All of the work Dolly Parton has put in over the years has certainly paid off!
According to a new report from Forbes, the 75-year-old country music legend has created an estimated $350 million fortune, all thanks to her publishing rights deals and Tennessee amusement park.
In case you didn’t know, Dolly has always insisted on maintaining ownership of her publishing rights since her debut album Hello I’m Dolly. And the decision worked in her favor! The publication found that her extensive music catalog “makes up a third” of her wealth, rounding out to about $150 million alone. The artist’s library of 3,000 song credits — including hits like 9 to 5 and Jolene — reportedly earns her royalty payments between $6 million and $8 million each year.
WOW! Her song I Will Always Love You also boosted her bank account, especially when Whitney Houston recorded the hit track for the 1992 movie The Bodyguard. Dolly told Country Music Television in 2006 of the song’s success:
“When Whitney [Houston’s version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland.”
During a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, the songwriter was asked by a fan what was the “best thing you bought or invested in with money from your I Will Always Love You royalties?” Parton revealed that she purchased a “big office complex in Nashville” in honor of Houston, adding:
“I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there. It was just off the beaten path from 16th Avenue and I thought, ‘Well I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.’ And thought, ‘This is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.”
In December, she told Music Week that she thought about selling her catalog to make “a lot of money for it,” explaining:
‘I’ve owned my own publishing company for years and years and, as an active songwriter, I still write all the time. It’s very possible that, for business reasons, estate planning, and family things, I might sell the catalog I have now. I’ve often thought about it, and I’m sure that I could get a lot of money for it. But then I would just start a brand new one, continue writing songs and, when I build that up again, sell it.”
And while Dolly clearly earned a hefty paycheck for her work, the songwriter claimed she was never in the business for the money:
“I would imagine I’d have quite a bit of money if I wanted to sell, but I would still have some control, no matter who I sold to, and my credit for the songs. There’s a lot to be said about that. As a songwriter, I never cared about the money. I did make money, but I always just wanted my name on my songs.”
Obviously, not selling her song rights ended up being the best decision for Dolly in the long run! However, the humanitarian’s biggest asset actually comes from her theme park Dollywood, which she co-founded 35 years ago. The location reportedly has become the most-visited tourist attraction in the state, drawing almost 3 million visitors a year. You can just imagine how much dough she is racking in from that!
But let’s be real here, her crowning achievement really comes from her million-dollar donation to Vanderbilt University to help research the Moderna vaccine. She definitely helped saved a ton of lives!
There is no denying that Dolly has been a talented businesswoman throughout her decades-long career. And she isn’t even done yet! In 2019, the iconic artist signed a huge deal with licensing company IMG to expand her brand into consumer products. So this begs the question: where will Parton go next? It certainly seems like the skies are the limit when it comes to her massive empire!
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