Music's Top 40 Money Makers 2013


Billboard ranks the highest-paid musicians of the past 12 months.

The world may be going more digital by the second, but live is still the big cash driver for the top 40 earners on our annual musician Moneymakers list.

Read More: Madonna, Springsteen Lead 2013 Money Makers

Reported and written by Keith Caulfield, Ed Christman, Alex Gale, Andrew Hampp, Gordon Murray, Mitchell Peters, Ray Rogers and Ray Waddell

2012 List of Music's Top 40 Money Makers

  1. 40

    Blake Shelton $5,914,591.11

    BLAKE SHELTONShelton 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.

  2. 39

    Mumford & Sons $6,168,737.62

    MUMFORD AND SONSUnlike 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.

  3. 38

    Rod Stewart $6,459,568.26

    ROD STEWARTStewart'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 revenue‹a healthy number for a veteran artist.

  4. 37

    Zac Brown Band $6,682,797.58

    ZAC BROWN BANDLast 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).

  5. 36

    Andrea Bocelli $6,732,442.76

    ANDREA BOCELLIAhead 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.

  6. 35

    Journey $6,983,106.58

    JOURNEYTouring 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.

  7. 34

    Jay-Z $7,011,905.17

    JAY-ZJay-Z earned about $1.1 million from digital and physical album sales last year, but the bulk of his revenue‹$4.7 million‹came from Watch the Throne tour dates with fellow rapper Kanye West.

  8. 33

    Maroon 5 $7,159,923.53

    MAROON 5Behind 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.

  9. 32

    The Black Keys $7,358,679.41

    THE BLACK KEYSThe 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.

  10. 31

    Phish $7,382,514.39

    PHISHKnown 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.

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    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.

  11. 30

    One Direction $7,955,840.71

    ONE DIRECTIONWith 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.

  12. 29

    Elton John $8,575,518.13

    ELTON JOHNThe 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.

  13. 28

    Rush $8,719,834.30

    RUSHWith 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.

  14. 27

    Miranda Lambert $8,818,536.04

    MIRANDA LAMBERTLambert 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.

  15. 26

    The Rolling Stones $9,276,084.10

    THE ROLLING STONESAmerican 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 shows‹yes, just five‹grossed $21.6 million as fans opened their wallets to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary.

  16. 25

    Red Hot Chili Peppers $9,477,807.56

    RED HOT CHILI PEPPERSThe 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.

  17. 24

    Drake $9,504,992.38

    DRAKEDrake'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.

  18. 23

    Toby Keith $9,805,764.04

    TOBY KEITHWith 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.

  19. 22

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra $9,959,362.28

    TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRAThe 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.

  20. 21

    Neil Diamond $10,498,985.38

    NEIL DIAMONDDiamond'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.

    NEXT PAGE: 20-11

  21. 20

    Barbra Streisand $10,611,419.16

    BARBRA STREISANDWhile 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.

  22. 19

    Rascal Flatts $10,777,282.68

    RASCAL FLATTSOne 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.

  23. 18

    Eric Church $11,015,773.11

    ERIC CHURCHChurch 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.

  24. 17

    Nickelback $11,121,419.71

    NICKELBACKThe 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.

  25. 16

    Carrie Underwood $11,942,956.65

    CARRIE UNDERWOODNow 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.

  26. 15

    Taylor Swift $12,695,783.32

    TAYLOR SWIFTSwift 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.

  27. 14

    Brad Paisley $12,848,724.84

    BRAD PAISLEYPaisley'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.

  28. 13

    Celine Dion $12,927,494.01

    CELINE DIONDion 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.

  29. 12

    Lady Antebellum $12,968,992.17

    LADY ANTEBELLUMThe 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.

  30. 11

    Adele $13,906,635.76

    ADELEAdele 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.

    NEXT PAGE: 10-1

  31. 10

    Justin Bieber $15,944,293.10

    JUSTIN BIEBERThough 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.

  32. 9

    Coldplay $17,300,144.34

    COLDPLAYComing 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.

  33. 8

    Jason Aldean $17,578,651.96

    JASON ALDEANA 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.

  34. 7

    Tim McGraw $18,329,167.89

    TIM MCGRAWMcGraw'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.

  35. 6

    Dave Matthews Band $18,903,334.14

    DAVE MATTHEWS BANDOne 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.

  36. 5

    Kenny Chesney $19,148,525.24

    KENNY CHESNEYThe 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.

  37. 4

    Van Halen $20,184,709.91

    VAN HALENIts 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.

  38. 3

    Roger Waters $21,160,131.06

    ROGER WATERSWith 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.

  39. 2

    Bruce Springsteen $33,443,606.64

    BRUCE SPRINGSTEENSince 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.

  40. 1

    Madonna $34,577,308.62

    MADONNAThanks 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

    2012 List of Music's Top 40 Money Makers


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