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Money Makers All-Stars: Who Has Made the List Every Year?

A rundown of the top Money Makers in music over the past seven years.

Every year for the past decade, Billboard has rolled out its Money Makers list, an annual ranking of music’s top earners in U.S. sales, streams, publishing and touring for the prior year.

This year’s edition featured Beyoncé as the runaway leader among all artists, with a $62.1 million take from a blockbuster 2016 in which she released her critically-lauded sixth solo album, Lemonade, and embarked on her massive Formation World Tour, which sold 1.2 million tickets and raked in $160 million at the box office across its U.S. run. It was also her third appearance on the list since 2011 (which tracked data from the previous year), and the first time she’s come in at No. 1 after landing at No. 12 for 2014 earnings and No. 6 for 2013.

But despite her dominance, Beyoncé isn’t among the artists who have appeared the most times on the list since the 2011 edition, which was the year that Billboard changed its Money Makers formula to include only U.S. touring data rather than worldwide (for equal comparison’s sake, we are using data for the years 2010-2016 for this article).

In fact, despite never topping the list — and never even placing within the top 10 in any given year — only one artist has been one of music’s top Money Makers in each of the past seven years: Elton John, who ranked No. 32 in this year’s edition for 2016 revenue, and placed at No. 15 (2015); No. 35 (2014); No. 33 (2013); No. 29 (2012); No. 13 (2011) and No. 33 (2010) for the prior years.

But there’s always a caveat, and an honorable mention should be made for Paul McCartney — who, despite missing out on the list for 2012 revenue, has also appeared on the list seven times: six as a solo act and once as part of the Beatles, who landed at No. 24 for 2011 revenue ($6.7 million) after their catalog became available in the iTunes store at the end of 2010. McCartney, interestingly enough, came in one spot lower at No. 25 that year.


In the past seven years, five artists have topped the Money Makers list, and only one of them multiple times: Taylor Swift, who despite missing out on this year’s list after a quiet 2016 topped the rankings in 2015, 2013 and 2011 — perhaps not coincidentally, the years following the late-fall release of albums Speak Now, Red and 1989, as well as the U.S. runs of their subsequent supporting tours. Swift also raked in the highest single-year earnings over the period, with $73.5 million in revenue in 2015 — $61.7 million of which came from her 1989 tour. Lady Gaga (2010), Madonna (2012), One Direction (2014) and Beyoncé are the only others who have ranked No. 1.

In a quirk of the rankings, while women have come in at No. 1 in six of those seven years, the gender difference is flipped at No. 2; Katy Perry, with $30.1 million in revenue in 2014, is the only woman who has placed in the runner-up spot, while Bon Jovi (2010), U2 (2011), Bruce Springsteen (2012), Kenny Chesney (2013 and 2015, the only artist to come in second twice) and Guns N’ Roses (2016) have all reached No. 2.

This year, there are 14 artists who made their first Money Makers appearance (another caveat: this was Metallica‘s first appearance over this period, though they had made the list prior to 2010 based on worldwide touring), with GNR at No. 2 the highest — and arguably most surprising — due to their still-ongoing reunion tour. Other notable first-timers include Twenty One Pilots (No. 13), whose publishing income topped all others in 2016; Garth Brooks (No. 18), whose $7.6 million sales royalties offset his late conversion to streaming; David Bowie (No. 34), whose sudden and tragic death just 10 days into the year set off a flurry of sales and streams across his immense catalog; and Def Leppard, whose $29.7 million box office gross was good enough to rank them No. 38 for 2016 revenue.


Surprisingly, especially because the list expanded to 50 places this year from 40 in prior years, there were 21 artists who made the cut for 2015 revenue that didn’t land on the rankings this year, including Swift (No. 1 last year), One Direction (No. 5), U2 (No. 8), Shania Twain (No. 12), Madonna (No. 14) and Ed Sheeran (No. 17), the latter whom will almost certainly rank in the upper reaches of Money Makers for 2017 revenue after a mammoth start to the year. 

In analyzing the lists for the past seven years, Billboard has identified 14 acts that we’ll call Money Makers All-Stars: artists who have made the cut in at least five of the past seven years. While Sir Elton and Sir Paul jointly hold the record for appearances, there are four other artists who appeared six times: Swift; Dave Matthews Band, which only missed out in 2011; Celine Dion, who missed out in 2010; and Jason Aldean, who also only missed the cut in 2010.

Kenny Chesney has made the list five times, landing at No. 2 twice and No. 3 in 2011, though missing entirely in 2014 and 2010; the seven others who made it five times include Phish (missed 2015 and 2011); Justin Bieber (missed 2015 and 2014); Rihanna (missed 2015 and 2012); Zac Brown Band (missed 2015 and 2010); Rush (missed this year and 2014); Brad Paisley (missed this year and 2013); and Rascal Flatts, who have missed out the past two years.

Below is a run down of the artists who debuted as Money Makers for 2016 revenue who had previously not made the rankings over the past seven years, as well as those who dropped off the list this year after appearing the one prior.


Guns ‘N Roses (No. 2)
Twenty One Pilots (No. 13)
*Metallica (No. 15)
Future (No. 17)
Garth Brooks (No. 18)
Dixie Chicks (No. 22)
Black Sabbath (No. 29)
blink-182 (No. 30)
Jennifer Lopez (No. 31)
David Bowie (No. 34)
Def Leppard (No. 38)
Sia (No. 46)
Selena Gomez (No. 47)
Pentatonix (No. 50)

Taylor Swift (No. 1)
One Direction (No. 5)
U2 (No. 8)
Shania Twain (No. 12)
Madonna (No. 14)
Rush (No. 16)
Ed Sheeran (No. 17)
Juan Gabriel (No. 18)
Neil Diamond (No. 21)
Eric Church (No. 23)
Bette Midler (No. 26)
J. Cole (No. 27)
Ariana Grande (No. 29)
5 Seconds of Summer (No. 30)
Sam Smith (No. 31)
Charlie Wilson (No. 34)
Brad Paisley (No. 35)
Imagine Dragons (No. 36)
Toby Keith (No. 38)
Nicki Minaj (No. 39)
Romeo Santos (No. 40)