Taylor Swift Tops Billboard's 2014 Money Makers
In theater, a triple threat is an artist who has the chops to sing, dance and act. It's a different ball game in the music biz, where touring and the two avenues of sales (physical and digital) reign supreme. In that regard, there's no artist more threatening than pop-country juggernaut Taylor Swift, who crushed it on nearly every level in the past year and claims the top spot on Billboard's annual Money Makers rich list.
Swift proved adept at capturing revenue from every angle this year, earning a whopping $39,699,575.60. Fueled by 2012's Red, the singer's album sales were eighth among all of Billboard's Money Makers, while on the digital front she sold nearly 10 million downloads, ranking sixth, and fifth in streaming royalties -- tops in country music.
But where Swift is most potent is on the road, performing in packed arena after packed arena. Revenue from six months of touring the United States on the Red Tour tops all fellow money makers with an estimated take of $30 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. The tour also boasted lucrative sponsorships (Keds, Elizabeth Arden, Diet Coke) and a ravaged merch table, which averaged $17 per head.
Swift topped the rich list just two years ago, also on the strength of her touring prowess, raking in $35,719,902.
Back on this year's tally, Swift's closest competition was another country superstar, Kenny Chesney, who made $32,956,240.70 on the strength of his seventh Billboard 200 chart-topper (Life on a Rock) and his massive No Shoes Nation stadium tour.
Justin Timberlake's whirlwind comeback in 2013, led by The 20/20 Experience albums and two tours -- first with Jay Z and later solo -- earned him $31,463,297.03 in the U.S. (Timberlake's Legends of the Summer tour mate ranks at No. 16 this year.)
Rock 'n' roll rounds out the top five, with a pair of road legends. Bon Jovi's Because We Can Tour was the top-grossing trek in 2013, according to Billboard's year-end tally, and it is the prime reason the band is fourth with $29,436,801.04. And if you thought The Rolling Stones were fading as a live act, you'd be dead wrong. Marking the band's 50th anniversary, the sold out 50 & Counting… dates pushed them up to No. 5 on the rich list, with $26,225,121.71.
Beyonce, Maroon 5, Luke Bryan, Pink and Fleetwood Mac complete this year's top 10. Deep in the list, you'll find plenty of pop (Justin Bieber, One Direction), hip-hop (Kanye West, Jay Z), country (George Strait, Blake Shelton) and, notably, an appearance from New Kids on the Block, who enjoyed a well-attended tour, a top 10 album and a hit single.
The data used to compile Money Makers was supplied by Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen BDS and Billboard Boxscore. Artists are ranked by U.S. earnings, calculated from touring, recorded-music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming. Due to a lack of data, revenue from sponsorship, merchandising and synchronization isn't included. For the full methodology, click here.
Top 10 Money Makers of 2014:
- Taylor Swift, $39,699,575.60
- Kenny Chesney, $32,956,240.70
- Justin Timberlake, $31,463,297.03
- Bon Jovi, $29,436,801.04
- The Rolling Stones, $26,225,121.71
- Beyonce, $24,429,176.86
- Maroon 5, $22,284,754.07
- Luke Bryan, $22,142,235.98
- Pink, $20,072,072.32
- Fleetwood Mac, $19,123,101.98