The Weeknd Turned 5.5 Billion Streams Into $75M Touring Advance

Drake might be the highest-earning artist in music, but The Weeknd isn't far behind.

For most artists, streaming revenue from platforms like Spotify and Apple Music isn't (yet) a path to obscene wealth. Of course, The Weeknd isn't most artists.

In a cover story that will appear in the June 29 issue of Forbes, staff writer Zack O'Malley Greenburg details how The Weeknd was able to turn a multi-billion stream count into some serious moola.

We're talking generational wealth:

The indirect spoils of streaming can be even greater. Abel "the Weeknd" Tesfaye parlayed his play count--5.5 billion streams in the past two years--into an estimated $75 million touring advance. To him it's all part of the model he's been following throughout his rapid rise, one that applies to all sorts of businesses: Create an excellent product, make it widely available and flip the monetization switch when the timing is right.

As a result of cashing in on that massive touring advance, The Weeknd clocked in at No. 6 on Forbes' newly-published 100 World's Highest Paid Celebrities list with 92M in earnings.

While Drake is often labeled as the biggest artist in the world, The Weeknd, at least in terms of earnings, isn't that far behind. Drake placed only two spots higher on Forbes' list (No. 4) with a total of 94M in earnings.

Combined, the two have generated a lifetime total of 17.5 billion streams. Not bad for a few talented fellas from Canada.