You Won’t Believe The Top 10 Highest Paid Artists
When you think of highest paid artists you think of the most popular at the moment, but that’s not necessarily who made the big money last year. Artists like Drake and Taylor Swift took a back seat to some of the biggest legacy artists when it comes to the highest paid, and it all comes down to touring. When you get to this level in the business, if you tour, you make the big bucks and the Top 50 chart from Billboard proves it. Let’s look at the Top 10 earners for last year.
1. U2 – $54.4 million. $1.1 million came from sales, $626.5k came from streaming, $702k from publishing and $52 million from touring on only 28 dates.
2. Garth Brooks – $52.2 million. $4.2 million from sales, $190k from publishing, $569k from streaming and $46.7 million from touring.
3. Metallica – $43.2 million. $8.7 from sales, $1.6 million from publishing, $2.2 million from streaming and $30.7 million from touring.
4. Bruno Mars – $40.7 million. $2.6 million from sales, $2.8 million from streaming, $3.2million from publishing and $33.4 from touring.
5. Ed Sheeran – $31.3 million. $4 million from sales, $4.2 million from streaming, $1.4million from publishing and $19.9 from touring.
6. Lady Gaga – $29.7 million. $26.5 millionfrom touring.
7. Billy Joel – $29.2 million. $27.4 million from touring.
8. Guns N’ Roses – $27.8 million. $25.9 million from touring.
9. Roger Waters – $27.2 million. $25.2 million from touring.
10. Coldplay – $26.5 million. $22.5 million of the total can be attributed to touring.
The previously mentioned Drake came in at #37 and made $12.1 million, while Taylor Swift came in at #48 and made $9.3 million. These relatively low revenue figures were because neither artist toured last year.
What these figures illustrate is that some things never change in the music business, and one of them is the fact that most of a major artist’s income comes from touring.
Obviously this isn’t the case for artists that haven’t reached that level, since it’s always been difficult to be on the road at most levels of the business. But when you reach “the big time,” you can count on more than a reasonable paycheck, as revenue from multiple streams add up fast, although the biggest chunk still comes from being on the road.
All that said, these figures were U.S. totals only (since Billboard has easy access to those numbers), and artists that spent their time touring out of the country might have ranked higher on the list if those totals were known.