There is no doubt that Taylor Swift was the biggest artist of 2015.
Billboard published their list of the forty biggest moneymakers based on sales, streaming, publishing and touring and Swift finished the year at $73.5 million, almost twice as much as number 2 on the list, country veteran Kenny Chesney at $39.8 million.
For almost every artist on the list, the majority of their income came from touring with only artists like Adele and Drake peaking on music sales.
The touring juggernaut in the business is the main explanation why exactly one-half of the list is made up of veteran artists who have been recording for twenty years or more. While these artists rarely have major hit records at this point in there career, there is a huge audience of people who want to still see them in concert.
Number 2 Chesney took in $38.1 million of his $39.8 million take from touring while number 3, the Rolling Stones, made $37.3 of their $39.6 million on the road. The same for number 4, Billy Joel with touring bringing in $30.1 of his $31.7 million.
At the other end of this trend was Adele who released her latest album, 25, during the final quarter of the year. She is number 9 on the list with $20.5 million, $16.3 million of which came from album sales and $3.7 million from publishing. She had no income from touring.
The top ten and veteran artists in the 11 to 40 spots:
- 01. Taylor Swift - $73.5 million
- 02. Kenny Chesney - $39.8 million
- 03. Rolling Stones - $39.6 million
- 04. Billy Joel - $31.7 million
- 05. One Direction - $24.2 million
- 06. Dead & Company - $23.8 million
- 07. Luke Bryan - $23.1 million
- 08. U2 - $21.8 million
- 09. Adele - $20.5 million
- 10. Maroon 5 - $19.2 million
- 12. Shania Twain - $14.4 million
- 13. Dave Matthews Band - $14.1 million
- 14. Madonna - $12.7 million
- 15. Elton John - $12.4 million
- 16. Rush - $12.0 million
- 18. Juan Gabriel - $11.6 million
- 20. Fleetwood Mac - $11.3 million
- 21. Neil Diamond - $11.1 million
- 24. AC/DC - $10.0 million
- 25. Celine Dion - $9.3 million
- 26. Bette Midler - $9.1 million
- 33. Paul McCartney - $7.1 million
- 34. Charlie Wilson - $6.9 million
- 37. Marc Anthony - $6.5 million
- 38. Toby Keith - $6.5 million