Skip to comments.Billboard ranks the highest-paid musicians of the past 12 months.
Posted on 02/22/2013 2:57:18 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Shelton has certainly benefited from the visibility he's received as a coach on NBC's "The Voice." The country star spent much of last year touring, which earned him $3.1 million. The release of his 2012 holiday album, Cheers, It's Christmas, which debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, also added to his $2.2 million in revenue from album sales.
Unlike many of the artists on the Moneymakers list, Mumford & Sons earned most of its money in 2012 from album sales. As the biggest-selling rock act of that year, the band pocketed $3.7 million with the help of sales from its No. 1-debuting album Babel.
Stewart's 2012 live performances ranged from solo dates to co-headlining shows with Stevie Nicks, earning him $4.3 million. His holiday album, Merry Christmas, Baby, reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, contributing to $2.9 million in album sales revenuea healthy number for a veteran artist.
Last year, country group Zac Brown Band netted its second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Uncaged and scored a pair of top 10 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The band earned $2.4 million from album sales, but the bulk of its revenue came from concerts ($2.8 million).
Ahead of his most recent album, Passione, released earlier this year, Italian tenor Bocelli earned $594,000 from 322,000 albums sold in 2012. But the majority of his income ($6.1 million) came from touring arenas.
Touring on the strength of its catalog, Journey spent much of 2012 playing sheds on an outing with Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo and Loverboy. Journey's overall touring revenue for the year was $15.3 million, of which the band pocketed $5.1 million.
Jay-Z earned about $1.1 million from digital and physical album sales last year, but the bulk of his revenue$4.7 millioncame from Watch the Throne tour dates with fellow rapper Kanye West.
Behind Taylor Swift, Maroon 5 sold the most digital tracks of 2012, with 13.3 million, earning the band $2.4 million. In addition to hitting No. 2 on the Billboard 200, Maroon 5's 2012 album, Overexposed, was its first release to generate three top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Black Keys experienced a breakthrough year in 2012, embarking on its first North American arena-headlining tour behind its seventh album, El Camino. From a tour gross of $12.7 million, the duo earned $4.2 million.
Known for its epic live shows, Phish earned the overwhelming majority of its money in 2012 from touring. Multi-night runs across the United States last summer helped the band take home $7.2 million from live dates.
2013 Money Makers Methodology
The data used to compile Moneymakers was supplied by Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen BDS, YouTube and Billboard Boxscore. Artists are ranked by U.S. earnings, and Billboard calculated a variety of income streams, including touring, recorded-music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from an array of digital music and video services for downloads, as well as on-demand and noninteractive streaming. Due to a lack of sufficient data, our figures don't include revenue from sponsorships, merchandise sales or synchronization data.
For album and track sales, we assumed a royalty rate of 20% of retail, minus producers' fees. We treated all streaming revenue as derived from a licensing deal and thus split that revenue in half to calculate the artist's take. We also applied corresponding statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales and the Copyright Royalty Board-approved formulas or rates used for the various streaming channels, and further estimated the share of songs written by the artists. For all artist revenue, we subtracted a manager's fee of 10%. For box office, we credited each artist with 34% of gross receipts, typically what's left after the promoter's fee, the artist manager's cut and other costs are subtracted.
With two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 last year, U.K. boy band One Direction earned most of its revenue from album sales. More than 2 million physical albums sold earned the group $3.8 million.
The power of John's canon of songs is best evidenced by two stats: 1.6 million digital tracks sold and $22 million in Boxscore gross. To the joy of promoters and arena managers, John very much enjoys playing live and continues to tour successfully year after year.
With or without recognition from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rush fans are tremendously loyal, turning out en masse for tours and ponying up for records, the latter to the tune of more than 500,000 physical units in 2012. These guys are perennials.
Lambert ventured into large-venue headlining waters in 2012 and did well, grossing more than $20 million with her name atop the marquee. She makes great records, and fans have eaten them up to the tune of nearly 500,000 physical units and 3.2 million song downloads.
American rock fans bought a robust 1.8 million digital tracks by the Rolling Stones in 2012. The Stones own rock's most beloved catalog, and that's why five showsyes, just fivegrossed $21.6 million as fans opened their wallets to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary.
The Chili Peppers have entered that rarefied air where their tours become must-see events, not reliant on album sales or hit singles, but drawing fans based on reputation built from years of killer performances. The Peppers were a top 25 touring act in 2012, and this band is, remarkably, getting bigger on a global level.
