Madonna is the Top Earning Musician of the year with about $110 million in profits, according to Forbes magazine. The total is based upon her touring, recording and endorsement earnings from June 2008 to June 2009.
Two other female artists follow Madge in the top five: Céline Dion ($100 million) and Beyoncé Knowles ($87 million). No new acts are in the Forbes top 12, but three acts -- Coldplay, Rascal Flatts and AC/DC -- tied for sixth position.
Forbes uses various sources including Billboard, Pollstar, and Nielsen SoundScan, among others, for its tabulations that include earnings from album sales, touring, publishing and endorsement deals. The lucrative merchandise sales at concerts, however, seem to be missing from the report.
Forbes' Top Earning Musicians, 2008-2009:
1. Madonna - $110 million
2. Céline Dion - $100 million
3. Beyoncé Knowles - $87 million
4. Bruce Springsteen - $70 million
5. Kenny Chesney - $65 million
6. Coldplay - $60 million
6. Rascal Flatts - $60 million
6. AC/DC - $60 million
9. The Eagles - $55 million
10. Toby Keith - $52 million
11. Bon Jovi - $50 million
12. Dave Matthews Band - $45 million
How Forbes comes up with its figures, though, seems to be more subjective than definitive. Madonna, for example, grossed $282 million dollars from touring in addition to her other sources of income. The media does not know the breakdown of her touring deal with promoter Live Nation. As a member of Live Nation Artists, she signed a 10-year, $120 million deal prior to the Forbes calendar year, and Live Nation obviously recouped some of its investment on her ongoing Sticky & Sweet Tour, the first under the new contract.
Meanwhile, Dion grossed $237 million on her first tour after seven years performing in Las Vegas, in addition to adding a sixth perfume in her fragrance line and releasing her first English greatest hits collection.
Forbes stated that the top 10 musicians on its chart earned a combined $719 million, compared to $500 million from the period ending June 2008. Citing numbers from industry analyst Pollstar, this jump was attributed to the fact that ten concerts grossed more than $10 million in 2008 whereas only four concerts reached that level in 2007.
Average ticket prices also rose $5.26 to $67.33, the biggest single-year increase in 15 years.
Coldplay at GM Place, Vancouver (20th June 2009):
Pictures by eustella @ Flickr: