Billboard Money-Makers List: Music's Top Earners of 2014

Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan of One Direction perform onstage during Z100's Jingle Ball 2012
Kevin Kane/Getty Images

Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan of One Direction perform onstage at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2012 in New York City.  

Billboard ranks the highest-paid musicians of the past year.

The measure of artistic success isn't easy to pin down -- and its not easy to quantify, either. Ten of Billboard's top reporters drilled down on artists' primary music-based revenue streams to determine who, from newcomers to legends, brought home the most bacon in 2014.

For further analysis on the data behind our list, like most lucrative revenue streams and genres, head this way.

(Scroll down to read the methodology of how this list was formulated)

No. 1 -- One Direction's Where We Are stadium tour was the biggest draw of 2014, attended by more than 3.4 million fans in five months. That translated into a total $40.7 million box-office take, or an average of $8 million apiece for the prefab group's members -- 21-year-olds Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne (the youngest artists on this list); the recently departed Zayn Malik, 22; and Louis Tomlinson, 23. Though Malik's exit clouds the band's future, 1D's recorded music showed no signs of lag in 2014: More than 1.3 million album sales and 716.1 million streams meant $4.8 million in combined royalties.

No. 2 -- Katy Perry's 2013 Prism album and 46-city Prismatic Tour generated a double rainbow of earnings, including $3.2 million in music sales royalties.

No. 3 -- Justin Timberlake's "Not a Bad Thing" single was a good thing. Music sales royalties totaled $2.8 million and made JT the No. 1 solo male Billboard Hot 100 artist.

No. 4 -- Billy Joel netted $25.3 million with gigs at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, plus a historic monthly residency at Madison Square Garden.

No. 5 -- Released 39 years ago, the Eagles' Greatest Hits 1971-1975 still sold almost 116,000 copies in 2014.

No. 6 -- Country's biggest star, Luke Bryan generated $3.8 million in music sales royalties even though his last album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013.

No. 7 -- The 1D lads can only hope they'll have the longevity of Paul McCartney, who, at 72, is the oldest artist on this list, and still touring like a teenager. His U.S. live shows netted $20.8 million.

No. 8 -- Although he began topping country charts in the pre-Internet '80s, George Strait moved nearly 3 million digital tracks and 74 million on-demand streams.

No. 9 -- Jay Z's $456,000 in streaming royalties is the eighth-highest in the category, and, if Tidal is a success, his take should be bigger in 2015.

No. 10 -- Jason Aldean could have added "Big Money" to the title of his 2014 album, Old Boots, New Dirt. The LP contributed to $3 million in sales royalties.

NEXT: 11-20

METHODOLOGY: Money Makers was compiled with Nielsen Music and Billboard Boxscore, 2014 U.S. data only. Revenue from merchandising, synchronization and sponsorship is not included. The following royalty rates, minus a 4 percent producer's fee, were used: album and track sales, 22 percent of retail revenue; streaming revenue, 22 percent for current acts and 50 percent for heritage acts. Publishing royalties were estimated using statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales and the Copyright Royalty Board streaming formula; for labels' direct deals with interactive services, blended audio and video rates of, respectively, $0.0075 and $0.0045. (A 10 percent manager's fee was deducted from each category.) Touring revenue equals 34 percent of an act's Boxscore.

No. 11 -- Bruno Mars was the top-selling U.S. artist in track sales in 2014 with 12 million downloads, which helped boost his music sales royalties to $3.6 million.

No. 12 -- After releasing her eponymous fifth album in December 2013, Beyonc√© reaped $3.5 million in combined music sales and streaming royalties.

No. 13 -- Despite a kidney infection that curtailed her Dressed to Kill Tour, Cher still shined at the box office, taking home $15.5 million for 49 shows.

No. 14 -- Miley Cyrus, 22, who along with 1D's Zayn Malik is the second-youngest artist on this list, netted $11.2 million on her Bangerz Tour, which was 81 percent of her 2014 earnings.

No. 15 -- Taylor Swift's royalties from music sales and publishing trounce everyone else in those categories.

No. 16 -- Dave Matthews Band has always been first and foremost a live act, as its $12.5 million box-office take proves.

No. 17 -- Lady Gaga won a Grammy for Cheek to Cheek, her duets album with Tony Bennett, but $10.5 million from live shows paid the bills.

