1. Michael Jackson, $115 million/year
The King of Pop still reigns from beyond the grave. His catalogue is formidable enough that he would still be sitting pretty on the strength of that alone - Thriller is the top-selling album of all time - but a still-running Cirque du Soleil show and a healthy program of remixes and releases (like last year's bafflingly-titled Xscape) have kept the money coming in.
2. Elvis Presley, $55 million/year
Whether you believe that 50,000,000 Elvis fans can be wrong or not, they're still making their presence known on the economy. A compilation album made for the U.S. Post Office gave him his 53rd Top 40 album this year. Deluxe reissues and box sets of the more than 60 albums he recorded for RCA in his lifetime combine with Blu-Ray releases of his concerts and films to keep the cash flowing, and by the time they finish the re-releases, enough time will have passed that they can go back and do it again.
3. Charles Schulz, $40 million/year
Peanuts licensing is always a reliable source of income, and Schulz's masterwork has been revisited a lot lately. Fantagraphics began printing a Complete Peanuts collection back in 2004, and they're slated to wrap up early next year. IDW released one of their gorgeous, oversized "Artist's Edition" collections of his work last year, and Boom! Studio's children's imprint has actually been publishing new Peanuts stories since 2012. Still in all, look for this number to be higher next year, depending on whether the upcoming movie sinks or swims.
4. Bob Marley, $21 million/year
Bob Marley may be doing brisker business now than he did in his lifetime. Album sales are still strong, but there's also the Marley Beverage Company, and House of Marley, which makes high-quality, eco-conscious audio equipment. We're assuming that posters sales to college students who have only ever heard "No Woman, No Cry" is probably also a strong portion of that number.
5. Elizabeth Taylor, $20 million/year
Elizabeth Taylor wasn't the first celebrity to launch a perfume - Audrey Hepburn released a perfume in 1957 with designer Hubert de Givenchy - but Taylor launched an entire line back in the 90's, and sold it hard. That move is still paying off, albeit a little less than it used to. Taylor actually topped this list in 2012, as her art, jewelry, and more were auctioned off following her death.
6. Marilyn Monroe, $17 million/year
Marilyn Monroe is often underestimated by people attracted to her and misquoted by people who think they want to be her. Both of those things are a shame. Still, it's hard to believe that her support of Ella Fitzgerald in the face of racial prejudice or her abiding love of James Joyce are the reason that Authentic Brand Group bought the rights to her brand, as neither of those things sell clothing or lingerie. Judging from the money coming in, though, her face still does.
7. John Lennon, $12 million/year
Lennon's share of The Beatles' catalogue, along with things like Cirque du Soleil's Love! show, have helped keep him at the top. Apple Records's endless reissues also play a factor - 2014 saw the release of a deluxe, 9-LP vinyl box set of his entire solo catalogue. Those reissued albums were finally made available individually this year, which probably has a lot to do with why he's on the list this year ahead of his Beatles compatriot George Harrison.
8. Albert Einstein, $11 million/year
"But Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist," you might say. "He didn't release any albums; where is this money coming from?" You know that poster where Einstein has his tongue sticking out? No, actually, that's not an exaggeration. Einstein-branded posters, clothing, and even tablets are brisk business. His signature equation has become incredibly iconic, perhaps due to its brevity as much as its actual importance.
9. Paul Walker, $10.5 million/year
Paul Walker's untimely death shocked his many, friends in the entertainment world, and stories about his kindness poured out from all corners. His hypermasculine co-stars in the Fast & Furious films opened up very publically on social media and in interviews about their grief. For action movies, the Fast & Furious series has long been about the importance of the family you choose, and the importance of sticking together, and those themes came to the fore in Furious 7, serving almost as an epitaph. The film would have been a hit regardless, but in the wake of Walker's passing, it became the fifth highest-grossing film of all time, placing Walker on the list.
10. Bettie Page, $10 million/year
Even before her passing away, Bettie Page saw a resurgence in her status as a pinup icon as a generation accustomed to living life in the open on an unprecedented scale resonated with her trailblazing confidence. Spurred by a biopic in 2005 and ultimately, her passing in 2008, merchandise bearing Page's likeness has combined with lines of retro-styled clothing bearing her brand to create a small empire.