Billboard just released their top 40 money makers in the music biz for the last year. Here is the top 10:
01. U2 - $108,601,283
02. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - $57,619,037
03. MADONNA - $47,237,774
04. AC/DC - $43,650,466
05. BRITNEY SPEARS - $38,885,267
06. PINK - $36,347,658
07. JONAS BROTHERS - $33,596,576
08. COLDPLAY - $27,326,562
09. KENNY CHESNEY - $26,581,141
10. METALLICA - $25,564,234
I'm not surprised by this list in the least. Touring always nets famous musicians of any genre a hefty payout. The only surprising fact at all is that U2 is so far ahead of their next competitor. I mean, good grief. I guess that's a good thing: Bono will have even more cash to donate to his charities.
The problem with the list above is that - at this point - every act is 'legacy.' By this I mean either longstanding in their genre such as Metallica or so hot like Pink that popularity is guaranteed for another decade no matter what. Sure, the music buying public is fickle but once you become so huge, your reputation can weather a lot of storms and you'll still earn mondo bucks regardless of new output or radio hits.
Pretty soon we'll be running out of long-standing legacy acts because they'll all be retired and then there won't be many (any?) stadium shows to speak of. Are there even any modern acts - besides Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood - that could sell out a stadium right now? And I mean modern: as in, on the scene less than five years. I don't think so, but I hope I'm wrong. It's sort of like new rock bands never get a shot. When AC/DC and Aerosmith hang it up for good, the 80s bands we love will just roll up to the "classic band" status of touring and that pushes up the Nickelbacks of the world.
I just wonder if our new economy and ticket buying habits has changed touring forever? There's no chaotic need to rush online at a general on-sale to grab "great seats" when ticketing software doesn't work that way anyway. You can't camp out anymore and even if you are allowed to stand in lines at certain venues, being first doesn't guarantee front row. There's no real motivation to work for great tickets anymore. Sure, there's always bands on your "must see" list, but how often do shows sell-out these days? I saw AC/DC at a sold-out show and that was cool but I certainly didn't have any troubles getting tickets.
Thinking about the potential tours a decade from now makes me sad. No one can predict the future, but I can't imagine the live rock scene being fantastic then. Of course, I hope I'm wrong.