Cobain Top Dead Moneymaker

Kurt Cobain topped Forbes Magazine‘s sixth annual ranking of top-earning dead celebrities October 24th, beating out Elvis Presley, the reigning King since the inception of the list.

Although this was Cobain’s first showing, he went straight to the top of the list with earnings of $50 million, following the sale of a 25 percent stake in Nirvana’s song catalog by his widow, Courtney Love, to Primary Wave Music Publishing.

Despite the anti-corporate stance often presented by Cobain during his life, the publishing group is currently exploring various opportunities for his music in terms of licensing and advertising deals.

Primary Wave Chief Executive Lawrence Mestel told Forbes that most licensing deals for Nirvana’s music would be with films and TV shows. However, the company hasn’t completely written off the idea of using the music for advertising purposes.

“You will never see Kurt Cobain’s music in a fast-food hamburger advertisement – that won’t ever happen,” he said. “We’re looking for things that relate to cutting-edge technologies, products that are green and eco-friendly, products that Kurt would have liked to have his music represented by.”

Nirvana’s music has already been used in an episode of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and the film “Jarhead,” and following the Primary Wave deal, will be used in an upcoming episode of CBS’s “CSI: Miami.”

Elvis Presley came in second with earnings of $42 million. Other notable musicians on the list included John Lennon, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, and Bob Marley.

Deceased stars had to show profits of at least $7 million between October 2005 and October 2006 to be included in the rankings.