2012 Top 10 Music Money Makers

Taylor Swift with both arms raised high on dark stage with spot lights around her


Young country girl-next-door. A 1970s rock band. Queen Outrageous. British sensation. Queen of Pop. These music artists made the list for 2012 Top 10 Music Money Makers.

Billboard calculated Neilsen SoundScan for sales of CDs and digital albums, digital tracks and ringtones sales. Radio airplay, music downloads, on-demand music streams, and non-interactive streams. Billboard then calculated the artist’s share of revenues. Touring revenues by far the largest source of income for each artist.

Here’s the list:

1. Taylor Swift – $35,719,902
No surprises here. Taylor’s an unstoppable force. Sold out arenas and stadiums across the US and overseas. Her “Speak Now” tour grossed $88.5 million in the U.S. alone. Taylor Swift banked about $29.8 million. Keep in mind that Taylor wrote all 14 tracks on the album. Swift raked in all the songwriter royalties. And she’s so yooouuuung!

2. U2 – $32,116,315
Can you believe this Irish band formed in 1976? And they still are rocking strong! Their 360° tour wrapped with a gross of $91.5 million – whoa! That’s 7.3 million concert-goers. Merchandise sales near $50 million. U2 sold the least albums and digital sales than the others in the top 10, however concerts sales put them over the top.

3. Kenny Chesney – $29,837,103
He is the King of country music. Chesney’s eighth consecutive tour sold more than 1 million tickets. Bulk of his cash derives from sales of CDs, digital tracks, clothing line, ring tones, DVDs and sponsorships.

4. Lady Gaga – $25,353,039
Queen of Outrageous (former title held by Madonna) album, “Born this Way” sold 1.1 million units during its first week. She sold over 12 million digital tracks alone. Lady Gaga’s concerts also drew in the big bucks.

5. Lil Wayne – $23,178,722
His tour “I am Still” grossed 44 million from 67 shows. He had the second biggest sales week for “Tha Cater IV” at almost 1,000,000 units sold. Digital tracks at 12.3 million. Not bad for someone who recently spent eight months in jail.

6. Sade – $16,383,809
R&B/jazz singer and band placed 10th on the top 25-tour list. Tour grossed about $45 million in revenue, around 15 million for the group. It was a 59-date tour, their first tour since 2001.

7. Bon Jovi – $19,813,232
“The Circle” tour was the sixth largest grossing tour of all time at $265 million. Keep in mind this is a 30-year-old band. Bon Jovi sold a little over 300,000 in CDs last year. About 1.6 million digital tracks. They are the new retro.

8. Celine Dion – $14,261,515
She returned to Las Vegas and grossed 40 million from 57 performances drawing nearly 250 million fans. “Taking Chances” album sold a little over 300,000 copies. She also sold near 1 million digital tracks last year. The Queen of Pop is still on top!

9. Jason Aldean – $13,409,011
His fourth album, “My Kinda Party” made him a country superstar. He sold 1.6 million units and 5 million tracks last year. Duet with Kelly Clarkson didn’t hurt. Jason’s concert tours sold out arenas and amphitheaters across the country. Watch your back Kenny Chesney because Jason is well on his way.

10. Adele – $13,081,909
Six-time Grammy winner from across the pond broke out with her hit single, “Rolling in the Deep.” This “Best Song of the Year” crossed over into rock, pop, hip-hop/R&B, dance, AC, and Latin charts. Considered the most widely crossover song in the past 25 years. She became one of four women to spend 13 weeks on top of the Billboard 200. Her album pushed over 6 million sales alone last year.

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