Billboard magazine's fourth-annual Top 40 Money Makers list is topped by [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] this year. The Irish superstars raked in more than $108 million in 2009, mostly through their gigantic 360-degree tour — the most expensive rock production to ever hit the road — which is also destined to be the highest-grossing tour of all time.
In addition to being topped by the big three from the '80s — U2, [artist id="1098"]Madonna[/artist] and [artist id="975"]Bruce Springsteen[/artist] — the list also features a number of younger acts banking major cash, among them [artist id="2408193"]Miley Cyrus[/artist], the [artist id="2088128"]Jonas Brothers[/artist], [artist id="1233888"]Kings of Leon[/artist] and [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist].
Among the variables figured into the list were money earned from CD and digital sales, publishing royalties and all forms of streaming media, as well as touring from the first week of 2009 through January 3, 2010.
The top three included Madonna, who piled up $47.2 million from her Sticky and Sweet stadium/arena tour, licensing and merchandise as well as a lucrative 360 deal with Live Nation. Veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen took the #2 spot with $57.6 million through a combination of touring, more than 2 million digital downloads and hefty publishing revenues thanks to the fact that he writes all his own songs.
Britney Spears proved that touring is a girl's best friend by surging in at #5 ($38.8 million), raking in more than $36.4 million for her worldwide arena tour in support of 2008's Circus album, as well as money from more than 7.5 million downloads. The road was very, very kind to Pink as well, earning her the #6 spot ($36.3 million), with all but $1 million of that rolling in courtesy of her acrobatic Funhouse world tour.
The Jonas Brothers did all right for themselves, landing at #7 on proceeds of $33.5 million, $31.4 million of which came from their world tour in support of Lives, Vines and Trying Times. Miley Cyrus hit #15 with $21.2 million, with more than $4.3 million from CD royalties and $15 million from her Wonder World tour, while Beyoncé banked $23.6 million to land at #13, with $2.3 coming from CD royalties on I Am ... Sasha Fierce, as well as endorsements and touring revenue. Coldplay earned $27.3 million, most of it from their world tour in support of 2008's Viva la Vida.
Also earning big bucks was teen Taylor Swift, #21 with $17.2 million, whose touring only accounted for half her cash, which mostly came from CD royalties for her mega-selling Fearless. In fact, Swift's royalties were topped only by Michael Jackson's, which surged in the year of his death.
Jackson was just ahead at #20 with $17.3 million, from a combination of CD and ringtone royalties ($13.2 for albums, $255,000 for ringtones), as well as cash from "This Is It," the highest-grossing concert film of all time, earning more than $72 million at the box office.
Kings of Leon also crashed the list at #25 with $14.4 million, $1.4 million of which they earned for their breakthrough Only by the Night disc, which sold 1.2 million copies. Another $9.9 million came from their non-stop touring.
Green Day came in at #32 with more than $12.1 million, mostly from their 21st Century Breakdown album and more than $8.8 million in touring. Lil Wayne — who is headed to prison for a year on Tuesday — came in at #30 with $12.8 million, $10 million of which came from the highest-grossing hip-hop tour of the year, not to mention the most lucrative rap trek Billboard has ever tracked.
Among the other acts making the list: reunited jam giants Phish (#37, $9.9 million), greasepaint rockers Kiss (#34, $11.8 million), former Beatle Paul McCartney (#31, $12.2 million), road hogs the Dave Matthews Band (#17, $20 million), Elton John (#14, $22.1 million), Nickelback (#12, $23.6 million), Fleetwood Mac (#11, $24.7 million), Metallica (#10, $25.5 million) and AC/DC (#4, $43.6 million).