The music business remains in a state of turmoil. CD sales continue to fall. Untested business models emerge with the promise of new revenue streams. But as our fifth annual Money Makers ranking demonstrates, touring remains the most important income generator for most of the industry’s top earners.
As the music industry grows ever more complicated, so does our top-secret* Money Makers formula. In past years, Billboard’s Money Makers rankings were based on U.S. recorded-music sales, other U.S. revenue sources and worldwide touring data. In order to be as consistent as possible, this year’s list is based solely on U.S. earnings-which explains why acts like U2, AC/DC and Metallica, which spent much of 2010 touring international markets, aren’t included in this ranking.