CHARLES CALDAS, 55
PAID OUT $500 MILLION IN 2018: Under Caldas, Merlin negotiates rates with digital music services and collects royalties on behalf of some 800 members representing 20,000 labels and imprints in 62 countries. It took nine years for Merlin to pay members its first $1 billion in collected royalties, but with the explosion of streaming, the checks come faster -- and with more zeroes. Merlin distributed $500 million in its most recent fiscal year alone. Not bad for an organization that began 11 years ago as an idea hatched, says Caldas, "by some people sitting around a dinner table."