Billboard ranks the highest-paid musicians of the past 12 months.
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.
Dave Matthews Band
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 catalog‹and the group's willingness to tap into its older musical legacy‹is 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