Who are the biggest touring artists in the world? The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen may be the first names that come to mind, but those legendary acts trail behind boy band One Direction and country singer George Strait on the list of the highest grossing concert tours (worldwide and U.S.) in the first six months of 2014.
The numbers were crunched by industry trade publication Pollstar, which tallied concert revenue through the first half of the year to rank the top 100 tours domestically and around the globe. One Direction raked in $131.5 million from 31 shows to top the worldwide list. That’s an astounding amount of money - and Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis still have a slew of American stadium concerts coming up starting in August.
On the list of worldwide concert tours, the Rolling Stones trailed 1D with $115.1 million in revenue, though it should be noted they only played half as many shows as the boy band. The Stones’ average gross of more than $7 million per show was by far the highest of any artist.
Rounding out the top 5 on the worldwide list were Justin Timberlake ($110.2 million), Springsteen ($64.9 million), and Michael Buble ($62.2 million). The Eagles, Metallica, Bruno Mars, and Beyonce also posted respectable figures.
On the list of U.S. concerts only, Strait led with $61.8 million from 26 concerts on his farewell tour. He was followed by Billy Joel ($50.7 million), Cher ($48.5 million), Timberlake ($33.9 million), and the Paul Simon and Sting joint tour ($29.5 million). Further down the chart were Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga.
Five years after his death, Michael Jackson still made the list of top earners, as his Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson: The Immortal” collected $18 million in revenue.
Excluding Cirque du Soleil productions, the artist on the list who performed the most concerts in the first half of 2014 was “All of Me” singer John Legend, who sold out all 59 of his shows. Due to the intimate size of his venues, however – the average room had a capacity of 1,353 – Legend only ranked 59th on the U.S. earnings list with $5.5 in gross profits.
One thing most of the top concert tours had in common was hefty ticket prices. Among the top 20 earners on the U.S. list, the cheapest average ticket price belonged to Jason Aldean at $51.41. Many acts, including Elton John, Paul Simon, and Celine Dion, had an average ticket cost exceeding $100.
The lowest average ticket prices in the top 100 belonged to the Christian rock tour Winter Jam at $13.28, followed by Christian band Casting Crowns ($30.85) and country artists Brantley Gilbert ($31.56), Justin Moore ($33.29), and Rascal Flatts ($33.97).