplished composer, songwriter, producer, and radio personality. So is his reported $16 million net worth just from his record sales? At least a big chunk of it is, if not all. Remember: this man sold 40 million records between 1987 and 1993.