Music's Top 40 Money Makers 2014: The Rich List
Billboard ranks the highest-paid musicians of the past year.
Who makes the biggest bucks in music? Billboard’s annual Money Makers ranking of the top earners is more than a little bit country (Taylor storms in at No. 1), with plenty of hip-hop and a whole lot of rock’n’roll (Stones! Eagles! Mumford!). Plus: how Celine Dion made $11 million in a single room. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to read the methodology of how this list was formulated).
Read More: Taylor Swift Leads 2014 Money Makers List
Reporting by Keith Caulfield, Ed Christman, Phil Gallo, Gary Graff, Jeff Miller, Gail Mitchell, Gordon Murray, Melinda Newman, Colin Stutz, Roy Trakin, Ray Waddell and Chris Willman.
Taylor Swift 2013 Earnings: $39,699,575.60
Physical, digital, touring — Taylor Swift, 23, crushed it on pretty much every level in 2013, with merchandising, branding and sponsorships (not factored into her total haul) only upping her stature as a mainstream go-to. Indeed, Swift has hit that sweet-spot demo that captures revenue from every angle. Her album sales are eighth among all of Billboard’s Money Makers and trail only Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton among country acts. On the digital front, Swift is an elite artist at nearly 10 million downloads, ranking sixth, and she’s fifth in streaming royalties, leaving her country peers in the dust.
But where the singer truly shines is in touring, perhaps the best metric of fan passion. Swift’s revenue from six months of touring the United States on the global Red Tour tops all of her fellow Money Makers with an estimated take of $30 million. Beyond her take of ticket receipts, the tour boasted three integrated sponsorships (Keds, Elizabeth Arden, Diet Coke) whose estimated cash value is believed to be in the high seven figures, and, at $17 per head in merch sales, Swift stands to bring in an additional $10 million gross.
Kenny Chesney 2013 Earnings: $32,956,240.70
Second only to Garth Brooks among country acts with the most No. 1s on the Billboard 200, 45-year-old Chesney remains one of the most consistent earners in the music industry. Solidly strong on the content side — digital and physical — Chesney’s 2013 release, "Life on a Rock," was the artist’s seventh chart-topper, while on the touring front he’s country’s stadium king, having topped 1 million in attendance for 10 consecutive tours, including this year’s $90 million No Shoes Nation trek. Chesney will take a touring breather in 2014 but doesn’t plan on slowing down when it comes to business interests beyond music.
Justin Timberlake 2013 Earnings: $31,463,297.03
After taking a seven-year break from music, Justin Timberlake returned in explosive fashion in 2013, releasing his first album since 2006 and touring stadiums both by himself and with Jay Z (see tour photos). To say that Timberlake’s fans responded vigorously would be an understatement. Led by "The 20/20 Experience," the 33-year-old singer-turned-actor generated more than 2 million physical a
The artist particularly impressed with digital sales, collecting more than $5 million in royalties from albums, tracks and streaming. At radio, “Suit & Tie” generated the highest first-week plays in Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart history. JT delivered on ticket sales, too. His Legends of the Summer trek with Jay Z generated $60 million from a dozen shows. On his own, he grossed $43 million and performed in front of nearly 1 million fans between two legs and 39 shows.
Bon Jovi 2013 Earnings: $29,436,801.04
Bon Jovi’s global appeal dwarfs its touring performance in the United States. The band’s Because We Can Tour was the top-grossing trek of 2013 — and marked the third time in six years that Bon Jovi had come out on top. Of its 2013 gross, a take of $83 million represents less than half of the band’s gross receipts generated from a relentless schedule of playing stadiums around the world. Still, these Jersey boys did more than all right on these shores — the band released its fifth album to top the Billboard 200, "What About Now," in 2013.
And it’s no surprise that Bon Jovi’s immensely popular stable of songs continues to drive strong digital track sales, with more than 1.5 million downloads producing nearly $300,000 in royalties. Streaming royalties are also catching up, approaching $150,000. But while Bon Jovi clearly still can produce chart-topping albums, this is a touring band. Road-warrior revenue streams include robust merch sales, likely in the eight-figure range. That means that even those who might miss the show can still get the T-shirt, as fans have, spending an estimated $2 million per year in online merch purchases.
