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Top touring $$ makers, but for how long?

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Thursday, Feb 12, 2009

Billboard put out its own list of top music money makers, with the top five with their dollar figures below:


1. Madonna: $242,176,466
2. Bon Jovi: $157,177,766
3. Bruce Springsteen: $156,327,964
4. The Police: $109,976,894
5. Celine Dion: $99,171,237


Here’s some more numbers for you: 50, 46, 59 and 40.  That’s the ages of numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 on the list.  Sting’s 57 but his group has disbanded again.  As you move down the list, you see an interesting age spread:


6. Kenny Chesney: $90,823,990 (age 40)
7. Neil Diamond: $82,174,000 (age 68)
8. Rascall Flatts: $63,522,160 (ages 38, 37, 33)
9. Jonas Brothers: $62,638,814 (ages 21, 19, 16)
10. Coldplay: $62,175,555 (ages 31, 31, 30, 30)
11. The Eagles: $61,132,213 (ages 60, 61, 61, 61)
12. Lil Wayne: $57,441,334 (age 26)
13. AC/DC: $56,505,296 (ages 61, 53, 56, 59, 54)
14. Michael Buble: $50,257,364 (age 33)
15. Miley Cyrus: $48,920,806 (age 16)
16. Taylor Swift: $45,588,730 (age 19)
17. Journey: $44,787,328 (ages 54, 60, 58, 43, 41)
18. Billy Joel: $44,581,010 (age 59)
19. Mary J. Blige: $43,472,850 (age 38)
20. Kanye West: $42,552,402 (age 31)


You see the problem here, right?  A lot of top earners are entering their golden years, which brings into question how much longer they’re going to be able to stay in the game.  Of course, everyone ages differently and some of them are going to still play as long as they can but as any AARP member can tell you (and some of us who aren’t quite there yet), the body and mind have a funny way of giving out little by little. 


Even with tens of millions of dollars to buy you the best health care (unlike most of us can afford), there’s no guarantee that any of the middle-aged-or-older stars is still going to be able to keep doing music in 10-15 years time.  Will Bruce still be able to do marathon sets at age 75?  How much of a Grand Dame will Madonna be at 65?  Will the girls still find Bon Jovi cute at 60?  Honestly, I hope that all of them will still be able to hit the road then but even for seemingly tireless performers like these, they’re gonna start to feel it in time.


Maybe they’d have to cut back on touring or just cut it out period but that’s where most of their money comes from, and that was true even before album sales tanked so badly in the last few years.


As for Taylor, Miley and the Jonases, there’s no guarantee that their stars are still gonna shine bright in say 5-10 years from now (I think the first two have a good shot at it at least).


Right now, the safest bets are the performers who have a solid track record and still have some relative youth in ‘em: Wayne, Kanye, Mary J., Coldplay.

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