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U2 Leads List of Music Top Earners

July 20, 2010 4:17 PM | Rock | U2 | Comments (0)

Making money in the music business is about selling concert tickets. In fact, Forbes magazine suggests, that it appears to be the only way to make significant money in the music business. The more successful concerts, the more you earn. Forbes has issued its Top-10-earners list of musicians between June 2009 and June 2010, and only two of them, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas, have had abundant sales of recorded music.

On top of that, only two of the acts pulled in more than $100 million.

U2 [tickets], which led the list, was one of four rock 'n' roll acts in the Top 10, and of them, only Coldplay, which tied with BEP for No. 10, is not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen were Nos. 2 and 3. Springsteen has been off the road since late November; AC/DC just finished a world tour that started in late July. Both acts performed in a mix of stadiums and arena, while U2 played only stadiums.

Beyonce (No. 3) and Jay-Z (No. 6) are now pop music's wealthiest family, certified!. His income, pulled in $1 million per night, derives from his nightclub chain and most recent album; hers is split between tour income and fashion-related money.

Madonna clocked in at No. 8, below two of her acolytes, Britney Spears (No. 5) and Lady Gaga (No. 7). Kenny Chesney, at No. 9, was the lone country performer on the list.

Lady Gaga is the only act who is having concurrent hit singles and tours. She is also important licensing deals with film and television -- while pulling in endorsement revenue. She is aligned with Polaroid, Virgin Mobile and Monster Cable.

In estimating each act's income, Forbes added touring income plus endorsement and other business deals. It makes complete sense in the case of Spears, who has deals with Elizabeth Arden and Candies, and Beyonce, whose half her earnings are from Nintendo, L'Oreal and her fashion line.

In the case of Jay-Z, however, investments are confused with revenue generators; it's unlikely he is seeing much of a return on his percentages in the New Jersey Nets or the Broadway musical "Fela!"


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