’80s Rockers Break the Bank

August 30, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Financial Services | Media & Entertainment

Four of the 10 highest-paid musical performers from June 2009-June 2010 started their careers or were active in the 1980s, according to a ranking by Forbes.

Top-Earning Musicians June 2009-June 2010
1. U2 – $130 million
2. AC/DC – $114 million
3. Beyonce Knowles – $87 million
4. Bruce Springsteen – $70 million
5. Britney Spears – $64 million
6. Jay-Z – $63 million
7. Lady Gaga – $62 million
8. Madonna – $58 million
9. Kenny Chesney – $50 million
10. (tie) Black-Eyed Peas/Coldplay – $48 million

Aging Performers Do Well
Out of the top 10 performers, two began their careers in the 1970s: AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen, and two began their careers in the 1980s: U2 and Madonna. Combined, these performers earned $372 million, a little more than half of the $700 million that the top 10 acts in music brought in. Forbes attributes part of this trend to the increasing importance of live performance (which tends to be expensive and skew toward an older audience) in an age where digital music is often cheap or free.

Rock n Roll Loses Dominance
The rock n roll genre appears to be less dominant than its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. Although three of the top four performers are clearly rock n roll musicians: U2, AC/DC and Springsteen, the only other performer on the list fitting into the rock n roll category is Coldplay.

One performer, Jay-Z, is in the hip-hop genre, while four: Knowles (who is married to Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z), Spears, Lady Gaga, and Madonna, are pop performers. Chesney is the lone country performer represented and Black-Eyed Peas defy easy categorization, mixing elements of rock, pop, rap and funk/R&B.

No Major Gender Gap Exists
The top 10 performers are fairly evenly split between men and women. Six performers: U2, AC/DC, Springsteen, Jay-Z, Chesney, and Coldplay, are all-male groups or solo male performers. Four performers: Knowles, Spears, Lady Gaga, and Madonna, are solo female performers. Black-Eyed Peas are a group featuring members of both genders.

North American Tour Grosses Decline
The top 100 popular music tours in North America saw annual declines in total gross, total ticket sales and average ticket price during the first half of 2010, according to PollStar.

The total gross earned by the top 100 North American tours during the first half of 2010 was $965.5 million USD, a reduction of $196.8 million USD, or 17%, from the same period in 2009. North American concertgoers purchased 15.9 million tickets, down about 12% from 18 million on a year-over-year basis.

The average face-value ticket price for the top 100 North American tours during the first half of 2010 was $60.77 USD, down 6% from a record average of $64.61 during the equivalent period in 2009.


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