Last Updated: April 2, 2024
Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$75 Million
Jan 4, 1960 (64 years old)
5 ft 9 in (1.753 m)
Singer, Record producer, Television producer, Film Producer, Singer-songwriter, Visual Artist, Activist, Lyricist, Musician
United States of America
💰 Compare Michael Stipe's Net Worth

What Is Michael Stipe's Net Worth?

Michael Stipe is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and film producer who has a net worth of $75 million. Michael Stipe is best known as the lead singer for the band R.E.M. He has also worked as a producer on films such as "Being John Malkovich" and "Man on the Moon."

Michael Stipe stands as one of the most iconic and influential figures in the realm of alternative rock, primarily known as the lead singer and lyricist of the band R.E.M. With a distinct voice and introspective lyrics, Stipe captured the ethos of a generation and played an integral role in shaping the sound of alternative rock in the 1980s and 1990s.

R.E.M. was formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980, with Stipe joining guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. The band's early releases on the independent label I.R.S. Records, such as "Murmur" and "Reckoning," quickly garnered critical acclaim. Michael's enigmatic lyrics and distinctive voice, combined with the band's jangly guitar sound, set them apart in the burgeoning college rock scene.

By the late 1980s and early 1990s, R.E.M. had transitioned to major label success without sacrificing their artistic integrity. Albums like "Out of Time" and "Automatic for the People" solidified their status as global superstars. Songs such as "Losing My Religion," "Everybody Hurts," and "Man on the Moon" showcased Stipe's poignant lyricism and the band's evolving musical style.

Beyond music, Michael is also known for his activism, particularly in the areas of environmental and human rights causes. He has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has consistently used his platform to promote social and political change.

After R.E.M. disbanded in 2011, Stipe took a hiatus from the music industry but eventually returned to the scene with solo projects.

Early Life and College

Michael Stipe was born John Michael Stipe on January 4, 1960, in Decatur, Georgia. His father was a serviceman in the United States Army, which resulted in the family frequently relocating both around the US and even to West Germany. While he was in high school, Stipe worked at the local Waffle House. In 1978, he graduated from high school in Collinsville, Illinois. He went to college at the University of Georgia in Athens, and he often visited the local record store, Wuxtry Records, where he became friends with the store clerk Peter Buck. The two decided to form a band and started to write music together. Stipe was a member of another band called Gangster at the time but left once he and Buck were joined by Bill Berry and Mike Mills. The name R.E.M. was chosen arbitrarily from the dictionary by Michael, who was also the youngest member of the band.

R.E.M. Beginnings

In 1980, the band members all dropped out of college to pursue their music careers full-time, Stipe being the last to do so. They signed with the record label Hib-Tone, and after a successful show opening for the group The Police, they released their first single, "Radio Free Europe." Stipe wrote the song and stated that he didn't intend for the lyrics to be intelligible to listeners. The single was a hit on college radio stations and got the band a better record deal with I.R.S. Records. They released their debut EP, "Chronic Town," in August 1982, and it was met with mostly positive reception. They released their debut album, "Murmurs," the following year. It was critically acclaimed and beat Michael Jackson's album "Thriller" for "Rolling Stone" magazine's Critics Poll Album of the Year. Stipe was praised for his lyrics and unique vocalization. Their second album, "Reckoning," was released in 1984 and only took sixteen days to record. Again, the album was acclaimed by critics and peaked at #27 on the "Billboard" album charts. In 1985, the band traveled to Europe to record their third album. "Fables of the Reconstruction" was much different in style than their previous works. It was a conceptual album with Southern Gothic themes. Despite the stylistic shift, it peaked at #28 on the US album charts and at #35 in the UK. They spent the next year touring around Europe, Canada, and the US to promote the album.

For the band's fourth studio album, they hired John Mellencamp's producer Don Gehman and recorded the album in Indiana at Mellencamp's Belmont Mall Studios. "Lifes Rich Pageant" was released in the summer of 1986. The album had more of a hard rock sound, and Stipe's vocals had more clarity and were less mumbled than his singing on previous albums. His vocals were praised by critics, as was the composition of the album itself. It peaked at #21 on the "Billboard" album charts and has been certified Gold in the US and Platinum in Canada.

Michael Stipe

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

International Stardom

R.E.M was disappointed in I.R.S. Records for not focusing more on overseas distribution, so they opted to leave when their contract expired. Although other labels offered them lucrative deals as well, they decided to sign with Warner Bros. Records because they were promised complete creative freedom. They released "Green" in 1988, and it spawned four successful singles. Many of the songs had political themes, and the album landed at #12 on the "Billboard" album charts. They went on an 11-month tour following its release and decided to take a break before recording their next album, "Out of Time." It was released in March of 1991 and was their biggest hit thus far. The album's lead single, "Losing My Religion," peaked at #4 on the charts and was a hit worldwide. They won three Grammy Awards for the album. "Monster" was released in 1994 and was equally successful. Its singles "What's the Frequency, Kenneth" and "Bang and Blame" were the band's last tracks to top the UK and US charts. They went on tour in 1995, and although it was a commercial success, the members were beset with health issues. Berry had a brain aneurysm and collapsed on stage in Switzerland. Mills had to have intestinal surgery, and Stipe underwent surgery for a hernia. The band resigned with Warner Bros. for a reported $80 million in 1996. Berry decided to leave in 1997, but he told the rest of the band that he would stay if his departure would result in them breaking up. They continued on as a threesome, but their next few albums weren't as successful as previous ones. Their next hit album came in 2004 with "Around the Sun," which peaked at #13 on the charts. The band was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in March of 2007. "Collapse into Now" was released in 2011 and debuted at #5 on the album charts. It was their 15th and final album.

Personal Life and Other Work

In addition to being R.E.M.'s lead singer, Stipe founded C00 Films, and he has worked as a producer on several films, including "Being John Malkovich," "Velvet Goldmine," and "Man on the Moon. Michael came out as bisexual in 1995. He had previously had a romantic relationship with Natalie Merchant of the band 10,000 Maniacs in the '80s. He had a relationship with author Douglas A. Martin, which was written about in Martin's novel "Outline of My Lover." The two had collaborated previously on two books. Stipe remains unmarried and has no children.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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