With $255,022,633.35, U2 reigns supreme on Billboard’s inaugural Money Makers chart, which brings together Nielsen Music data and the magazine’s Boxscore numbers to create a master top 20 chart of acts that generated the most income during 2005. The list includes album and digital sales as well as accumulated box-office receipts. U2 ranked 27th in album sales, ninth in digital sales and No. 1 at the box office.
The chart calculates aggregate album and digital sales for the 11-month window that stretched from the first Nielsen SoundScan sales week of 2005, which ended Jan. 9, through the week that ended Dec. 4, and marries that data with accumulated box-office receipts that reflect the same tracking period.
Album sales data are not just for an act’s current titles, but for all titles, including catalog, tracked during the first 11 months of 2005. Digital data, likewise, includes all tracks available via paid downloads.
With $152,356,754.50, the Rolling Stones came in at No. 2, thanks to a No. 2 Boxscore rank and a top 25 showing with digital tracks. Kenny Chesney finished a distant third with $87,731,463.50, propelled by a No. 4 album sales rank and a No. 8 finish in Boxscore.
Paul McCartney was close behind at No. 4 with $84,263,375.10, followed by Elton John with $77,150,061.65. Without credit for the 1.3 million units that the Beatles sold during this 11-month period, McCartney’s album rank would be lower than No. 100. Such an adjustment would move him from No. 4 to No. 7 on the Money Makers list.
The top 10 is rounded out by Celine Dion ($76,137,905.65), 50 Cent ($75,351,514.85), Green Day ($71,753,415.60), Neil Diamond ($70,203,895.50) and the Eagles ($67,524,283.25).
For point of reference, the Money Makers chart includes a column that shows how artists fared in terms of radio play, utilizing Nielsen BDS tracking from all stations of all formats — including those that do not belong to Billboard or Billboard Radio Monitor chart panels — for the same 11-month window.
However, since artists are not compensated for radio play, and because there is no industry standard that can be applied to the performance rights that publishers and writers receive for radio airplay, a monetary value was not assigned to the Nielsen BDS detections. Thus, radio play does not have any bearing on Money Makers’ standings.