How Much Money Do The Voice Coaches Make?

The typical salary for a coach on The Voice is a sky-high $25.5 million, though longtime stars Adam Levine and Blake Shelton make a slightly higher $26 million per year. Some coaches on the show earn considerably less, mostly because of less time spent hosting. For example Miley Cyrus earned an estimated $13 million in 2016. While that’s only half of Levine’s pay, it’s not because of inherent sexism but because Cyrus only hosted one season. Levine and Shelton meanwhile both hosted two seasons that year.

Past coaches on The Voice have earned much lower per-year salaries. The lowest annual pay for the hit show went to CeeLo Green, who earned a still high $2 million in 2011. Salaries on the show have ballooned by an astounding 375% since the first episode aired in 2011. The show can afford its astronomical pay scale though. It earns an average of $403 million a year in ad revenue, even if that number did shrink somewhat in 2016.

Median The Voice Coach Salary

the-voice-money-coachThe median salary for a coach on The Voice is $25.5 million. “Median” is a good figure to use when trying to get a general idea of earnings for members of a certain group of people. It’s better than “average salary” because averages get bent out of shape by high-earning outliers. For example, in a group of ten people where nine have $50,000 each and one is Bill Gates, the median is $50,000, while the average is $8 billion.

A look at that median salary for coaches on The Voice reveals other data hiccups though. Namely, the median or typical salary in a group of four people where two are Blake Shelton and Adam Levine is also skewed. That’s because half the group are stars who have worked on the show since its opening and who carry a high degree of fame. There are four coaches on the show, and the 3rd and 4th slots have swapped out with some regularity. Coaches who have held those slots include Christina Aguilera, CeeLo Green, Usher, Shakira, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys  and Pharrell Williams. Those coaches have earned anywhere from $2 million to $8 million per year.

Median "The Voice" Coach Salary
YearMedian "the Voice" Coach Salary


Current Salaries for The Voice Coaches

The table below shows how much money the current batch of coaches on The Voice earns. The top earners are Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Both coaches have been with the show since it’s premier episode in May of 2011. Each coach earns $13 million per season according to various online reports. With two seasons every year, that puts the duo raking in an impressive $26 million per year each. Similar estimates place Miley Cyrus’ annual salary considerably lower, but given the nature of Cyrus star power that seems unlikely.

As a quick measure of Cyrus’ fame, the singer has 31 million Twitter followers. Compare that to 18 million for Shelton and 7 million for Levine. The reason fame figures into The Voice coach salary is that the show’s earnings are based on ad revenue. Since ad revenue comes from ratings, it follows that the bigger a celebrity’s “star power,” the more valuable he or she will be to the show. Online estimates that claim Miley Cyrus earns less than Shelton and Levine ignore this significant fact. Given Levine and Shelton’s long tenure with the show, it’s not probably that Cyrus earns more per season, but it’s a safe bet she earns just as much.

"The Voice" Current Coaches: Money Made
Coach NameMax Money Per SeasonMax Money Per YearTotal Money Made So Far
Adam Levine$13,000,000$26,000,000$114,000,000
Blake Shelton$13,000,000$26,000,000$114,000,000
Miley Cyrus$13,000,000$13,000,000$13,000,000
Alicia Keys$8,000,000$8,000,000$8,000,000

Also see: Blake Shelton Net Worth

Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys Money from The Voice

the-voice-coach-money-madeCyrus only appeared as a coach on The Voice for one of two seasons in 2016. That puts her earning half what Shelton and Levine made, despite equivalent per-season payouts. Alicia Keys meanwhile likely earns significantly less than Shelton, Levine and Cyrus. It’s true Keys has 24 million Twitter followers and therefore wields a healthy star status. However, her last hit album came out in 2012, which means her career is on the downturn. There are any number of similarly famous past masters of the music world who could compete for her job, meaning a lower salary estimate for Keys.

As the longest-standing hosts of the show, The Voice coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine have earned $114 million from the show since 2011. Cyrus and Keys have made far less as 2016 newcomers.

Past Salaries for The Voice Coaches

The table above shows how much money current coaches on The Voice make by year. The table below shows the same info for past coaches. According to several online reports and estimates, CeeLo Green saw the lowest salary for the show with $2 million in 2011 and a peak of $6.5 million in 2013. The highest paid past coach was Gwen Stefani with $20 million earned in 2014 and 2015 for just one season’s work per year. Christina Aguilera, Shakira and User all earned a reported $10 million per season and worked no more than one season per year. Pharrell Williams earned a slightly lower $8 million per season. Thanks to his habit of working two seasons per year however, he was able to earn more annually than any of the other lower-tier coaches.

There’s been some speculation about whether Gwen Stefani made more money from The Voice than Christina Aguilera. It’s fairly clear that Aguilera earned more. First. Aguilera has a kind of tenure, having worked on the show for six of its 11 seasons. Second, Aguilera outpaces Stefani’s fame by more than ten times over with 26 million Twitter followers to Stefani’s 2.6 million.

Past Coaches on "The Voice": Money Made
Past Coach NameMax Money Made Per SeasonMax Money Made Per YearTotal Money Made
Pharrell Williams$8,000,000$16,000,000$32,000,000
Christina Aguilera$10,000,000$10,000,000$53,000,000
Gwen Stefani$12,000,000$12,000,000$20,000,000

Total The Voice Salary Paid by Year

the-voice-salaryAdding up the totals for all salary money paid by The Voice per year gives the numbers in the table below. Salaries for the show have gone up 375% since 2011. While that’s an impressive number, it makes sense when we consider the source of that money. Ad revenue for the show has grown by about 280% since its first season as well.

