Madonna Was The Highest-Paid Musician of 2012, Topping Bruce Springsteen, Justin Bieber

Feb 22nd, 2013 // 5 Comments
madonna performing mdna

All hail the Material Girl! Madonna tops Billboard‘s annual Money Makers list this year, after pulling in $34.6 million dollars, almost all of which came from her blockbuster MDNA tour (93.5% to be exact). As music sales dwindle in the digital age and streams (which pay nano-cents on the dollar) become the main player, touring is ever more key to an artist’s financial success. Which is why in the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, you find Bruce Springsteen ($33.4M) and Roger Waters ($21.2M). According to the magazine, concerts accounted for 68.9% of revenue for the 40 artists on the list, with the Top 10 averaging 84.2%.

What’s interesting is the inverse relationship between touring and album sales. Older, established acts who no longer move units rake in loads of cash from their huge tours — just see the Top 3 above. But then newer acts on the list made most of their money from sales. For instance, Taylor Swift topped last year’s list, but she still made the cut this year (#15) despite having no US concert earnings in 2012. Adele also didn’t have touring revenue last year but landed at the 11th spot. Likewise, #39 Mumford & Sons and #33 Maroon 5 both made less than $1 million from touring.

That said, there were some younger acts who bucked the trend. Specifically, Justin Bieber, who closed out the Top 10, made about $10M from touring and about $6M from music sales. One Direction (#30) nearly split their sales and touring revenue, while Drake (#24) made the bulk of his profits from touring.

Head here to see the full list.


  1. APPLAUSE! You go, girlfriend!

  2. truth

    And gaga didn’t even make the top 40?

  3. lies

    good for madonna still going strong! but the second comment on the article is already about gaga. can you guys live a day without talking about gaga? i sure hope madonna makes more than someone who’s been around for 5 years…if i was a madonna fan i would avoid gaga comparisons at all cost. i’d hate to see my idol constantly compared to someone so “mediocre”

  4. Gaga and her little sh*ts started this off. Gaga by lifting virtually every Madonna look over the last 30 years and her sh*ts by constantly leaving nasty comments on all Madonna related articles saying she’s finished. Look who has got the last laugh. AGAIN!
    Madonna isn’t going anywhere, mothers!!

  5. I had very mixed feelings about this tour and also we don’t want too much capital accumulation but I can’t help but feel YES, this woman has worked her tail off and we can learn a lot from her work ethic. -’’

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