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The 40 Highest Earning Musicians in 2013

on March 13, 2014, 1:30pm

Billboard has released its list of 2013’s top 40 earners in music, and the numbers appear to give credence to some oft cited business wisdom: artists don’t make their money on music.

Every musician on the list earned far more from touring than they did on physical/digital sales and streaming revenues combined. Of course, it helps to have an album to tour behind, and touring heavily doesn’t necessarily guarantee making more than any other act. In fact, almost half of the biggest tour grossers didn’t register on the Money Makers rankings. Still, those who did make it on had significant boosts thanks to road work.

Taylor Swift topped the list with a 2013 gross of $39,699,575.60 (yeah, they went down to the cents). Of that, a whopping $30 million came from her worldwide Red tour. $9 mill in music sales and other income is nothing to sneeze at, of course, but Swift stands to earn that much from tour sponsorships and merch sales alone. Kenny Chesney, Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi, and The Rolling Stones round out the top 5, all of whom appear on the top grossing tours list. More proof that tours make all the difference? Over 75% of Michael Bublé’s earnings, 90% of Celin Dion’s, and 95% of perennial earners Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s all came from performing shows. Phish only sold 52,000 albums last year, and they still came in at 25.

Mainstream pop acts (Bruno Mars at #12, One Direction #13) and especially country musicians (George Strait #15, Blake Shelton #27) take up most of the list. Rappers only appear four times, and the names aren’t surprising: Jay Z (#16), Kanye West (#26), Lil Wayne (#37), and Eminem (#39). The freshest face on the list? Imagine Dragons at number 31.

So if you ever thought music’s superstars just record a couple songs and watch the money roll in, now you know better. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Paul McCartney has to put in the leg work to make their millions. Check out the full list of the top 40 Money Makers below.

01. Taylor Swift – $39,699,575.60
02. Kenny Chesney – $32, 956,240.70
03. Justin Timberlake – $31,463,297.03
04. Bon Jovi – $29,436,801.04
05. The Rolling Stones – $26,225,121.71
06. Beyoncé – $24,429,176.86
07. Maroon 5 – $22,284,754.07
08. Luke Bryan – $22,142,235.98
09. Pink – $20,072,072.32
10. Fleetwood Mac – $19,123,101.98
11. Justin Bieber – $18,873,458.41
12. Bruno Mars – $18,839,681
13. One Direction – $18,041,472.69
14. Jason Aldean – $17,896,191.98
15. George Strait – $16,002,761.63
16. Jay Z – $15,652,428.82
17. Michael Bublé – $14,478,084
18. Mumford & Sons – $14,172,940.87
19. Dave Matthews Band – $13,932,731.14
20. Rihanna – $13,794,186.16
21. Paul McCartney – $13,769,479.16
22. The Eagles – $13,026,210.18
23. Celine Dion – $12,755,539.71
24. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – $12,473,798.20
25. Phish – $12,406,611.95
26. Kanye West – $11,574,833.92
27. Blake Shelton – $10,349,774.77
28. John Mayer – $10,010,017.17
29. New Kids on the Block – $9,938,526.59
30. Zac Brown Band – $9,888,213.32
31. Imagine Dragons – $9,448,031.68
32. Jimmy Buffett – $9,404,015.71
33. Elton John – $9,369,224.53
34. Rascal Flatts – $9,215,475.78
35. Rush – $9,050,583.42
36. Miranda Lambert – $8,831,605.89
37. Lil Wayne – $8,788,416.66
38. Tim McGraw – $8,761,716.61
39. Eminem – $8,524,782.99
40. Carrie Underwood – $8,051,483.55

6 comments

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Anonymous
August 21, 2014 at 7:49 pm

ACDC?

Esther
August 21, 2014 at 1:01 am

Taylow Swift? Really? For those cheesy pop songs? This shows what kind of mentality most people have.

Sharon Kearney
March 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

What about Madonna, according to this she blows them all out of the water?! Not even on the list?

http://tv.yahoo.com/news/madonna-ranks-no-1-music-39-top-earning-000032533.html;_ylt=A0SO80AVbCdTcWAASrNXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE0dGxhaTdlBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTUEY29sbwNncTEEdnRpZANWSVAyMjBfMQ–

Anonymous
March 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm

12 < 13

19. Dave Matthews Band – $13,932,731.14
20. Rihanna – $12,794,186.16
21. Paul McCartney – $13,769,479.16

Adam Lubicz
March 13, 2014 at 7:12 pm

RUSH!!!!

Adam Lubicz
March 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Boggles my mind how imagine dragons are on the list. good for them

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