By Lauren Kezon

Musically speaking, it has been one hell of a year. With the Stones, the Boss, and the Beatle all keeping busy with tours, albums, and the like, one is left to wonder- who is bringing home the most bacon in 2013? Since Elton John’s accountant wouldn’t take my calls, I opted to pull from an outside source.

Forbes Magazine did a lovely job compiling a list of the highest earning musicians of 2013. Their ranking is based on “income from June 1st, 2012 through June 1st, 2013, using data sources including Pollstar, the RIAA, Nielsen SoundScan, managers, lawyers and many of the artists themselves [and]…concert ticket sales, royalties for recorded music and publishing, merchandise sales, endorsement deals and other business ventures.”

While the following is mainly 93XRT artists (exempt of Beiber’s and Beyonce’s), a full run-down can be found here.

Madonna – $125 Million

The Material Girl herself lived up to her name once again this fiscal year as the top earner among musicians worldwide. The bulk of her 2013 income came from her MDNA tour which grossed $305 million in ticket sales and merchandise. The rest is a combination of revenue from Madonna‘s Material Girl clothing line, Truth or Dare fragrance, and investment in Vita Coco and other ventures.

Lady Gaga – $80 Million

Current ‘pop sensation’ Lady Gaga takes the silver raking in $80 million this year. Though not a 93XRT artist, her earnings are worth mentioning. The Born This Way Ball tour grossed $180 million even after having to cut 22 dates after breaking her hip. Lady Gaga’s presence on social media, merchandise, and album sales all contribute to her high earnings and ever present public presence. Her wardrobe may have some influence as well…

Bon Jovi – $79 Million

Bon Jovi comes in third this year with an total income of $79 million. The band’s Because We Can tour grossed at $205 million, averaging approximately $3 million per city. While high earnings place Bon Jovi high on Forbes’ list, they had plenty more to celebrate in 2013. October 19th marked the two year anniversary of JBJ Soul Kitchen, Jon Bon Jovi’s community restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey which has no prices on the menu, and survives off the generosity of a community.

Coldplay – $64 Million

With the latter half of their Mylo Xyloto tour calculated into their earnings, Coldplay remains on the top half of this years highest earning musicians with $64 million. British rock band’s world tour pulled in over $3 million per city, accompanying merchandise and album sales. Coldplay Live 2012, a documentary chronicling the Mylo Xylotoi tour was released on CD and home video on November 19th, 2012, also contributing to the year’s earnings.

Bruce Springsteen – $62 Million

The sales and tour surrounding The Boss’s 17th studio album, Wrecking Ball largely contributed to his ranking on the list. With 133 performances in 26 countries, tickets sold out in minutes making Wrecking Ball  one the highest grossing concerts of 2012 (just behind Madonna…again). Though as much as The Boss receives, the Boss gives back. Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band performed for a telethon in support of Hurricane Sandy victims as well as re-recording the song “Rose Tattoo” with Boston-based punk band Dropkick Murphy’s, with all iTunes proceeds going to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Elton John – $54 Million

The man who never stops touring, played over one hundred shows within the calculated year, including a hefty stint in Las Vegas. Sir Elton John’s 31st studio album, The Diving Board, did not contribute to his calculated earnings, as it was released in September 2013. I suppose after a five decade career and selling over 300 million albums, $54 million is a drop in the bucket. Fun fact: chart-topper Lady Gaga is the godmother of Elton John and husband David Furnish’s son Zachary.

Paul McCartney – $47 Million

As a former Beatle, royalties may place you on the list as a top earner without lifting so much as a finger. Luckily for fans, Paul McCartney is not the complacent type. While resonating profits from his early career certainly contribute to his earnings, McCartney has kept plenty busy musically with touring (grossing millions per night) and the release of his latest solo album New in October.

Roger Waters – $44 million

Much like McCartney, Roger Waters‘ ranking benefits greatly from Pink Floyd royalties, but ticket and merchandise earnings from The Wall Live tour are keeping Waters in the proverbial game. According to Billboard, The Wall Live was the highest grossing solo tour of all time in 2013. Though only a portion of the tour took place during Forbes scoring period, it was enough to place Waters in the Top 25.

Muse – $43 Million

Muse may seem misplaced among industry giants on this list, but they have more certainly earned their rank. The English rock band began the world tour for their latest album The 2nd Law in September or 2013, and well, haven’t really stopped since. With approximately 70 shows falling in the scoring period, Muse grossed about $1 million per show with additional earnings in album sales and tour merchandise.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – $40 Million

With continuous touring in the latter half of 2012, Red Hot Chili Peppers easily claimed their spot as highest paid musicians this year. In existence for decades, RHCP shows no signs of cessation as the continue to promote their 2011 album, I’m With You. The albums tour grossed approximately $1 million per night.

Rolling Stones – $39 Million

Even though just a mere 19 shows from the Rolling Stones latest tour made it into the scoring period, it was enough to place them on the list. A steady flow of royalties, merchandise, and albums sales will keep them rolling into 2014, as they released the dates of the ’14 on Fire’ in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China.


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