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U2 - $130 million
The world’s biggest rock band U2 launched an enormous world tour in 2009 that has brought in more than $311 million in gross box office revenue. Every tour stop brings in $10 million in gross ticket sales. Add in profitable merchandise sales, heavy radio play and a steady-selling back catalog, and you have the highest-earning band on the planet.
AC/DC - $114 million
This Australian heavy metal group has been shivering audiences all night long since 1973 and shows few signs of stopping. Second only to U2 in band tour earnings, AC/DC grossed a stunning $226 million on a worldwide tour that included 99 dates and brought in more than $2 million a night.
One half of the most celebrated couple in hip-hop (Jay-Z, No. 6, is the other half), Beyonce continues to increase her business empire beyond music. Endorsement deals with companies ranging from Nintendo to L’Oreal and her growing House of Dereon fashion line bring in millions of dollars per year on top of the $86 million she grossed from a 93-stop world tour.
The poet laureate of New Jersey continues to join with fans around the world. Backed by the E Street Band, Springsteen sold more than 2 million tickets on his world travel around, which grossed $167 million, enough to make it the third highest-grossing tour in the world. Heavy radio play on classic rock stations and a steady-selling backlist adds to his base line.
Not long ago, most of the entertainment world had written Britney Spears off as a famous person flameout. But over the last year Spears logged the fifth highest-grossing tour in the world, bringing in $130 million in gross box office take by playing 98 dates. High-profile endorsement deals with Elizabeth Arden and Candies prove that the public expects Spears to stay in the spotlight for excellent.