Touring is the clearest way to millions in the music business these days, as Forbes' new list of the 25 highest-paid musicians shows. U2 leads the pack with $195 million, due in no small part to their record-breaking "360" tour, which has grossed more than $700 million over two years. Road warriors Bon Jovi were second with $125 million; Elton John third with $100 million (thanks to a 102-show tour); Lady Gaga was fourth with $90 million and a tour schedule that ran from 2009 until last month; and Michael Bublé was fifth with $70 million, also thanks to a big tour.
According to Forbes, the numbers encompass all pretax income earned from May 2010 to May 2011, before subtracting agent and manager fees. The totals were compiled with the help of data from Pollstar, RIAA and others, as well as interviews with industry insiders including lawyers, managers, concert promoters, agents and, in some cases, the musicians themselves.
Forbes also noted that some musicians were more thrifty with their income than others, noting that Gaga grossed nearly as much in 12 months of touring ($168 million) as Elton John ($204 million), but the costs of her elaborate production dug deep into her bottom line.
Forbes also noted that its list spans in age from Justin Bieber (age 17) to Paul McCartney (68), and that just five solo female acts made the list, as opposed to 13 men.
There is also a five-way tie for 18th between 18. AC/DC , Sean "Diddy" Combs, Beyonce, Tim McGraw and Muse, all with $35 million.
Forbes list of the world's 25 highest-paidf musicians
2. Bon Jovi
3. Elton John $100 million
4. Lady Gaga $90 million
5. Michael Buble ($70 million)
6. Paul McCartney ($67 million)
7. Black Eyed Peas ($61 million)
8. Eagles ($60 million)
9. Justin Bieber ($53 million)
10. Dave Matthews Band ($51 million)
11. Toby Keith ($50 million)
12. Usher ($46 million)
13. Taylor Swift $45 million)
14. Katy Perry ($44 million)
15. Brad Paisley ($40 million)
16. Tom Petty & the Heartbreaks ($38 million)
17. Jay-Z ($38 million)
18. AC/DC ($35 million)
18. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($35 million)
18. Beyonce ($35 million)
18. Tim McGraw ($35 million)
18. Muse ($35 million)
23. Rascal Flatts ($34 million)
24. Kenny Chesney ($30 million)
25. Rihanna ($29 million)