Drake's Club Paradise tour was one of hip-hop's biggest live draws last year, helping the rapper/singer earn $9.5 million on the road. Meanwhile, his sophomore album, Take Care, which was released in November 2011, performed strongly throughout 2012, producing multiple singles that contributed to 8.8 million digital track sales, earning Drake $1.6 million.
With nearly 700,000 units of combined digital and physical album sales, Keith is consistently among country's biggest recording artists. Keith is also an elite touring artist, topping $25 million in Boxscore gross for 2012.
The multi-unit touring entity known as TSO has become a blockbuster holiday-season brand, annually finishing among the top-ranked tours in a short window of opportunity. That said, the band also moves product, with nearly 400,000 units sold in the United States in 2012.
Diamond's physical album sales topped 400,000 in the United States, and he registered 661,641 track downloads, but the newly crowned Billboard Legend of Live remains a touring powerhouse, selling out the big rooms in 2012.
While she put up respectable numbers in the recorded content realm, Streisand cracked the Moneymakers list on the strength of her live performances: $30 million from a mere eight shows, topped by a return to her hometown of Brooklyn at the new Barclays Center.
One of the top hitmakers in country music history, Rascal Flatts sold more than 600,000 physical albums in 2012, and a whopping 3.8 million digital tracks. The group's touring has found another gear, and the band once again finished in the top 25 among all touring acts for the year.
Church is now in the big leagues, earning respect at rock clubs and endearing himself to country fans, who bought nearly 700,000 physical units, nearly 300,000 digital albums and 4.2 million song downloads in 2012. And he is just hitting his stride, as large-venue headlining dates await.
The band's 2011 release, Here and Now, continued to move last year, with 650,000 album and 2.7 million track sales. But Nickelback's Moneymakers ranking reflects its status as the most consistent touring rock act to break through this millennium, solidly in the top 20 artists on the road annually, touring in a multi-year deal with Live Nation.
Now a bona fide arena-level headliner, Underwood's career is clicking on all cylinders, topping 1 million in physical units and nearly 400,000 digital album sales and 5.5 million digital downloads.
Swift is a record-selling powerhouse, moving nearly 3 million physical units and more than 1 million digital albums, and a staggering 15.6 million digital tracks, driven by the release of Red and its mega-hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." The bulk of Swift's sold-out Fearless tour took place in 2011; had it been fully in 2012, Swift's ranking would be significantly higher.
Paisley's album sales are more than solid, but the country guitar slinger has become one of the most consistent touring stars, even as the competition increases. With nearly $35 million in Boxscores for 2012, he finished 16th among all acts on the road.
Dion at the Colosseum in Las Vegas is the gift that keeps on giving, with the artist reporting more than $36 million in Boxscore revenue for 2012. Since her Vegas dates don't have the associated costs of touring, Dion's profit margins are significantly higher than acts who take it on the road.
The country trio proved its star power as a headlining act in 2012, finishing 14th for the year among all touring artists and moving more than 850,000 tickets. Lady A also rang up nearly 1 million units in physical sales and more than 350,000 units on the digital front.
Adele continues to ride the wave of the biggest-selling album not just of 2011, but of 2012 as well - 21 is the kind of old-school smash that keeps finding new fans, with staggering physical sales of nearly 4 million units and digital equivalents topping 1.2 million. Adele scales these Moneymaker heights with no help on the touring front in terms of revenue or album promotion.10
Though he started 2013 by becoming the first artist to score five Billboard No. 1 albums before the age of 19, it was 2012 that saw the release of Bieber's fourth album, Believe; an accompanying tour; and hit singles including "Girlfriend" and "As Long As You Love Me." The wealth of new music helped him score $2.6 million in physical album sales, an additional $806,000 in digital album sales and $1.8 million in digital track sales. Bieber also pocketed nearly $10 million from the sold-out Believe arena tour featuring opener Carly Rae Jepsen, who records for Schoolboy Records, a label founded by his manager, Scooter Braun.
Coming off its fifth album, the late-2011 release Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay had a busy 2012. The year was topped by a hugely successful tour that stretched across the entire summer in North America, made other stops in Europe and Australia, and ultimately brought the band $13.9 million in revenue. Such singles as "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," "Paradise" and "Princess of China" (featuring Rihanna) accounted for $954,000 in revenue, while more than 600,000 albums sold at physical and digital retailers netted more than $1.3 million.
