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Giants of touring are world’s richest celebrities

Record-breaking live revenues have made Taylor Swift the world's highest-paid celebrity, with 1D once again close behind

By Jon Chapple on 12 Jul 2016

Taylor Swift, Billboard Music Awards 2015, Ethan Miller/Getty Images via Disney ABC Television Group, Forbes rich list

Swift collects one of her eight 2015 Billboard awards

image © Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABC

Although we know from PwC that global revenues from live music topped US$25 billion last year, it was the release today of Forbes’s annual celebrity rich list that really put that astronomical figure into context, revealing as it did that Taylor Swift and One Direction – who had the first and second highest-grossing tours of 2015, respectively – are also the world’s best-paid celebrities.

Twenty-six-year-old Swift, whose 1989 world tour grossed $250.4m in 2015, is first-placed in the Forbes list, having earnt $170m last year, with One Direction not far behind, having collectively taken home $110m (their On the Road Again tour made $210.2m).

Swift’s success can be attributed to having “smashed The Rolling Stones’ North American touring record”, notes Forbes, while the On the Road Again tour “kept [One Direction’s] earnings higher than any active band, despite Zayn Malik’s departure in March 2015”. Swift was joint eight with Robert Downey Jnr in last year’s list, while 1D placed fourth.

Swift’s smashed The Rolling Stones’ North American touring record while the On the Road Again tour kept One Direction’s earnings higher than any active band

Adele, whose Adele Live 2016 looks set to be one of the most lucrative of 2016, placed ninth ($80.5), while Madonna, whose archbishop-offending Rebel Heart tour closed in Sydney in late March, is 12th ($76.5m).

Other musical names in the top 25 include Rihanna in joint 13th ($75m), country star Garth Brooks in 15th ($70m), AC/DC in 17th ($67.5m), The Rolling Stones in 18th ($66.5m), Calvin Harris in 21st ($63m), Bruce Springsteen – currently on tour with The River – in 24th and Rock Werchter headliner Paul McCartney in 25th ($56.5m).

AC/DC, the Stones and McCartney all placed, like Swift and One Direction, in the highest-grossing tours of 2015.


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