The Rolling Stones 2013 Earnings: $26,225,121.71
If you thought The Rolling Stones were fading as a live act, you would be wrong. A tour by the game-changing rockers remains not only a big deal but a big draw, as evidenced by the hefty offers they received for a limited North American run in 2013 to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary. AEG Live ended up scoring The Stones’ North American promoter rights, with a guarantee believed to be in the $80 million range for 15 shows. Despite the predictable negativity about ticket prices, The Stones did what they do best: sell out every show, averaging a whopping $4.7 million gross and 14,000 in attendance at U.S. arenas.
The Stones also pushed new product, adding a couple of new studio songs to their last greatest-hits package, the 50-track "Grrr!" The band’s canon remains one of the most revered in rock: In 2013, it sold nearly 300,000 physical units and 1.5 million track downloads. As it has for decades, the live experience drives the merch cash train for The Stones. While the band probably didn’t pull in the staggering per-caps of nearly $40 per person, a
five-show minitour of 2012 grossed an estimated $15 million in merch sales
— a conservative number, as it’s not counting massive sales from online and retail outlets through Bravado. Beyond that, a multifaceted tour partnership with Citi was worth another $5 million to the band, according to sources.
Beyoncé 2013 Earnings: $24,429,176.86
Between her nonstop touring and game-changing surprise iTunes album release, Beyonce certainly made the world bow down in 2013. Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 617,000 in its first week, fifth studio album Beyonce accounted for 1.3 million of her total 1.6 million in album sales last year. Starting 2013 with the same bang she ended it with, Beyonce, 32, left her fierce imprint on the Super Bowl halftime show before embarking on the 132-date Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Coming in at No. 8 on Billboard’s ranking of the top 25 tours of 2013, the trek had grossed $104.4 million, $59 million for the U.S. leg. Beyonce’s take? $19.9 million.
Maroon 5 2013 Earnings: $22,284,754.07
Frontman Adam Levine, 34, may be best-known for his role on NBC’s The Voice, but his band’s top 10 standing is due primarily to its tour revenue, which totaled upwards of $17.6 million in 2013. The tally included the group’s headlining slot on the 12th run of the annual Honda Civic Tour, along with a hometown bow at the Hollywood Bowl. The band’s track sales, meanwhile — including “Payphone,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100; “One More Night,” which topped the Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks; and “Daylight,” which went to No. 7 — racked up a total of 7.6 million, worth $1.4 million, which almost equaled Maroon 5’s royalties on catalog album sales.
Luke Bryan 2013 Earnings: $22,142,235.98
The fastest-rising country star since Taylor Swift is renowned for shaking his moneymaker and clearly all that shimmying paid off, with 2.7 million albums and 7.6 million digital tracks sold. Add in the $15.4 million take Bryan, 37, got from his 2013 touring, and he can afford to replace however many pairs of tight jeans that might bust at the seams. A grinning, good-time persona won him a co-hosting job at the Academy of Country Music Awards — where he played good cop to Blake Shelton’s edgier lean — and an Entertainer of the Year trophy on the same night. He’ll possibly repeat both of those feats at this year’s ACMs in April.
P!nk 2013 Earnings: $20,072,072.32
Billboard’s 2013 Woman of the Year didn’t confine her high-flying skills to arena ceilings. The 34-year-old singer took home $15.1 million from the U.S. half of her blockbuster international tour, which included a record-breaking 18 consecutive sellouts in Melbourne, Australia. Pink also oared on the charts. Her first No. 1 album, 2012’s "The Truth About Love," accounted for 934,000 of the 1.3 million albums she sold last year. The set’s 2013 Hot 100 top 10s, “Try” (No. 9) and “Just Give Me a Reason” featuring Nate Ruess (No. 1), powered P!nk’s digital song sales to 8 million and $1.4 million in royalties.
Fleetwood Mac 2013 Earnings: $19,123,101.98
As befits this classic rock mainstay, the bulk of Fleetwood Mac’s earnings came from its 2013 world tour, which covered 34 cities and take-home pay of $17.4 million. The trek’s high point included three nights at London’s O2 Arena. There, Christine McVie, 70, joined the band for the final two shows to perform “Don’t Stop” — a prelude to her coming back full-time for 2014’s Reunion Tour (that trek was potentially sidetracked due to the recent cancer diagnosis of John McVie, 68). The band also released its first new studio material in a decade, "Extended Play." It reached No. 48 on the Billboard 200.