A popular tour and strong music sales helped Aldean reach eighth place on this year's list. His My Kinda Party tour was No. 13 on -Billboard's list of 2012's top 25 tours with a gross of nearly $40 million and attendance of 984,000 to 59 shows - all of them sellouts. With 73.3% of Aldean's revenue coming from touring, only Justin Bieber (at 60.1%) had a smaller share among the top 10 Moneymakers. Aldean's Night Train sold more than 1 million units in 2012 to become the fifth-best-selling album the year. My Kinda Party (2010) sold another 594,000 units and ranked No. 29 for the year.
McGraw's Brothers of the Sun tour with Kenny Chesney placed him high on the Moneymakers list and put him in a tie for the sixth-best concert-earner of the year. Overall, the tour was No. 7 on Billboard's Top 25 Tours tally, with a total gross of more than $96 million and total attendance of 1.1 million for 23 shows. Nearly 88% of the $18.6 million McGraw netted in 2012 came from concerts. Nearly 7% came from CD royalties, while 3.7% of revenue came from digital track royalties and 1.4% was from digital album royalties.
One of the most consistent earners in the music business, Dave Matthews Band has maximized revenue streams on both the touring and recorded-music sides of the ledger. After limited touring in 2011 (mostly self-produced regional festivals), DMB returned to the road in earnest last year, earning more than $41 million from just 41 shows. Under the direction of tour manager Bill Greer and the management team at Red Light, DMB runs one of the most efficient touring operations in the industry, adding to its coffers with the band's in-house Bama Rags merchandising business (not included here) that maximizes its robust touring and direct-to-fan sales in various innovative ways. In another nod to consistency, DMB's latest RCA release became its sixth consecutive studio album to debut at No. 1. The band scanned nearly 700,000 units in the United States last year, with sales of 1.4 million digital tracks and 367,000 physical albums. Not included is Dave Matthews' financial interest in the ATO Records label, which he co-founded with manager Coran Capshaw.
The most successful touring act in country music history, Chesney has built his arena, amphitheater and stadium concerts into lifestyle events enjoyed by more than 1 million fans every year. What's more, he upped the ante in 2012 by adding fellow superstar Tim McGraw to the marquee, a move that no doubt cost plenty but paid off at the box office, as the Brothers of the Sun trek grossed nearly $100 million and kept Chesney's eight-tour streak of drawing more than a million fans right on course. Off the road, Chesney remains a chart-topping recording artist, releasing Welcome to the Fishbowl in 2012 and producing non-tour revenue estimated at nearly $3 million. Chesney's bank account (valued at nearly $12 million) is enhanced by sales of 64,142 ringtones and downloads of 4.6 million digital tracks in the United States, both of which dispel the notion that country fans are digitally challenged. Not included in these figures are other significant revenue streams from merchandise sales and such sponsors as Corona.
Its tour may have ended sooner than expected, with 32 of its shows ultimately canceled due to "exhaustion," but Van Halen nevertheless kicked a little tail on the road in 2012. Van Halen toured in support of A Different Kind of Truth, its first album with David Lee Roth since 1984. More than a half-million fans turned out, and the tour grossed $54 million from just 46 shows, with accompanying merch sales said to be huge. Driven by the album's reception, Van Halen moved 621,614 physical units and 213,524 digital albums in the United States, spiking non-touring earnings of an estimated $1.2 million for the band. The popularity of Van Halen's classic catalogand the group's willingness to tap into its older musical legacyis evidenced by an estimated $2.2 million in synch royalties.
With his 2006 Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, Waters began reaping more contemporary rewards of his creative work with former band Pink Floyd. He took that revival of success to the proverbial next level with The Wall Live tour, a song-for-song rendering of the landmark 1980 Floyd album, featuring stunning (and, no doubt, extremely expensive) production and visual elements that wowed fans both old and new worldwide. During his U.S. run, Waters played both outdoor stadiums and enclosed arenas, delivering jaw--dropping spectacle in the larger venues, but obtaining more favorable profit margins in the smaller halls. "There's no way that [The Wall Live] could have worked without us going back indoors," Waters told Billboard last year. "Outdoors, it's a model that fails, because of the expenses." The tour finished as the fifth-highest-grossing of all time, with a total gross of $377,895,537 and total attendance of 3.3 million from 192 shows worldwide. Waters' merch offerings on the tour were creative and varied, with per capita spending easily in the double digits across the entire tour. As icing on the cake, Waters' work in the studio through the years kept paying dividends, with non-touring revenue of $1.2 million.
