The music industry is a funny place. There are so many different pockets of activity going on at any given time that are so far away from the same mainstream songs we hear on pop radio every day. When you veer past all the top 40 singles, there are a slew of artists out there who have developed very huge, loyal followings, and their fans continue to support them whether they are in the limelight or not. Let’s take a look at some of these unique acts – more specifically, the ones that made the Billboard top 40 money-maker list of 2013. They may not be on the cover of every magazine (like Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Beyoncé or Jay-Z), but they are making big bucks none the less.
6 New Kids On The Block
Most of the time, when people talk about boy bands, the reactions are often extreme, from girls swooning over their favorite boy band member to a bad joke or a chuckle. But in the case of New Kids On The Block, they are the ones laughing all the way to the bank. At this point, the band has been around for a very impressive 20 years, and they even released a new album in 2013 (their 10th album) which reached the #6 mark on the music charts. It’s surprising to think that their fan base, which consisted mostly of screaming teenage girls has grown up with them and stayed loyal, but it looks like that’s exactly what happened. They continue to pull large crowds on tour and the total earnings in 2013 was just shy of $10 million dollars. So now you know, the next time boy bands are mentioned, don’t be so quick to laugh – it’s actually a career that does provide some long term earning potential.
5 Blake Shelton
In last few years, Blake Shelton has become quite the household name in American homes. This is mainly due to two reasons. First off, he’s one of the permanent hosts for the popular network singing show The Voice. Secondly, he’s been constant fodder for the supermarket tabloids with all the rumors about infidelity in his marriage to country music star Miranda Lambert. But it seems all those rumors didn’t put a damper on his earnings at all. In 2013, Blake Shelton earned $10.3 million and his very respectable earnings can be chalked up to his superb time management. Shelton brilliantly splits his year into thirds – with two-thirds being spent on recording his hit television show and the last third dedicated to touring and keeping his music career alive. His earnings from touring was a very respectable $5.9 million, so even if the TV show ever goes away, you can be sure Mr. Shelton will still be living very well.
4 4. Phish
Phish is one of those jam bands that’s probably going to touring and keeping their fans happy till they are old, wrinkled and grey. The band was formed in 1983, and it’s spearheaded by Trey Anastasio who serves as both lead vocalist and guitarist. This Vermont band really rose to prominence in the nineties when college kids really adopted them as their go-to “jam band.” This position was further cemented in the 1995, when Jerry Garcia, the widely adored leader of the Grateful Dead passed away. In 2013, the arena-packing pull of Phish continued with no signs of slowing down at all. They earned a very respectable $12.4 million dollars for their hard work. This number is extremely impressive considering that they only sold 52,000 albums the entire year. When it comes to tireless road warriors in the music industry, Phish is definitely a band that belongs in the top ten.
3 Trans-Siberian Orchestra
One surefire way of maintaining longevity in the music industry is by simply carving your own niche and doing something that no one else does. That’s exactly what composer, lyricist and guitarist Paul O’Neill and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra have done. After producing and writing for marquee names like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Joan Jett and the Scorpions, he assembled a progressive band named Trans-Siberian Orchestra and has subsequently awed music lovers with their take on orchestral, surrealist and melodic rock music. Their sound has been described as a mix of “Pink Floyd meets The Yes and The Who” – other bands have done rock opera before but not like TSO. The band is known for their extravagant and elaborate live shows and in 2013, their total earnings were just under $12.5 million dollars. For a band that first started off in 1993, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to be slowing down any time soon.
2 Dave Matthews Band
If you were in high school or attended college in the mid to late ‘90s, you are undoubtedly very familiar with the Dave Matthews band. You couldn’t turn on MTV during that era without seeing a new DMB video or live performance showcasing their truly original fusion of rock, jazz, soul and alternative sounds. Who can forget their epic video for their seminal single “Crash Into Me” which won a ton of awards? But even in 2014, with the music industry heading in a totally different direction, this impressive band has stayed its course – still putting out new albums and diligently touring and playing for their fans. In 2013, DMB earned almost $14 million and this amount doesn’t even include all the merchandise they sell at their packed shows. When you’re good at something, sometimes all you need to do is keep doing it and everything else just works out. That’s the secret to DMB’s success – consistency, consistency, consistency.
1 Michael Bublé
Canadian singer Michael Bublé is one of the good guys in the music industry. He’s always clean-cut, polite and ready with a gracious smile for all his fans. And then of course, you can’t discount that he has a truly amazing voice to go with his appealing demeanor. Bublé actually had a really good year in 2013. He welcomed his first son with wife Luisa Lopalito, and financially, he brought in about $14.5 million. Just because Bublé isn’t played on the radio 80 times are day, and we don’t see him on TMZ, Perez Hilton and tabloid print publications, one might think that he isn’t relevant in the music industry. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. His US tour alone in 2013 earned over $11 million dollars and that goes to show his impressive ability to draw crowds wherever he performs. This also proves that in the current incarnation of the music industry, being able to deliver a great live show is absolutely key.