2009 Top Music Money Makers In The U.S.

BillBoard Magazine
U2 tops music’s Money Maker list

The legendary rock ban U2 was the biggest money-maker in the music industry last year.

According to Billboard the Irish rockers took in more than $108 million in 2009. The magazine’s “2010 Money Makers List,” considers album sales, tours, royalties and more. The veteran members of the band have been performing for over 30 years together. Their 3D concert film “U2 3D” was released in 2008 but has had continued success at the box office. The film has garnered over $22 million in worldwide receipts.

Coming in at second was Bruce Springsteen with $57 million, followed by Madonna with $47 million. AC/DC came in fourth with $43 million followed by Britney Spears finished out the top five at $38 million.

After a very successful year on the charts, country sensation Taylor Swift brought in over $17 million. Michael Jackson earned over $17 million, driven by the entertainer’s death on June 25th. Disney queen Miley Cyrus racked in an estimated $21 million.

U2 will perform when the “U2 360º Tour” rolls into Salt Lake City on June 3rd. Rocker Lenny Kravitz will join the band at Rice-Eccles Stadium as a special guest. Tickets went on sale for the event on Monday.

Bette Midler
Bette Midler has long been a successful touring artist, but her 90-date sitdown at Las Vegas’ Colosseum at Caesars Palace accounted for all her box-office revenue in 2009, as well as the overwhelming bulk of her income for the year. Even so, she did better than many artists with her digital tracks, presumably with lots of “Wind Beneath My Wings” downloads.

Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen played his first U.S. concert in 15 years in February 2009. The show kicked off a successful year on the road that earned him $9.2 million in box-office share, dwarfing his $236,200 in CD royalties and $34,748 in digital album royalties.

Bob Dylan
He may be one of America’s most prolific songwriters and recording artists, but Bob Dylan is raking it in these days with his 20-plus-year Never Ending Tour. His box-office share in 2009 was $7.4 million, compared with $1.5 million in CD royalties, $154,592 in digital album royalties, $121,955 in digital track royalties and $350,514 in songwriter mechanical royalties.

The jam band reunited in 2009, and while new album “Joy” didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, it did provide new material to play on a sold-out tour that included a high-grossing two-night stand at Bonnaroo and the band’s own Halloween Phish-fest in Indio, Calif.

Andrea Bocelli
A touring favorite who earned $6.1 million on the road last year, classical crossover star Andrea Bocelli also banked $4.4 million in CD royalties and $121,100 in digital album royalties.

Cher hasn’t released a studio album since 2002’s “Living Proof,” but she’s been a live blockbuster ever since. The singer took Celine Dion’s place at Caesars Palace in 2008, and her successful Cher at the Colosseum residency earned her $11.2 million.

Kiss spent 2009 on the road promoting its highest-charting album, the Walmart exclusive “Sonic Boom,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and sold 238,000 copies. The new set helped Kiss earn $10.6 million in touring revenue and $879,000 in album sales.

Toby Keith
Stateside fans weren’t the only ones treated to Toby Keith’s Ford-sponsored tour in 2009–the artist also played his first European trek in support of his latest album, “American Ride,” which sold 295,000 copies and debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart. Touring revenue totaled slightly more than $10 million.

Green Day
Green Day had two major highlights in 2009: the release of its second No. 1 album, “21st Century Breakdown,” and a sellout run in Berkeley, Calif., of the musical stage show adaptation of 2004 set “American Idiot.” All of the buzz helped the band earn nearly $1.9 million in album sales and pull in $8.8 million from touring arenas.

Paul McCartney
Although his Beatles take isn’t factored into his Money Makers earnings, Paul McCartney did just fine on his own last year, making most of his money ($11.4 million) from playing arenas, stadiums and a headlining slot at Coachella. His latest release, “Good Evening New York City,” sold 234,000 copies, contributing to the $609,000 he earned from album sales.

Lil Wayne
The soon-to-be-incarcerated rap star will be missed by fans and promoters. In 2009 he had the highest-grossing hip-hop tour of the year — and the most lucrative rap trek that Billboard has ever tracked, raking in $10.4 million.

Tina Turner
The 71-year-old artist is still going strong, as evidenced by her Farewell European tour, which earned her $13 million. Turner also scored $116,700 in CD sales.

Keith Urban
Keith Urban scored his first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last April with his 2009 album, “Defying Gravity.” The set sold 723,000 copies and helped him earn $1.4 million in CD sales. The artist’s Escape Together world tour, which visited arenas in the United States, earned nearly $12 million.

Brad Paisley
Established as a hitmaker and an album seller, Brad Paisley has consistently been improving his clout at the box office in the past several years. He’s now an arena-level headliner, but Paisley’s popularity is due to his songs. Country music isn’t especially known for its strength at digital, but Paisley enjoyed close to 3 million track downloads.

Celine Dion
Last year, Celine Dion’s take came almost entirely from 23 North America dates on her Taking Chances tour. This is her third year in a row on the Money Makers list; she came in at No. 5 last time, thanks to her residency at Caesars Palace’s Colosseum in Las Vegas and her worldwide touring.