METHODOLOGY: The data used to compile Money Makers was supplied by Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen BDS and Billboard Boxscore. Artists are ranked by U.S. earnings, calculated from touring, recorded- music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming. Due to a lack of data, revenue from sponsor- ship, merchandising and synchronization isn’t included. For album and track sales, Billboard assumed a royalty rate of 20 percent of retail, minus producers’ fees. Billboard treated all streaming revenue as derived from licensing deals and split that to calculate the artist’s take. Billboard applied statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales and Copyright Royalty Board-determined rates or -approved formulas for streaming. For labels’ direct deals with interactive services, Billboard used a blended rate of $0.00525 for audio and $0.005 for video streams. Billboard subtracted a manager’s fee of 10 percent. For box office, each artist was credited with 34 percent of the gross, typically what’s left after the promoter and manager’s cuts and other costs are subtracted.
Justin Bieber 2013 Earnings: $18,873,458.41
One of the world’s richest teens was also among 2013’s busiest — taking his 220-date, $15 million-earning Believe Tour around the world. Bieber’s earnings on the recorded side pale in comparison, with digital track royalties and streaming royalties bringing in nearly $1 million each. That’s in part because Bieber, 20, didn’t release a new album in 2013, opting instead for the nontraditional rollout of a series of "Journals" tracks, all of which charted. A Twitter-declared “retirement” signals an uncertain future for the pop star, who’s increasingly leaning toward an R&B sound.
Bruno Mars 2013 Earnings: $18,839,681
Before his standout Super Bowl performance, the tireless Bruno Mars, 28, wowed fans on the sold-out Moonshine Jungle Tour, which finished at No. 23 on Billboard’s list of the top 25 tours of 2013, grossing $46.4 million. In addition to Mars’ share of that revenue ($12.2 million), the previous year marked the indefatigable artist’s chart-topping ascent with "Unorthodox Jukebox." Selling 1.4 million in 2013 and charting four Hot 100 hits, including No. 1s “Locked Out of Heaven” and “When I Was Your Man,” these feats helped crown Mars as Billboard’s 2013 Artist of the Year.
One Direction 2013 Earnings: $18,041,472.69
Thanks to the 3-D concert doc "One Direction: This Is Us" and a chart-topping third studio album, "Midnight Memories," British boy band One Direction raked in revenue from multiple streams. But, not surprisingly, it’s the group’s touring record that makes up the bulk of its earnings, totaling some $12 million. The group’s music sales were nothing to scoff at either, however. Only the second boy band to reach at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first three albums (following The Monkees in 1967), its 1.3 million CD albums sold in 2013 brought in an additional $2.4 million, with another $1.5 million attributed to streaming royalties — chief among them radio hit “Story of My Life.”
Jason Aldean 2013 Earnings: $17,896,191.98
Aldean, 37, was between full-length releases in 2013 — otherwise his tally of 836,000 albums would have been much higher. But his sales of nearly 5 million digital tracks reflect his astonishing run at radio: Of his last 14 singles, 10 reached No. 1, while another three hit No. 2. His take from a long, rowdy run of sold-out amphitheater shows came in at $15.2 million, not far off from Luke Bryan’s high-water mark for country males. You would think an extra $505,000 in streaming royalties would make him smile, but it’ll take more than that to force a grin on country’s most straight-faced star.
George Strait 2013 Earnings: $16,002,761.63
Nothing brings in cash like a superstar threatening to go away, but the truth is, Strait, 61, sells out arenas even when his tours aren’t being billed as farewell treks. His $13.8 million return from his The Cowboy Rides Away valedictory jaunt will pay for a lot of months of Netflix if he truly retires from the road. He pulled an upset in November at the Country Music Association Awards, winning Entertainer of the Year over the youngsters, so you could hardly blame him for joking — or was he? — about a “Cowboy Rides Back” reprise.
Jay Z 2013 Earnings: $15,652,428.82
As the other half of Billboard’s 2014 No. 1 Power Players duo with wife Beyonce, Jay Z, 44, sparked both excitement and controversy when he aligned with Samsung to release "Magna Carta ... Holy Grail." That unprecedented promotion didn’t hurt sales of the album. It entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, selling 528,000 copies out of the gate and giving the rapper his best sales week since 2006’s "Kingdom Come." Racking up robust digital song (7.3 million) and digital album sales (861,000), Jay Z also hit the road twice: first with Justin Timberlake, then as a headliner on his own Magna Carter World Tour. The former, which ranked 15th on Billboard’s top 25 tours of 2013, grossed $69.8 million. Jay Z’s 2013 U.S. concert take stands at $10.8 million.
