Guns N' Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica Top 2017 Rock Earning Chart

Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen and Metallica have been named the highest-earning rock artists of 2017 in the annual Forbes rich list report, which concludes that, out of the 25 biggest moneymaking artists of the year, all but two made most of their income from touring.

While GnR’s Not in This Lifetime tour helped earn them $ 84m, that only put them in sixth position in the overall music rankings. Axl Rose and his colleagues fell short of top-placed Diddy, who made $ 130m over the same time period. Beyonce ($ 105m), Drake ($ 94m) and The Weeknd ($ 92m) were followed by Coldplay, who brought in $ 88m. Behind Springsteen ($ 75m) and Metallica ($ 66.5m) came Elton John ($ 50m), Paul McCartney ($ 54m) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers ($ 54m), who, at overall 13th position, were the last rock-related act to be mentioned.

Forbes noted that GnR’s five-continent reunion tour helped them “achieve the rare feat of soaring into near nine-figure earnings territory without any major endorsements.” They said of Springsteen: “Memoir Born to Run earned the Boss a reported $ 10m advance; an accompanying compilation album, Chapter and Verse, padded his total.” And while they agreed that Metallica’s 10th album, Hardwired to Self-Destruct, had achieved “commercial and critical success,” they reported: “[T]he bulk of profits this year came from the band’s WorldWired global tour, which is set to continue through the spring of 2018.”

“[T]ouring is a massive piece of the earnings pie for most big-name acts,” Forbes said, “[O]f the world’s 25 highest-paid musicians, only Taylor Swift (No. 17, $ 44 million) and Jay-Z (No. 19, $ 42 million) didn’t play an extensive amount of shows during our scoring period (though the latter is now touring his latest album and the former is set to do so throughout 2018).”

Figures were calculated using pre-tax income from Jun. 1, 2016 to Jun. 1, 2017, without subtracting fees charged by third parties including agents, managers and lawyers. Details were gathered from three industry bodies – Nielsen SoundScan, Pollstar and the RIAA – plus interviews with “insiders.”

Forbes Rock Rich List 2017

1. Guns N’ Roses – $ 84m (6th overall)
2. Bruce Springsteen – $ 75m (8th)
3. Metallica – $ 66.5m (10th)
4. Elton John – $ 50m (11th)
5. Paul McCartney – $ 54m (13th)
6. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – $ 54m (13th)

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