U2, Bon Jovi & Elton John Top Forbes' List of Highest Paid Musicians

U2 - 360° AT THE ROSE BOWL [2 DVD Digipack]It's a new world in the music industry. You probably won't make a lot of money on your recordings. If you have a really good brand, you might make some money in licensing, but the real money, the big dollars, comes from touring.

That's what was proven by the twenty-five artists named to Forbes annual list of the World's Highest Paid Musicians.  The vast majority of the artists on the list made their money from touring, including the top paid act, U2, who continue with their 360 Degree World Tour.  The same goes for the rest of the top five who have all had big tours.

The reason behind why an act makes the big money touring was explained by AEG chief of concert promotion, Randy Phillips, to Forbes. "It’s one thing to cut a song and get airplay, it’s another thing to convert listeners into a loyal fan base that goes through the trials and tribulations of buying tickets, paying for dinner, hiring a baby sitter. To motivate a fan base to go through all those hurdles, there are very few artists who can do that consistently."

Forbes compiled the list using pre-tax income from May 2010 to May 2011. Numerous sources, from the RIAA and Pollstar to artist insiders, were used to calculate the earnings.

The list (with veteran artists in bold):

  • 01. U2 ($195 million)
  • 02. Bon Jovi ($125 million)
  • 03. Elton John ($100 million)
  • 04. Lady Gaga ($90 million)
  • 05. Michael Buble ($70 million)
  • 06. Paul McCartney ($67 million)
  • 07. Black Eyed Peas ($61 million)
  • 08. Eagles ($60 million)
  • 09. Justin Bieber ($53 million)
  • 10. Dave Matthews Band ($51 million)
  • 11. Toby Keith ($50 million)
  • 12. Usher ($46 million)
  • 13. Taylor Swift $45 million)
  • 14. Katy Perry ($44 million)
  • 15. Brad Paisley ($40 million)
  • 16. Tom Petty & the Heartbreaks ($38 million)
  • 17. Jay-Z ($38 million)
  • 18. AC/DC ($35 million)
  • 18. Sean "Diddy" Combs ($35 million)
  • 18. Beyonce ($35 million)
  • 18. Tim McGraw ($35 million)
  • 18. Muse ($35 million)
  • 23. Rascal Flatts ($34 million)
  • 24. Kenny Chesney ($30 million)
  • 25. Rihanna ($29 million)

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