Since reuniting with the E Street Band in 1999, Springsteen's tours have been the most financially successful of his career. Playing a mix of stadiums and arenas (including sold-out European stadium treks not tabulated in these calculations), each road trip surpasses the previous one, with the most recent outing in support of his No. 1 album, Wrecking Ball, continuing that mighty run. Wrecking Ball, captured the top draw award, based on Boxscore attendance, at the 2012 Billboard Touring Awards, and finished the year at slightly less than a $200 million gross, second only to Madonna among all tours. The shows, which continue into this year, have topped 2 million in attendance, with strong merchandise sales also noted. (While not specifically a part of these calculations, merch certainly added significantly to his overall 2012 take, as artists receive the lion's share of such revenue) Like most artists from his era, Springsteen's revenue is primarily driven by touring. But he did release a critically acclaimed album in 2012, and his catalog sales remain steady. Non-touring revenue - including digital downloads, streaming, physical CD sales and publishing royalties (Springsteen rarely approves synchs for movies, and never for advertising) - totaled $2.4 million in 2012. Interestingly, while Springsteen enjoyed sales of nearly 600,000 physical units in 2012, he also racked up 1.6 million digital track downloads, more than any other artist on this chart that broke in the '70s.
Thanks largely to her blockbuster MDNA tour, the Queen of Pop reigns at No. 1 on the Moneymakers list for a second time. (She first crowned the tally for earnings in 2008.) MDNA was last year's -biggest tour ($305 million gross), and the No. 10 top-grossing trek of all time. The 88-date tour earned Madonna an estimated $32 million in 2012. The globetrotting tour also supported her MDNA album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and generated $1.5 million in physical and digital album sales for the artist. Her first studio release under a 360 deal with Live Nation, MDNA was released and promoted through Interscope, with U.S. sales buoyed by a promotion in which tour ticket buyers had an option of receiving the album as part of their purchase.
Read More: Madonna, Springsteen Lead 2013 Money Makers
Never heard of any of them. Neither has Yo yo Ma.
Only two surprises: I had no idea Trans Siberian Orchestra was that lucrative of a gig and I thought Taylor Swift would’ve been in the top ten.
Best concert I ever saw was George Thorogood & The Delaware Destroyers...didn’t see them on this list though.
Blake Shelton-Never heard of him
Mumford & Sons-Never heard of them
Rod Stewart-I think there is 1 or two songs I might like
Zac Brown Band—Never heard of them
Andrea Bocelli-sounds like an Opera guy
Journey-Might like 1 or 2 songs
Jay-Z-Heard of him but he always looked too old to be hip
Maroon 5-never heard of them
The Black Keys-Never heard of them
Phish-Thats the band the druggies follow like Grateful dead right?
One Direction-hated by kids everywhere with a passion!
Elton John- never got into it-thankfully
Rush-respect, like 2 or 3, but others worship
Miranda Lambert-no idea
The Rolling Stones-overrated, not one song I can say i REALLY like. Just a lot of decent songs year after year after year zzzzzzzzzzzz
Red Hot Chili Peppers-2 or 3 songs I like
Toby Keith-county guy-could not name a song
Trans-Siberian Orchestra-The cool Christmas music?
Neil Diamond-Old people music
Barbra Streisand-She makes music?
Rascal Flatts-No idea
Eric Church-no idea
Nickelback-People like them to be cool. Snob thing.
Carrie Underwood-County? Won some TV award show?
Taylor Swift-Class act, good songs, but psycho ex gf
Brad Paisley-Country guy? No idea
Celine Dion-Old people music
Lady Antebellum-No idea
Adele-Some brit on 007 movie that sucked
but 1 hit wonder?
Justin Bieber-psycho fans taking over the world-help me! Like Duke and NY Yankees-just have to hate
Coldplay-Another band people like to seem cool
Jason Aldean-no idea
Tim McGraw-Big Country guy-could not name a song
Dave Matthews Band-Middle age band people like to be cool
Kenny Chesney-no idea
Van Halen-That “other” music they played in the 80’s. Couple good songs.
Bruce Springsteen-OVERRATED! Not one song I like but none I really hate.
