Billboard has compiled the list of 10 highest paid musicians based on touring, sales, streaming and publishing.
Among the list is U2, Ed Sherren, Bruno Mars and more.
Not only is U2 the top Money Maker of 2017, the veteran Dublin rockers are also the highest-ranking newcomers to this year’s list. The bulk of the band’s $54.4 million in take-home pay came from its Joshua Tree Tour, which played 28 U.S. dates, including a headlining slot at the Bonnaroo music festival. Bono & Co.’s recorded work generated $2.4 million of the act’s total take, but even that revenue got a boost from its live show. U2’s 2017 album, Songs of Experience, was bundled with ticket sales for its 2018 Experience + Innocence Tour, which helped it debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last December, the band’s eighth chart-topper. The LP generated 186,000 equivalent album sales in its first week of release, the most of any rock album for the year.
2. Garth Brooks
Brooks’ strong showing is almost entirely the result of his road work. He wrapped up a three-and-a-half-year, 390-date concert tour at the end of 2017 that Billboard estimates grossed $137.3 million that year, netting him $46.7 million in take-home pay. LAST YEAR: 18
These monsters of metal were the No. 4 live act of 2017 and No. 1 in recorded-music royalties thanks to sales of 1.4 million album copies — 585,000 of their last LP, 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct — and over 1 million tracks, which translated to $8.7 million.
4. Bruno Mars
Mars, who’s new to this year’s list, claimed a number of milestones in 2017: He’s the top-ranking R&B/hip-hop act, the second-most-played artist on terrestrial radio (with 1.8 million spins), the No. 3 live performer and No. 7 in streaming royalties (2.6 billion streams).
5. Ed Sheeran
Sheeran, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 twice in 2017 with “Perfect” and “Shape of You,” was the most-played artist on terrestrial radio, with 1.9 million spins. He also netted the third-most total recording and music publishing royalties, $11.5 million.
6. Lady Gaga
Gaga released her last album, Joanne, in 2016, so it’s no surprise that her 2017 recorded-music sales were relatively muted. Digital track sales, totaling 2.3 million downloads, were strongest. Her biggest check came from having the No. 6 tour of last year.
7. Billy Joel
Joel’s Madison Square Garden residency, plus another 15 arena and stadium shows, made him the fifth-highest-paid live act of 2017. And despite having released his last studio recording in 2001, his catalog earned over $1.8 million in total royalties.
8. Guns N’ Roses
Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan silenced doubters who said their Not in This Lifetime… Tour (now in its third year) would implode. It netted $25.9 million in 2017, and a healthy 39 percent of GNR’s total recorded-music royalties were from streaming.
9. Roger Waters
Waters’ robust $1.3 million in sales royalties are attributable, in part, to his share of the Pink Floyd catalog, which the band owns and is calculated at a higher royalty rate, given the group’s heritage-act status. (Billboard estimates Waters’ cut at 25 percent.)
Coldplay ended 2017 with a well-rounded portfolio of income streams. It sold upwards of 2.2 million digital tracks and was one of four rock bands to top 1 billion streams, which helped push its total recorded-music royalties north of $4.1 million.