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The Highest Grossing Tours of 2015 Announced

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It’s January again, and just like every January, Pollstar has released their 2015 year-end touring data. Pollstar only publishes the top 100-200 artists in every category so don’t expect your forever-touring hobo-sludge band to be on here. In fact, don’t expect anything you wouldn’t already expect to see here; you’ve got your Taylor Swifts, your Ed Sheerans and One Directions, your Rolling Stoneses, your Garth Brookses and your Daves of Matthew.

But is it interesting to read? Well, yeah. As much as it pains me to study pop charts, the data suggests that despite the complete devaluation of what fans are willing to pay for recorded music from $18 per album in the ’90s down to nearly nothing now, fans still flock to see their favorite artists perform in record numbers. And they pay big money for it, too! And and, from the looks of it, artists still want to be on tour, interacting with fans, and creating a live experience around their music.

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I am not going to try to editorialize this data, but it’s worth looking closely at for some surprising tidbits. Like these:

  • The Rolling Stones and AC/DC each only played 14 North American shows last year, but the Stones grossed over $109 million, over twice what Angus and the boys took in.
  • Taylor Swift averages a whopping $4.8 million per show on ticket sales alone!
  • The following artists still haven’t cashed in their chips: Train, Ricky Martin, Darius Rucker, Incubus, Rob Thomas… shall I go on?
  • Sufjan Stevens made $5.1 million last year on tour, in ticket sales.
  • The Grateful Dead have been touring so long, they don’t even have to go on the road anymore to make money “touring.” They played 5 shows in 2 cities last year and made $52 million. (*Also, I betcha didn’t know that John Mayer played and sang Jerry Garcia’s parts this year on tour…)
  • Gabriel Iglesias and Enrique Iglesias, who no matter how hard we try, are not related, made almost the exact same amount of money this year and they are represented by the same touring agency.
  • And lastly, Germans love music festivals.

So, without further ado, here are some of Pollstar’s numbers from 2015.

The Top 200 North American Tours (in gross millions of dollars)

The Top 100 Worldwide Tours (in gross millions of dollars)

The Top 100 Worldwide Tours (in tickets sold)

More charts:

Top 200 Concert Grosses
Top 20 Worldwide Festival Grosses 
Top 100 International Concert Grosses

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Jeremy Young

Jeremy is a music business guru and loves giving advice to young, emerging bands on how to make their tours more effective. He also plays guitar, publishes audiobooks, runs a record label, and is an artist working in sound media. He has performed and released material throughout Europe, Asia, the US, UK and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.