Michael Bublé 2013 Earnings: $14,478,084
While Michael Bublé’s 2013 album "To Be Loved" is having a slower than expected climb to platinum, the 38-year-old singer can still get fans in seats. In 2013, the crooner generated revenue of $14.5 million — those live shows accounted for more than three-quarters of Bublé’s total take, as his U.S. tour brought in nearly $11.4 million. Meanwhile, royalties from recorded music tend to tilt toward physical and, when digital, toward sales as opposed to streaming. Bublé’s latest release accounted for about half of the 1.4 million albums the artist scanned in the United States in 2013, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His previous five albums — all multiplatinum releases, ranging from 2.3 million to 3.8 million in cumulative sales — accounted for the other half.
Mumford & Sons 2013 Earnings: $14,172,940.87
The British folk-rockers announced in September 2013 that they would be going on hiatus “for a considerable amount of time” to begin writing new music. With the bulk of their revenue coming from touring, which injected $9.4 million into their coffers thanks to a yearlong trek that hit cities in the United States (including two nights at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center) and Canada before heading to Europe in March and April, that means considerably less income in the months ahead — good thing the band’s "Babel" album, which came out in September 2012, is still selling. Last year the band’s albums counted for $2.8 million of the group’s take.
Dave Matthews Band 2013 Earnings: $13,932,731.14
Another major tour means another major moneymaking year for the stalwart Virginia frat-rockers. DMB took in just shy of $14 million in 2013, with the bulk of the group’s earnings coming from its summer shed tour. Even without a new release, the band earned nearly half a million in album sales and streaming royalties, and its total doesn’t include merch (DMB’s T-shirts and other products are sold through the act’s in-house Bama Rags operation), or the 47-year-old’s Matthews’ interest in ATO Records, of which he’s a co-founder.
Rihanna 2013 Earnings: $13,794,186.16
The Barbados-born and -bred singer continued her chart assault with multiple hit singles, all emerging from her first U.S. No. 1 album, the fiery 2012 release "Unapologetic." She kicked off 2013 with “Stay,” the follow-up to Hot 100 chart-topper “Diamonds.” Its momentum (reaching No. 3) and that of subsequent singles “Pour It Up,” “Loveeeeeee Song” and “Right Now” helped contribute to $10.9 million in digital song sales. Also cushioning the star’s bottom line: her Diamonds Tour. Launched in March 2013, the trek finished at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 25 Tours year-end chart, grossing $138 million and netting the 26-year-old a cool $9.3 million for the U.S. leg.
Paul McCartney 2013 Earnings: $13,769,479.16
The Beatles’ 50th anniversary helped McCartney generate some $13 million in concert grosses. His "New" album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, generating first-week sales of 67,000 on its way to a total of 235,000. Further perspective: In 2013, McCartney, 71, played to more than 100,000 people for two performances in Mexico City, which grossed nearly $6 million. His U.S. Out There Tour included shows in either arenas or ballparks in seven cities, starting in Orlando, Fla., on May 18 and wrapping July 19 at Seattle’s Safeco Field, with stops in Austin; Memphis; Tulsa, Okla.; Boston (Fenway Park); Indianapolis; Milwaukee; and Washington, D.C.
The Eagles 2013 Earnings: $13,026,210.18
A touring monolith, The Eagles continue to fly, generating more than $11 million on the road with their 77-date History of the Eagles Tour, which began July 6 in Louisville, Ky., and ran through Nov. 23 in Orlando, Fla., in conjunction with their HBO documentary of the same name. Don Henley, 66, said the jaunt, which will continue through 2015, “could very well be our last.” The group also racked up some 1.5 million in track sales, good for another $278,000.
