Top Music Money Makers: The Road Beats Royalties
NEW YORK (MainStreet) Making money in the music business means hitting the road. Royalties are practically a rounding error; touring brings home the bacon. Take for example Maroon 5, the pop band fronted by People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and judge of NBC's "The Voice," inked-up Adam Levine. With three Hot 100 singles last year, the band scored royalties of $1.4 million. You can double that with additional sales from past hits. But dwarfing that income was the nearly $18 million made from tour revenue.
And even that is chump change compared to the real road warriors.
Taylor Swift, the 24-year old country music sensation, raked in $30 million in concert ticket sales last year in six months. Her total earnings of some $39 million in track sales and touring put her at the top of the annual Billboard Money Maker's list, released this week.
Artists are ranked by U.S. earnings from touring, recording sales, royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming. The list excludes additional income from merchandise and sponsorships.
Kenny Chesney ranked second with a $90 million tour gross that helped to account for nearly $33 million in net earnings for 2013. Justin Timberlake collected more than $5 million in royalties for track sales but nailed another $100 million in tour revenue, bringing his personal haul to $31 million last year.
And country classics fare well too, especially when they are making another farewell tour. Well-worn George Strait earned $13 million for his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour, contributing the lion's share of his $16 million 2013 income.
On two sides of the generation gap are The Bieb and The Mac. In the days in which he wasn't detained, 20-year old Justin Bieber -- or Bizzle, as he prefers -- managed to make over $18 million in touring and track sales. Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac earned over $19 million mostly from a 34 city tour, two of which were fronted by 70-year old former lead singer Christine McVie.
Here are the top 20 music money makers, as compiled by Billboard:
- 1. Taylor Swift, $39,699,575
- 2. Kenny Chesney, $32,956,240
- 3. Justin Timberlake, $31,463,297
- 4. Bon Jovi, $29,436,801
- 5. The Rolling Stones, $26,225,121
- 6. Beyoncé, $24,429,176
- 7. Maroon 5, $22,284,754
- 8. Luke Bryan, $22,142,235
- 9. Pink, $20,072,072
- 10. Fleetwood Mac, $19,123,101
- 11. Justin Bieber, $18,873,458
- 12. Bruno Mars, $18,839,681
- 13. One Direction, $18,041,472
- 14. Jason Aldean, $17,896,191
- 15. George Strait, $16,002,761
- 16. Jay Z, $15,652,428
- 17. Michael Bublé, $14,478,084
- 18. Mumford & Sons, $14,172,940
- 19. Dave Matthews Band, $13,932,731
- 20. Rihanna, $13,794,186
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet