Billboard magazine has released their annual list of the top 40 highest-paid musicians for 2013 (which covers the year 2012). According to the article, the vast majority of the incomes for these mega-artists comes from live performances — close to 70%. Live Nation’s CEO, Michael Rapino, went so far as to state that artists make “90% of their money on the road,” and in fact, the top three earners exceeded that: Madonna at number one made 93.5% of her money on the road; Bruce Springsteen at number two, 92%; and Roger Waters at number three, 93.6%.
The Top 40 made $373 million dollars in 2012, up from $329 million in 2011, but down $10 million from 2010. An interesting relationship is also appearing: the top touring artists seem to mostly be older artists past their prime CD selling years, with touring revenue inversely related to CD and digital sales. Rush, for example (at number 28 on the list) earned 77% of their income from touring, but only 16% from recorded music sales.
On the other end of the spectrum, those who made less of their money on the road, such as Adele and Taylor Swift, brought in more money from recorded music sales. Streaming audio revenue is beginning to make an impact on artist income, but predominantly with younger artists. Older artists, or those with older fan bases, saw little income from streaming.
The Top 10 from the list:
10. Justin Bieber — $15,944,000
9. Coldplay — $17,300,000
8. Jason Aldean — $17,579,000
7. Tim McGraw — $18,329,000
6. Dave Matthews Band — $18,903,000
5. Kenny Chesney — $19,148,000
4. Van Halen — $20,185,000
3. Roger Waters — $21,160,000
2. Bruce Springsteen — $33,444,000
1. Madonna — $34,577,000