Total salaries paid to coaches on The Voice started out at $12.5 million for the single season in 2011. That includes all money paid to Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and CeeLo Green. By the following year it was clear that the show would be a hit. In that year, total salaries doubled. At first it looks like they nearly quadrupled, but 2011 only saw one season of the show, while 2012 aired two seasons. Effectively then, total single-season salaries for The Voice went from $12.5 million in 2011 to $28 million the following year. That’s more than double.

The Voice Salaries Rise and Fall with Ratings

As ratings for the show grew, ad revenue went up and salaries kept pace. Total salaries for The Voice never saw such a big single-year jump again, but they have risen consistently, finishing up at a total of $93 million for 2016. That money is split unevenly among the four judges with Adam Levine and Blake Shelton taking the lion’s share. There’s evidence the show’s high salaries may not continue. Ratings are down by 11% from 2015 according to TV site The Futon Critic.

Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries Paid by Year
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2011$12,500,000
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2012$56,000,000
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2013$64,000,000
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2014$87,000,000
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2015$90,000,000
Total "The Voice" Coach Salaries 2016$93,000,000

Also see: Miley Cyrus Net Worth

How Profitable Is The Voice?

The Voice is a highly profitable show that’s earned over $2 billion from ad revenue since 2011. The show has paid a total of $402 billion in salary money to its four coaches over those years. That leaves a difference of nearly $1.7 billion after the coach salaries are paid. That said, all that money doesn’t go into the show’s coffers. There are other staff salaries to consider, though they almost certainly pale by comparison to the gigantic payouts made to the show’s famous coaches. There are also production and promotion costs and several other expenses to consider. Even so, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the show has cleared a profit of over $1 billion since its inception.

The table below shows the breakdown by year. The revenue amounts in column two are figured from the cost for an ad on the show, multiplied by the total number of ads aired in a year. The show has consistently cleared over $350 million a year after paying its coaches. The show has lost traction in 2016, but the big decrease shown in the table for the most recent season is mostly because of timing. That is, the show has yet to air all of its 2016 season two episodes, so it hasn’t had a chance yet to collect all its revenue for the year. Still, once 2016 is in the books, the show will make an estimated $187 million from ad revenue for season two. That’s an 11% drop from its first season in 2016.

Is "The Voice" Profitable?
Year"The Voice" Ad Revenue"The Voice" Total Salary Money PaidDifference

Where The Voice Gets its Money

The Voice gets most of its money from ad revenue. According to AdWeek, the cost to show a 30-second commercial during an episode of The Voice came to $222,487 in the second half of 2016. While that’s a lot of money, it doesn’t even come close to the cost of a similar ad aired during the Super Bowl. Airing a 30-second Super Bowl ad carried a price tag of $5 million in 2016. That makes sense when we look at viewership of both shows. 124 million people tuned in to watch the big game in 2016 vs 5 million to 8 million for an episode of The Voice. Beyond mere ratings, Super Bowl ads are something of a phenomenon, getting shared around the internet and talked about around the water cooler. Ads shown on The Voice benefit from no such multiplier.

The Voice Ad Cost Over Time

The price of a 30-second spot on The Voice started out at around $210,000 back in 2011. As ratings rose sharply, that price rose too, reaching a peak of $264,575 in 2013 and hanging there through 2015. As ratings have fallen, ad cost has fallen too, first to $250,000 for season one of 2016 and then to $222,487 for season two.

The table below shows the average ad cost per year and the total number of ads shown per year. Number of ads is based on 60-minute episodes with 15 minutes of ad time and 30 commercials total per episode. Total number of commercials is then multiplied by the number of episodes per year. That number is then figured with the cost per ad to get total earnings for the show by year.

The Voice Earnings by Year
YearAd CostAds Per YearThe Voice Ad Earnings

Also see: Adam Levine Net Worth

Why is The Voice Making Less Money Now?

The Voice is earning less money from ads in 2016. How much less? In 2015 the show took in a total of $436 million from ad sales. In 2016 that number is projected to drop to $410 million. While that’s only a drop of about 5%, the severity of the decline is hidden somewhat by its timing. That is, the drop in sales from the last season of 2015 to the first season of 2016 was minor. Most of the ad sales decline happened in the second season, which saw an 11% downturn. Many have speculated that Miley Cyrus is the reason for the show’s falling ratings and its resultant drop in ad revenue.

It’s certainly possible that Cyrus holds some of the blame for shrinking earnings in 2016’s second season of The Voice. While the star has a lot of pull with younger viewers, there’s some evidence that younger viewers just don’t watch as much TV. They may be interested in seeing Cyrus, but they may catch clips of the show on YouTube rather than tuning into a network.

A case could also be made however that Alicia Keys had a hand in the show’s decline. Keys is the second big risk taken by the show. Seen as a more stable choice for a slightly older demographic, her inclusion may have been a non-starter for many viewers. Another factor however may just be the fading of the dream. None of the show’s big winners have gone on to have notable careers in the music world. That fact alone may make viewers see the show as more of a dead end than a conduit to the American dream.

All The Voice money figures in this article are based on estimates and media reports. If you liked reading about the money side of The Voice, try this post on how much money NFL players make, or this one on how much money NBA players make.