No. 18 -- Britney Spears' Las Vegas residency netted $12.1 million and likely helped sell 2.2 million tracks.

No. 19 -- A 26-date U.S. summer tour gave Zac Brown Band $10.3 million. That's a lot of beard-grooming products.

No. 20 -- After debuting at No. 1 in November 2013, Eminem's eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, accounted for 38 percent of the 1.4 million albums he sold in 2014, bringing the rapper's sales royalties to $4.2 million and netting the 42-year-old the highest streaming royalties on this list. In terms of publishing, his $1.5 million puts him in second place in the category, and the three-city, six-date Monster Tour he did with Rihanna put $5.2 million in his pocket.

NEXT: 21-30

No. 21 -- Drake didn't release an album in 2014 but still ranked as a top earner. He pulled in just shy of $900,000 thanks to 792 million on-demand audio streams, while his overall music sales royalties surpassed $1.6 million. His sweet spot: performing live. The two-month-long Drake vs Lil Wayne Tour and annual two-day OVO Fest in his native Toronto in August grossed $7.7 million at the box office. The surprise February release of If You're Reading This It's Too Late should ratchet up his LP sales figures for 2015.

No. 22 -- Eric Church's 2014 album, The Outsiders, sold 2.7 million track downloads that contributed to $2.6 million in music sales royalties.

No. 23 -- Parrotheads streamed more than 11 million Jimmy Buffett tracks, but touring revenue ruled: $9.6 million.

No. 24 -- Phish's devoted live following put $9.5 million in touring earnings in the band's pocket.

No. 25 -- Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue boosted the band's publishing revenue, which totaled $516,400.

No. 26 -- The stars of the documentary Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey generated a cool $1 million in publishing royalties.

No. 27 -- Even if Blake Shelton's salary for coaching contestants on NBC's The Voice is a pittance, it would be worth it. His TV exposure has boosted his career and led to at least one collaboration: Shelton, 38, convinced Voice co-star Shakira to go country on the genre-blurring duet "Medicine," which the duo debuted at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Also, his eighth studio album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and helped push Shelton's sales royalties to $3 million.

No. 28 -- Christine McVie's return to Fleetwood Mac in January 2014 was a big factor in boosting box-office revenue to $6.7 million and publishing royalties to $730,300.

No. 29 -- Bruce Springsteen finished his High Hopes Tour with 17 dates in 2014, which netted him $7 million -- 79 percent of his earnings for the year.

No. 30 -- Before going on hiatus in October to care for her ailing husband, Celine Dion netted $7.8 million from her Caesars Palace residency in Las Vegas.

NEXT: 31-40

No. 31 -- Florida Georgia Line's $4.3 million in music sales royalties is the second-highest on this list, behind Taylor Swift.

No. 32 -- Rihanna generated 11.2 million track sales, the second-highest in the category, behind Bruno Mars. 

No. 33 -- Brad Paisley raked in $608,900 in publishing coin.

No. 34 -- Marc Anthony is the lone Latin artist on this list, largely thanks to his $6.7 million in touring earnings.

No. 35 -- Elton John's $5.7 million box-office haul included a 10-night run at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

No. 36 -- Rose Ave., Pink's detour into folk as You + Me, added nearly $120,000 to $2.5 million in sales royalties.

No. 37 -- James Taylor will release Before the World, his first album in five years in June, but $6.3 million in touring revenue suggests fans want to hear the hits.

No. 38 -- Pearl Jam's Ten (1991) and Lightning Bolt (2013) accounted for half of 277,000 albums sold domestically.

No. 39 -- Even without a Hot Country Songs top 10 hit, Rascal Flatts' tunes were streamed 115.5 million times.

No. 40 -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Grammy-nominated Hypnotic Eye album, released in July 2014, accounted for 58 percent of the 453,000 units the band sold in 2014. Combined with 876,000 downloads, Petty, 64, and his band netted $1.2 million in sales royalties. But like other heritage acts on this list, Petty makes the lion's share of his income through touring. The $12.8 million in estimated box-office revenue that the group generated in 2014 translated into $4.3 million in take-home pay -- 65 percent of Petty and the Heartbreakers' overall take for the year.

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