Taylor Swift Leads Billboard's 2012 Top 40 Money Makers -- See the Full List
Taylor Swift Leads Billboard's 2012 Top 40 Money Makers -- See the Full List

40

Linkin Park

Linkin Park spent the majority of last year touring the globe to promote its 2010 album, A Thousand Suns, which was also the group's best-selling 2011 title with U.S. sales of 208,000. The set debuted at No. 1 in September 2010 with 241,000 first-week copies sold. Linkin Park sold a total of 657,000 albums and 3.7 million digital tracks in 2011. Live, the group performed throughout Australia, Europe and Asia, grossing $7 million alone from 10 U.S. arena shows. Overall, Linkin Park's take in 2011 came out to $5.2 million.
list divider
39

Kanye West

The rapper's November 2010 release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, rocked through all of 2011 as he leveraged its success by releasing collaborative album Watch the Throne with Jay-Z. West reaped the multiplying power from both projects, as well as earlier hits, by moving 1.1 million albums (physical and digital) and 3.4 million digital tracks. Right after releasing Throne, the two rappers ventured out on a U.S. tour that grossed $29.3 million. Now working on a G.O.O.D. Music compilation and prepping a new album, West is sitting pretty on last year's net earnings of $5.4 million.
list divider
38

Mötley Crüe

Three decades after forming, Los Angeles hard rock icon Mötley Crüe is still blazing a trail. On the road is where the Crüe did the majority of its business in 2011, grossing nearly $14.2 million from 28 dates and playing for 255,182 headbangers during its June-August arena/amphitheater run with supporting acts Poison and the New York Dolls. Famed for its outrageous concert production, on this tour drummer Tommy Lee's kit was outfitted with a roller-coaster loop he actually rode on while playing-and one lucky fan also got strapped in for the ride almost every night. During the year, Mötley Crüe sold more than 700,000 digital tracks and 183,000-plus copies of its various albums.
list divider
37

Steely Dan

Steely Dan hasn't released a new studio album since Everything Must Go in 2003, but it's remained active in the touring space during the past decade despite the slow drip of studio recordings. In 2011, the act's album and digital track sales earnings were nominal compared with its touring revenue. The group sold 141,000 albums and 438,000 tracks last year. With plenty of catalog material from the '70s to fill up set lists, Steely Dan grossed $14.7 million from 50 U.S. theater and amphitheater dates. Highlights from that trek included a seven-night run at New York's Beacon Theatre in September.
list divider
36

New Kids On The Block

Like tour mates Backstreet Boys (No. 33), the re-formed New Kids on the Block earned quite a bit in 2011 thanks to the co-headlining NKOTBSB tour. The bill was the 17th-most successful tour last year. Traveling across North America, Europe and Australia, the New Kids performed their hits onstage with BSB (and vice versa), and this year the tour is playing overseas. While the group hasn't recorded an album of new material since 2008, a compilation of both groups' greatest hits, a pair of joint recordings and a mashup pushed NKOTB's album sales to nearly 83,000 units in 2011.
list divider
35

Justin Bieber

A break from touring the United States pushed Justin Bieber lower in the rankings, but don't feel bad for him-he still closed out 2011 at No. 9 on Billboard's year-end Top Artists chart, thanks to what appears to be an unending appetite for his music. Under the Mistletoe (his first Christmas collection) and dance mix compilation Never Say Never: The Remixes both debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Mistletoe sold 1.3 million copies while Remixes sold 824,000. In total, Bieber sold 3.4 million albums and 6.9 million digital tracks in 2011, despite the fact that he didn't tour domestically.
list divider
34

Sugarland

For star country duo Sugarland, last year was marred by a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August, a tragedy that resulted in seven deaths. (A lawsuit brought by fair-goers and their families cites the group's negligence in preparing to go on, despite the high winds.) But the ongoing support of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush by loyal fans can be measured by sales in 2011 of 2010's The Incredible Machine (324,000) and total album sales of more than 550,000 units. Enthusiasm for the pair's live shows never waned, either-Sugarland earned more than $4 million from an extensive 2011 tour that continued through the end of the year.
list divider
33

Backstreet Boys

Ranking a few notches above tour mates New Kids on the Block (No. 36), Backstreet Boys grossed $15.8 million last year, mostly from the combination NKOTBSB tour. The show, which features BSB and New Kids performing their hits together, kicked off in May with more than 50 North American dates, and continues with overseas dates through this spring. The Boys came off their own tour just a few months before hitting the road with NKOTB, which could explain their higher rank on the Money Makers list. In 2011 the two groups released a compilation of their combined greatest hits, two new joint recordings and a mashup. Total album sales for BSB came in at 120,000 units for the year.
list divider
32

Rush

The Canadian prog-rock power trio remains a mighty draw on the road, thanks to the band's deep catalog of anthems like "Tom Sawyer," "Closer to the Heart" and "The Spirit of Radio," and the chops of bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart. The band's Time Machine tour continued through the first half of 2011, grossing $14.1 million in the United States and netting $4.8 million. Rush also made noise at retail, generating U.S. album sales of 431,000 units. Adding to the revenue mix: a concert recording titled "Time Machine: Live in Cleveland 2011" debuted and peaked at No. 54 on the Billboard 200 in November, with the live show kicking off a new deal with Roadrunner Records.
list divider
31

Foo Fighters

Last April, Foo Fighters scored their first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with the aggressive Wasting Light, the band's seventh full-length set. The Dave Grohl-led Foos solidified their credibility among rock fans by tapping producer Butch Vig, who helmed Nirvana's Nevermind, to record the set on analog tape in Grohl's home garage. Wasting Light debuted with 235,000 copies sold in its first week, helping push the group's overall album sales to 986,000 in 2011, along with 1.6 million digital tracks last year. A stellar live act, the Foos' primary source of revenue in 2011 came from touring arenas. The five-piece grossed $10.6 million from just 18 U.S. concerts that drew close to 219,000 people.
list divider

Text by Judy Cantor-Navas, Phil Gallo, Andrew Hampp, Louis Hau, Jason Lipshutz, Jillian Mapes, Gail Mitchell, Glenn Peoples, Mitchell Peters, Deborah Evans Price, Erika Ramirez, Christa Titus, Ray Waddell

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print