Music industry trade publication Pollstar has released their list of the top 20 touring artists of the 2010s. While the list includes newer pop artists like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift, it also features established rock and metal bands who have proven to be huge draws over many decades.
Topping off the list is U2, who were the only artist to amass more than $1 Billion in touring revenue over the last ten years. The amount was spread out over five tours, including their 2009-2011 “U2 360°” tour which is currently the second-highest-grossing tour in history according to Billboard Boxscore (highest when adjusted for inflation). This number one placing puts them ahead of their 2000s numbers, which had Pollstar placing them at number six.
The Rolling Stones came in second with more than $929 Million in revenue. That tally spans five tours, with their most recent outing, 2017-2019’s “No Filter” tour, taking in more than $415.6 Million and becoming the seventh highest-grossing ever. Another step upward, The Stones rose to second from number five in the previous decade.
Further down the top 10 you have Bon Jovi at number six, earning more than $836.7 Million for five tours, and bringing him up from the fourteenth-place spot in the 2000s. Favorites such as former Beatle Paul McCartney (seven) and Bruce Springsteen (nine) also made the list, taking in more than $813.8 Million and $729.8 Million respectively, with the latter having two of the highest-grossing tours ever (2012’s “Wrecking Ball” tour and 2016’s “The River” tour) in this decade. Pink Floyd vocalist Roger Waters rounds out the top 10, making more than $702.2 Million as a solo artist and having the fifth-highest-grossing tour ever with “The Wall Live.”
When it comes to metal, the second half of the list features two of the biggest bands in the genre. Metallica came in at number 12 on Pollstar’s list, taking in more than $661.9 Million from seven tours. Their current “WorldWired” tour, which started in 2016 and is projected to continue into the new year/decade, is currently the sixth-highest-grossing tour of all time and seventh for the decade. Their twelfth-place placement puts them ahead of their 2000s tours, raising them from number 15 on the Pollstar’s list.
Coming in just behind them is Guns N’ Roses at number 13. With just one tour, the recently wrapped up “Not In This Lifetime,” the reunited grouping of Axel Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan took in more than $648.1 Million over three years. That puts it at the second-highest-grossing tour of the decade and the third-highest ever.
Eagles are the last rock band on the list, coming in at number 14 with more than $630 Million over three tours.
Aside from tracking which artists made the most in touring, Pollstar also observed trends in ticket sales. According to the site, ticket prices went up an average of 38% in the last ten years with grosses increasing by 87%. That means we will most likely see more huge tours breaking records in the years to come.
The full list of the decade’s top touring artists with descriptions and captions can be found on the Pollstar website.