The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

75%+ of richest artists’ income is from touring

On average, the ten highest-paid artists made more than three quarters of their income last year from touring, reveals a new list of music’s biggest money-makers.

The list, compiled by Billboard, combines revenue from sales, streaming, publishing and touring. Of the top ten – Beyoncé, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Drake, Adele, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Kanye West and Kenny Chesney, in that order – only one placed artist, Drake, earnt more from recorded music than from live.

Beyoncé (pictured) brought in US$4.3 million from sales, $1.9m from streaming and $1.3m from publishing, but $54.7m from touring (her Formation world tour was the highest grossing of the year); for second-placed Guns N’ Roses, meanwhile, the figures are $771,700, $670,800, $499,600 and $40.4m, respectively.

Beyoncé’s Formation world tour grosses $256m

Drake, the sole exception to the rule, earnt $18.1m from streaming compared to $13.6m from touring. Kanye West’s streaming performance was also strong ($7.6m), although it was still under half the $15.4m he took home from live shows.

Added together, income from sales, streaming and publishing for the top ten totalled around $71.1m – or just 24.4% of the $291.7m they made from touring.

Music streaming is, of course, on the rise, climbing 9.9% in the first six months of 2017 alone. But –Drake aside – Billboard’s charts illustrate how even the world’s biggest artists are struggling to make significant money from streaming – and prove once again that it’s a good time to be in the concert business…


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.