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Music’s Top 40 Money Makers

Taylor Hill, Getty Images

CD sales fall, digital sales increase.  As the Rembrandt’s once sang, “That’s just the way it is, baby.”  Album sales aren’t the bread and butter for most artists, though.  Artists earn their living by doing live concerts.

Billboard magazine has put together a list of the 2013 Top 40 Money Makers.  The list is compiled using earnings over the past 12 months.   Here’s the Top 5.

#1 MADONNA

Thanks mostly to her blockbuster MDNA tour, Madonna is the #1 Money Maker for 2013.  Her tour grossed $305 million to make it the biggest tour of 2012.  I have not heard one good comment about her concert from anyone who has gone.  The usual comment was, “she mostly played her new stuff.”  I understand artists want to promote their new album and songs, but people come to the show to see the hits that made you fall in love with them to begin with.

Madonna’s earnings over the past 12 months, $34,577,308.62.

 

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

#2 BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Springsteen’s most recent outing was in support of his number one album, Wrecking Ball.  The tour finished the year with slightly less than $200 million.  The shows have topped 2 million in attendance, plus strong merchandise sales.  His earnings are $33,443,606.64.

 

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

#3 ROGER WATERS

Waters, Dark Side of the Moon Live tour, a song-for-song rendering of the 1980 Pink Floyd album features stunning production and visual elements.  The tour finished as the fifth highest grossing concert of all time, with a total gross of $377,895,537 and total attendance of 3.3 million fans.  He earned $21,160,131.06 in the past 12 months.  He’ll be able to retire to a nice condo in Boca Raton.

 

Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

#4 VAN HALEN

I am a Van Halen fan.  Let me rephrase that, I am a Van Hagar fan.  Don’t get me wrong, 1984  was one of the best albums of the 80′s, but when I heard 5150, I fell in love with Sammy and kicked David and his Spandex to the curb.  I always wanted to see Van Hagar in concert and got the chance several years ago when they played the Fargodome.  I had 2nd row, center seats!  I remember it was on Halloween night.  Michael Anthony was still in the band and it ranked right up there with a Rick Springfield concert (in my world, Rick is the pinnacle of Rock Gods…so, this was pretty big). I was disappointed when Sammy parted ways with the band.

Apparently, I’m one of only a few who’d rather see Van Hagar than Van Halen because their 2012 tour with DLR, although ending early due to “exhaustion,” still grossed $54 million from just 46 shows.  Thanks in part to the tour, merchandise sales and a new album, the band earned $20,184,709.91

 

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

#5 KENNY CHESNEY

He’s the most successful touring act in country music history.  I’m not a country fan, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a Kenny Chesney song.  He’s a good looking fellow.  Maybe I should go to one of his concerts.  Maybe he just puts on one heck of a show! His tour in 2012 included Tim McGraw and they called it the Brothers of the Sun tour.  It grossed nearly $100 million.  His earnings over the past 12 months…$19,148,525.24.

To see all of Billboard’s 2013 Top 40 Money Makers, click here.

 

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