1. U2 $108,601,283
Currently on a worldwide stadium tour, 360°,U2 made the bulk of their money from touring. Merchandising, U2.com, and royalties round out their monkey making machine.
2. Bruce Springsteen $57,619,037
After kicking off 2009 with the Super Bowl halftime show, The Boss just never stopped. On tour virtually the entire year, most of the money came from touring. Publishing royalties, retail sales and digital sales put even more
in the piggy bank.
3. Madonna $47,237,774
After being the #1 money making recording artist the year prior, Madonna moved to #3 based on only 27 dates in 2009, closing her Sticky & Sweet Tour. Those 27 dates, however, played to over 1.2 million people & helped solidify the tour as the highest grossing tour ever by a solo artist. With no new new studio album in 2009, it is that much more remarkable. Retail / digital sales and publishing royalties brought in a nice cushion. Merchandising was her 2nd biggest earner.
The Australian strong-holds surprised everyone when their Wal-Mart exclusive album “Black Ice” continued selling into 2009 to the tune of an additional 200,000 copies. Their biggest income earner was their heavy duty, non-stop touring, which grossed them over $41 million.
5. Britney Spears $38,885,267
After everyone had written her off, Brit-Brit surprised everyone with the biggest comeback in recent memory. 2009 brought her first #1 hit, which she then did two more times. The album, Circus, went on to sell almost a million copies, a huge uptick for her. She followed with a tour that raked in over $36 million.
Visit Billboard for the entire Top 40 list.