The music industry has been revolutionized by streaming services and platforms for upcoming artists like Bandcamp and SoundCloud. These innovations in new media have shaken up the traditional path to acclaim with rising stars making their own way through YouTube fame or one of the many platforms they have at their disposal. Nonetheless, the frenetic joy of occupying the same room as your childhood idols and present-day stars has far from faded, as big names in the music industry still manage to pull in nine figures from their global tours. The top five grossing concert tours of 108 pulled in nearly $1.5 billion.
5. Pink - $180 million
Pink may be her “own worst enemy,” but her continued fandom seems to be more than enough to offset the scales. Born Alecia Beth Moore, the neon-haired superstar saw her rise to fame in the early 2000s with her chart-topping record Missundaztood. In addition to her raspy voice, Pink is known for her acrobatic stage presence, which may explain her long-lived success as a live performer. To date, Pink has sold 90 million records worldwide.
4. Bruno Mars - $237 million
Hawaiian-born singer, songwriter, and Elvis impersonator Bruno Mars attained his first five number-one singles faster than any artist since The King himself. Mars moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue a music career at the age of 18, receiving his first major spot in the starlight with an appearance on the single “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B., and his subsequent debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010). However, in truth, Mars had been a subject of attention since his first forays into performance art as a 4-year-old Elvis impersonator in Hawaii. With his genre-bending blends of R&B, funk, pop, soul, reggae, hip hop, and rock, Mars is known for his showmanship, illustrated by continued ticket sales for his live performances.
3. Beyoncé & Jay-Z - $253 million
The King and Queen Bey continue to dominate ticket sales for live music performances across the globe. The husband-and-wife duo have become a synergy of raw celebrity pull, with their joint tour pulling in million. In 2016 and 2017, the couple’s reported marital tensions bled over into their musical repertoire as Beyoncé referenced Jay’s extramarital affairs in her acclaimed album Lemonade, Jay responded in turn with his apologetic tracks on 4:44, and the pair seemed to put it all behind them on their 2018 joint album, Everything is Love. Still going strong, however, the couple topped concert sales in 2018 with a notable appearance from another celebrity couple.
2. Taylor Swift - $315 million
At the age of 14, Taylor Swift became the youngest artist to ever sign with Sony Records. Since her 2006 self-titled album, she has become one of the world’s leading artists as an icon of pop and country. She’s also not exactly the type of girl you’d want to upset in a breakup, as her material is notorious for teeming with her feelings on her latest failed relationship. With countless awards, 50 million album sales, and 150 million single downloads, Swift is an industry giant both on the stage and off. At number two on the top-grossing concert tour list, her 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour was only further confirmation of her superstardom.
1. Ed Sheeran - $429 million
Who said the British Invasion was over? U.K. singer songwriter, heartthrob and guitarist Ed Sheeran has been in the spotlight since his chart-topping debut album in 2011. He received his first Grammy nomination in 2013 for “The A Team,” which he performed live with Elton John; a few years later, he took home the awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for his smash hit “Thinking Out Loud.” To date, Sheeran has sold over 150 million records, but his presence as a live performer is far from overshadowed by his studio cuts—he topped the 2018 list for highest-grossing concert tours worldwide.