Kings Of Leon
In 2009, Kings of Leon finally broke through in America, selling more than 1.2 million units. KOL also taps into a digital-friendly audience, racking up more than 500,000 album sales and more than 5 million tracks in the format. And it’s all about the upside with this band, as it continues to grow as a headliner, netting $9.9 million from touring.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Steady sales of its holiday-themed albums during Christmastime aren’t the only thing Trans-Siberian Orchestra relies on each year: The band consistently sells out arenas during the nine-week winter season with its over-the-top laser- and light-filled concerts. Last year, the Paul O’Neill-led group sold 815,000 albums and earned nearly $13 million in touring revenue.

Billy Joel
Though he hasn’t released an album of new material since “River of Dreams” in 1993, Billy Joel’s catalog performed well on all fronts. But on the Joel spreadsheet, that’s a drop in the bucket; the resonance of his songs, consistent road work and reputation as a top-shelf live performer during the past four decades continue to serve him best.

Depeche Mode
While Depeche Mode’s Tour of the Universe trek was briefly put on hold when frontman Dave Gahan fell ill, the group still took in $15.4 million for the world tour, according to Boxscore. The band’s album “Sounds of the Universe” earned $300,000 in CD royalties.

Taylor Swift
At an age when many of her peers are working for minimum wage, Taylor Swift is in the big leagues of earners. Her financial package is well-rounded, and she’s one of the few on this list whose income wasn’t driven mostly by touring — her touring revenue accounted for less than half of her Money Makers total, and her CD royalties were topped only by Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was the No. 1 earner in CD and ringtone royalties in 2009, with physical album sales pulling in $13.2 million and ringtones totaling $255,000. In addition, “This Is It” became the top-grossing concert film of all time, earning $72 million at the box office, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Rascal Flatts
It’s a safe bet that exposure through sponsorships from Hershey’s and JCPenney helped Rascal Flatts sell tickets to its 2009 summer amphitheater tour. Overall, the trio pulled in $14.3 million from 55 concerts that were reported to Boxscore. Indeed, the total gross was enough to land Rascal Flatts at No. 22 on Billboard’s 2009 tally of the top 25 highest-grossing tours. The band’s 2009 album, “Unstoppable,” was also a contributing factor to its success, with 1.1 million copies sold.

Andre Rieu
The Dutch violinist and PBS pledge-drive mainstay sold only 59,000 albums but was No. 6 on Billboard’s list of top tours last year; his 30th-anniversary trek earned him more than $19 million and brought in nearly 500,000 people to 94 shows in Europe, Japan, North America, Australia and New Zealand in 2009. Rieu has logged 22 releases on Billboard’s Top Traditional Classical Albums chart, with three of them in the top 10 last year.

Dave Matthews Band
No act has sold more tickets in this millennium than Dave Matthews Band, and in 2009 the group also received some serious juice from one of its best-selling albums, “Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King.” The strength of the record’s performance boosted DMB back into the company of elite earners. The band’s 800,000 Nielsen SoundScan units dwarf the band’s 14,788 digital album sales, but it did enjoy more than 2 million track downloads.

Il Divo
The Armani-clad popera quartet lands at No. 16 this year thanks to a global tour promoted by Live Nation. Il Divo’s 118 dates in 2009 put $20 million in their suit pockets, with an estimated value of nearly $21 million for the band. That comprises nearly all of Il Divo’s take; the act’s next-largest source of revenue ($809,300) was physical sales of its albums, nearly half of which came from its late-2008 release “The Promise.”

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus is No. 4 on the 2010 Money Makers list in terms of CD royalties with more than $4.3 million; her one new release during the year was the Walmart-exclusive EP “The Time of Our Lives.” Cyrus’ Wonder World tour earned her slightly more than $15 million, according to Boxscore. Not included in this tally, but still of note: Her feature-film debut, “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” grossed $79.5 million at the box office, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

Elton John
As half of the most successful co-headlining tour in history with Billy Joel, as well as being very active on his own, Elton John again struck box-office gold in 2009. Even without an album of new material, John still moved a quarter of a million physical units in the United States.

The millions of YouTube views for the “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video could mean only one thing: Beyoncé continued to reap rewards for her triple-threat artistry in 2009. The singer earned $2.3 million in CD royalties for her latest album, “I Am… Sasha Fierce,” a total rivaled only by Nickelback in the top 15 of the Money Makers list. The set was just as well-received from a critical perspective–it won six 2010 Grammy Awards, the most ever for a female artist.

Nonstop touring and continued radio play were two of the factors that contributed to Nickelback’s 2009 success. The band sold 1.9 million albums, the majority of which came from its most recent release, 2008’s “Dark Horse,” which sold 1.4 million copies. And fans didn’t stop seeing Nickelback in concert, either. During the year, the group played 73 amphitheater and arena shows that earned it $18.3 million and drew more than 1 million people.

