UK rich list: Lloyd Webber takes £20m COVID hit - as Rihanna could become 'first music billionaire'

May 12, 2020

Andrew Lloyd Webber is expected to take a £20m hit to his fortune due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Sunday Times Rich List - as new entry Rihanna could become the first British-based billionaire musician.

The annual countdown of the UK's wealthiest musicians has been revealed ahead of the full list being released at the weekend.

With a calculated wealth of £800m, Lord Lloyd Webber still comes joint top alongside Sir Paul McCartney, despite the composer apparently standing to lose millions due to the closure of theatres in the West End and on Broadway.

And now that she is based in London, singer Rihanna has jumped straight into third place after amassing a fortune of £468m, thanks in part to the success of her cosmetics and fashion brand Fenty.

It puts the 32-year-old ahead of the likes of Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger, in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Robert Watts, who compiles the list, says if she stays in the UK she could well rise to the top.

"Rihanna typifies the seismic change we've seen in the rich list in recent years," he said.

"Once dominated by inherited wealth, the bulk of our 1,000 entries are now self-made people with modest and even troubled starts in life who are driven to work exceptionally hard.

"Still only 32, if Rihanna remains based in the UK she could well pip Sir Paul McCartney and Lord Lloyd Webber to be the Sunday Times Rich List's first billionaire musician.

"Touring remains the big earner for many of the stadium-filling acts on our musicians' list. But the COVID outbreak has wrecked concert plans and so we expect the wealth of many of these musicians will flatline over the coming year."

However, Mr Watts said that "for this year at least", the wealth of the musicians has "held up better than many other ultra-high net worth individuals - especially those with wealth determined by the stock market".

Lord Lloyd Weber, 72, had to delay the London opening of his musical Cinderella, scripted by Killing Eve's Emerald Fennell, as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

He owns theatres in the West End and had shows running in both the West End and on Broadway, which have been postponed due to closures.

After topping the list alone in 2019, his fortune has come down from £820m to £800m for the 2020 list.

McCartney's wealth, however, has increased to £800m from £750m last year, thanks to 29 concerts, the chart-topping album Egypt Station, and his first children's book, Hey Grandude!, which topped the New York Times bestsellers chart in 2019.

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Olivia and Dhani Harrison, the widow and son of Beatle George Harrison, share the sixth spot with Sir Mick's Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards, while Ed Sheeran is also in the top 10.

Adele, who has not released an album since 2015, is just outside the top 20 at number 22, jointly with Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.

At 29, Sheeran is the youngest person on the list and also tops a separate list of the richest young musicians, which also includes One Direction stars Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik, as well as Little Mix and Sam Smith, in the top 10.

Here is the top 20.

The Sunday Times Rich List will be published on 17 May

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