Celine Dion 2013 Earnings: $12,755,539.71
Concert income represented a pinch more than 90 percent of the 45-year-old’s take in 2013. The $11.8 million she netted came from 60 Caesars Palace performances in Las Vegas. Her only other North American show last year was in Quebec City. "Loved Me Back to Life," Dion’s first English-language album in six years, debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and sold 224,000 in 2013. Her physical album sales were nearly one-third of her digital sales, 334,000 vs. 913,000.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra 2013 Earnings: $12,473,798.20
Perennial Christmas touring juggernaut Trans-Siberian Orchestra racked up nearly 95 percent of its $12.5 million in total U.S. revenue from live shows. But without a new release in 2013 to fuel trips to the store, its record sales last year reached about 289,000 units, versus the 8.9 million TSO has scanned since its inception in 1996. While some acts perform better digitally, TSO isn’t one of them, with less than a fifth of its total 252,000 in U.S. scans in 2013 coming from digital albums. Ironically, even though it rang up more in touring revenue in 2013 than in 2012, TSO fell in the rankings to No. 27 from No. 22 in 2012.
Phish 2013 Earnings: $12,406,611.95
A favorite of Phish fans is the live staple “Bouncin’ Round the Room,” a sentiment the band members could embrace literally thanks to their 2013 financials. Indeed, the longstanding jam band is still a no-questions-asked arena blockbuster, pulling in more than $11 million in touring revenue without an exhaustive schedule. Sure, the group continues to affirm the stereotype of superior live recordings versus studio efforts: Phish sold just 52,000 albums last year (both physical and digital), yet clearly continues to command audiences for its entirely unpredictable concerts.
Kanye West 2013 Earnings: $11,574,833.92
Though West raked in more than $11.5 million in 2013, it’s hard to imagine anything other than the 36-year-old rapper drinking away his pain in some Parisian lounge. His albums, including chart-topping "Yeezus", sold less than a million units, for a total of $677,559.17 in physical royalties and just shy of a clean million in digital. A tour helped his stash, though — even though he was masked for most of the shows, his payday was from touring revenue exceeded $7.5 million.
Blake Shelton 2013 Earnings: $10,349,774.77
Shelton’s earnings as an artist are only part of the story, since he also pockets a TV paycheck his competitors can’t claim. But the 37-year-old’s musical career hasn’t fallen into the moonlighting category. Dividing his year into thirds — the winter season of "The Voice" followed by a summer tour followed by "The Voice"’s fall season — limited his gigging time but he still brought home $5.9 million from the road. Among male country stars, Shelton was second only to his ACM Awards co-host Luke Bryan in physical album sales (1.3 million copies), digital albums (453,000) and single downloads (6.9 million).
John Mayer 2013 Earnings: $10,010,017.17
The return of John Mayer and his surgically repaired vocal cords proved profitable during the past year. Touring with a new album, "Paradise Valley" — as well as playing Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival and dallying with Katy Perry (personally and musically, on the single “Who You Love”) — Mayer, 36, pulled in $10 million, including nearly $7.8 million in tour revenue from an extensive itinerary that included a stop at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. His digital album royalties ($602,000) beat out his physical take ($520,000), while Mayer also took in $355,480 in digital track sales and $371,519 in streaming royalties.
New Kids on the Block 2013 Earnings: $9,938,526.59
A 20-year career arc has paid off hand-somely for New Kids on the Block, whose well-attended tour netted the band an estimated $9.6 million in 2013. Also making an impact on the album charts, NKOTB returned with its 10th album, aptly titled "10," which debuted and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. It spawned the hit single “Remix (I Like The),” which reached No. 38 on the Adult Top 40 chart and moved 97,000 downloads in 2013.
Zac Brown Band 2013 Earnings: $9,888,213.32
Last year, Zac Brown Band snagged the best country album Grammy for "Uncaged." The Georgia-based country act also scored on the road, with the bulk of its 2013 earnings coming from touring: ZBB made $8.6 million from roadwork, including headlining the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif., and three sellouts at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater. Hits like “Jump Right In” and “Sweet Annie” reached the upper tier of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and earned the band $231,365 in streaming royalties.
Imagine Dragons 2013 Earnings: $9,448,031.68
Jimmy Buffett 2013 Earnings: $9,404,015.71
Elton John 2013 Earnings: $9,369,224.53
Rascal Flatts 2013 Earnings: $9,215,475.78
Rush 2013 Earnings: $9,050,583.42
Miranda Lambert 2013 Earnings: $8,831,605.89
Lil Wayne 2013 Earnings: $8,788,416.66
Tim McGraw 2013 Earnings: $8,761,716.61
Eminem 2013 Earnings: $8,524,782.99
Carrie Underwood 2013 Earnings: $8,051,483.55