Fleetwood Mac
The baby boomer idols land on the list for the first time thanks to the group’s $24 million take from its Unleashed tour, its first in five years. The trek grossed $71.2 million from 65 shows reported to Boxscore and landed at No. 14 on Billboard’s top tours list last year. Fleetwood Mac earned less than $700,000 in the United States from its album sales, with its 1988 “Greatest Hits” moving 135,000 copies — about half its U.S. album total for the period.

Metallica had at least two things to celebrate in 2009: its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the release of “Guitar Hero: Metallica.” Along with touring revenue — the band pulled in $22.8 million from 55 arena shows reported to Boxscore that drew more than 968,000 fans — Metallica sold 694,000 albums in 2009. The majority of those sales came from its Rick Rubin-produced 2008 release, “Death Magnetic” (297,000). Album sales revenue totaled $1.6 million. And most of Metallica’s track download earnings came from its 1991 hit “Enter Sandman,” which sold 450,000.

Kenny Chesney
As one of the elite touring artists in the world, Kenny Chesney has sold more than 1 million tickets for seven consecutive years. In country music, the big ticket sellers also sit atop radio and retail charts, and Chesney is no exception, with physical album sales in the United States running roughly the same as tickets sold. His digital track numbers are also among the highest on this list, and the country star rang up more than half a million ringtones in 2009.

Coldplay didn’t let a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by guitarist Joe Satriani dampen its spirits last year. Despite the legal turmoil (the two parties settled in September and the allegations were dismissed), the band earned $24.7 million touring behind its 2008 album, “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends,” which sold 495,000 copies in 2009. Overall, the group sold 852,000 albums in 2009, bringing in $1 million in revenue.

Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers released their fourth studio album, “Lines, Vines and Trying Times” (Hollywood) June 15, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and setting up the boy band for another fruitful year of album sales and touring. The act racked up almost $1.3 million in CD royalties. The band’s world tour netted them $31.4 million and won the group the Eventful Fans’ Choice Award at the 2009 Billboard Touring Awards.

Even before she lofted herself onto a trapeze at the MTV Video Music Awards, Pink was already having the best year of her career. She officially shook her underdog status in 2008 with the release of “Funhouse,” but 2009 vaulted her to new heights thanks in part to an international arena tour, which netted her $35 million. Moreover, Pink’s show-stopping 2010 Grammy Awards performance of “Glitter in the Air” — and the track’s subsequent 1,143% digital sales increase — means that her funhouse is still open for business.

Britney Spears
It seemed unlikely that Britney Spears could ever recover professionally from a series of bizarre events that led up to her 2008 “Circus” CD. But the album bowed atop the Billboard 200 in December of that year, and the pop star’s success continued into 2009 with an arena tour that earned her $36.4 million and album sales that totaled 763,000 copies. Digitally, Spears sold 7.5 million downloads; the largest seller was the racy Max Martin-produced single, “3,” which moved 1.6 million downloads.

Although the overwhelming majority of AC/DC’s 2009 earnings came from touring international arenas and stadiums (it pulled in $41.4 million from concerts and ranked No. 4 on Billboard’s 2009 tally of the top 25 highest-grossing tours), the Australian rockers also experienced consistent album sales from their catalog. Indeed, the group’s highest-selling album was its 2008 Walmart exclusive, “Black Ice,” which shifted 227,000 copies. But coming in at a close second was the classic “Back in Black,” with 215,000 copies. In total, the group sold 1.1 million albums in 2009.

Like U2, Madonna toured for the first time under a long-term multirights Live Nation deal (hers valued at $120 million), and also like U2 it’s a performance-based pact. Madonna delivered: Her Sticky & Sweet tour tacked on a “victory lap” run of international stadium dates that solidified the trek as the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist. Madonna’s CD sales were well off the pace of her peak hitmaking years, but still more than respectable at physical and digital. Because her songs come from a wide range of writers, the publishing pie is pretty well-sliced. But her branding, licensing and merch efforts are among the most diversified and lucrative in the music business.

Bruce Springsteen
With a new studio album, a Walmart-exclusive hits compilation and a relentless touring schedule, Bruce Springsteen was at the top of his revenue-generating game in 2009. Springsteen’s profile has never been higher, with added-value exposure from the Super Bowl halftime show, Kennedy Center Honors and even a run-in with Ticketmaster all keeping the Boss in the public eye. Springsteen was also a force at retail and on the digital sales front, with more than 2 million tracks downloaded. And since he writes all his own songs, publishing revenue stays at Camp Bruce. Remarkably, Springsteen Inc. is peaking more than 35 years after his debut album.

Midway through what is destined to be the highest-grossing tour in history, U2 remains the biggest band in the world. Its 360° tour is the group’s first under a 12-year multirights deal with Live Nation that includes worldwide touring, merchandising and the band’s lucrative U2.com Web site, a digital distribution gold mine for all things U2. The act’s current global stadium tour is the most expensive ever mounted — the daily nut is said to be $750,000 — but those costs are well offset by the highest capacities ever from the band’s 360-degree configuration. By even the most conservative estimates, U2 was far and away the top revenue generator in music last year.

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