Madonna-Old hag slut makes decent music from time to time but sucks as a human being
A lot work went into your post. I don’t think however that these “stars” are worth the effort! Nevertheless, my own list would be similar to yours, I’ve heard of Mumford and Sons, for example, but only this week did I learn they are from England and not from Oregon as I had thought. Never heard them though!
Not that I’m a fan, but I didn’t see Lady Gag Gag.
The numbers are grosses. How much of that reached the pockets of the performers?
This list is amazing. Jason Aldean? Had no idea he was doing so well.
When Journey added their new singer in 2009, their tour brought in $35,000,000; thus surpassing the slank Madonna for this year. No telling what they pulled in the years since 2009.
The list makes me feel out of the loop (nothing new). Jason Aldean? He was in the top 10 and I never heard of him? There were a couple of other country and hip hop people I never heard of (Drake, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton) but when somebody’s in the top 10 and I never heard of him, I start to worry.
Another surprise was Lady Gaga not being on the list at all. I thought she was supposed to be all that?
Seems Billboard only calculated U.S. sales. Lady Gaga made a boatload of money in 2012 touring Europe, Asia, Latin America and even a stop in South Africa. Her 2011 tour was the 16th highest grossing tour ever. Her tour returns to the United States this year where you can guarantee she'll make the Billboard top 40 once again.
These things are important to people who think such things are... important. Come Sunday they’ll be glued to their idiot box screens holding their breaths as the entertainment vehicle industry rewards its own. Who will it be? Yawn! Grow up and pick your own winners instead of following the marketing whiz’s pay masters’, and low info voters’ and consumers’ indiscriminate choices. What do the dollar amounts listed above mean to anyone of us? Do they impress you? Why? What do they mean to the country’s culture? Today? Tomorrow? Gimme a break, Rihanna!
What, no Nickleback?
/s barf, puke gag....
See my post below yours. Lady Gaga raked in plenty of dough touring outside the U.S. last year.
Or maybe Billboard doesn't consider her a musician?
Gaga is actually pretty talented and she writes her own stuff. I was surprised to find that out when somebody directed me to her performance of ‘Edge of Glory’ on the Howard Stern Show, via YouTube. She’s not my cup of tea, but I have to give her props.
Pretty much ditto what you said. I’m amazed that I have literally never heard of some of these. Jason Aldean? It’s like a random selection from a telephone book.
That's what I'm saying. What's going on here?
OTOH, apart from my half dozen Emmylou Harris albums I don't pay much attention to country.
Oh, I don't dislike Lady Gaga. She defines ambition. Unlike most of these manufactured, auto-tuned supermodel-looking "singers", plain 'ole Stefani Germanotta, a decidedly not supermodel-looking girl from New York did it all on her own. There wasn't some Svengali pulling strings behind the scenes. No focus group of industry insiders molding her image. She started out on the club circuit and through hard work, perseverance (and actual musical chops) climbed her way to the top. And I can appreciate this.
And she likes Iron Maiden so that's cool.
Mumford and Sons are probably the best, most talented band of the last 20 + years. What would make you think they were from Oregon, of all places??
Somewhere the signals bout Mumford and Sons got mixed on the way to my ears, that’s all. An Americana band from the UK? Who knew?
Folksy type music has become very popular in East London.
The whole Mumford and Sons Pukkelpop 2010 concert is on you tube, they are really really good.
I’ll check them out, thanks. In turn, let me recommend another Brit folk band that doesn’t seem to care about US success, Phat Bollard.
Listen to Mumford & Sons. Fantastic. Alternative Folk music. Unbelievably good live. Really great. The rest of that list is mostly crap.
Nickleback is on the list. Now you can really get sick.
I admit, I did like their “Rock Star” song though.
Blake Shelton-country (God Gave Me You)
Zac Brown-country (Goodbye In Her Eyes)
Miranda Lambert-country (Fastest Girl In Town)
Toby Keith-country (Courtesy of the Red White and Blue) (Hope on the rocks)
Rascal Flatts-country (Changed)
Eric Church-country (Like Jesus Does)
Carrie Underwood-country (Blown Away)(Two Black Cadillacs)
Brad Paisley-country (Southern Comfort Zone)
Lady Antebellum-country (Wanted You More)
Jason Aldean-country (Fly Over States)
Tim McGraw-country (One Of Those Nights)
Ahhh...another country music fan.
RE: What would make you think they were from Oregon, of all places??
The name sounds like a small business some American would have started and then passed on to his kids.
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