Another one bites the dust, and 2014 was seemingly one of the more diverse years in concert touring, with acts ranging from classic rock to pop to R&B topping the charts. Only three acts in the top ten are considered “classic”, while the rest are mainly established acts. As in every year, older stalwarts made big money, but the cost to see them was on average more than even the most popular act on this list. Despite older acts still managing to sell very well, youth seems to have reigned as the number one concert moneymaker of the year. Overall, ticket prices have gone up in the past several years and attendance is down, but it didn’t seem like it at all. The following numbers are according to Pollstar, a company that tracks concert tour stats. Many of these acts will be on tour in 2015, so it will certainly be interesting to see if they perform as well, if not better, in the new year.
10. Bruno Mars – 84 million
In 2014, Bruno Mars played 76 cities in support of his album, Unorthodox Jukebox. The Moonshine Jungle Tour began in June of 2013, and went through October of 2014. His 2014 tour began in Vegas, then he went to Australia, Asia, North America, Dominican Republic and Mexico. With a total of 974,817 tickets sold and an average gross of $1.4 million, Mars tops his 2013 gross of $72.4 million. And Mars was rather affordable, too. The ticket average was $86.17, making him only behind One Direction as the performer with the cheapest tickets on the list.
9. Paul McCartney – 84.5 million
Another unstoppable force, the one and only Paul McCartney never seems to tire (and with reason). His Out There Tour saw him playing Brazil and Japan for the first time in over a decade, and he traveled to some new cities, too. The tour initially began in May of 2013, ended in November of 2013, and picked up again in April of 2014, when he traveled to places like South America, North America and Costa Rica. In 2014, he played a total of 32 shows, with his tour finally ending in November.
8. Eagles – 86.5 million
The History of the Eagles Tour started in 2013 and continued into 2014. If you add up all of the shows since 2013, and the remaining ones, it comes out to a total of 118. Original band member Bernie Leadon toured with the band. They played 61 shows with the average ticket price of $138.34—only second to the Rolling Stones. The North America leg of their tour ended in the fall, but the guys will be touring Australia in the new year. They’ve already gone on record, saying that this may be their last tour. Of course, it may take hell to freeze over before that happens.
7. Lady Gaga – 88.7 million
Lady Gaga’s ArtRave: The Artpop Ball Tour was in support of her aptly titled, 2013 Artpop record. From May to November, the pop diva both enthralled and terrified audiences with her elaborate stage designs and extravagant costumes. Over the course of 84 shows, the average ticket price was $93, and she sold over 900,000 tickets. Many of the shows included stops in cities where she previously had to cancel dates because of an injury. Her 2014 jaunt also included a lucrative seven-day residency at NYC’s Roseland Ballroom.
6. Michael Buble – $105.1 million
Over a million fans showered the Canadian singer with adoration in paying an average ticket price of $102.66 to his To Be Loved Tour. He toured extensively in 2013, and began a European tour in the winter of 2014. He spent the summer performing in North America and the fall in South America and Europe. Michael Buble will continue his globetrotting ways in hitting up Africa and Asia in the first quarter of 2015. From Ottawa to Cape Town and 103 shows in total, of all the performers on this list, he must be the most exhausted.
5. Beyonce and Jay Z – $109.7 million
Their On the Run Tour only lasted two months (June through August, and two Paris shows in September), but practically each of the 21 shows managed to gross about $5 million, with an average ticket price of $111 (the cheapest tickets were a mere $40). Not bad for the first time the married couple co-headlined a major stadium tour, where they played to crowds of 40,000-50,000 people per show. Despite all of the volatile rumors that swirled about Queen B and Jay Z breaking up after the tour, it fortunately did not happen.
4. Katy Perry – $153.3 million
Apparently nothing can stop Katy Perry, as The Prismatic World Tour was the highest-grossing female tour of 2014. She played 106 shows and sold 1,407,972 tickets with an average price of $108 per ticket. Her tour, in support of her album Prism, began in May of 2014 and spanned to North America later in the year. Perry will begin to tour again in 2015. She’s even set to play the Super Bowl Halftime show and entertain Europe with her candy-colored confections, all starting in February this year.
3. The Rolling Stones – $165.1 million
The Stones are the oldest performers on the list and the most prolific—since the 1960s, they have played over 2,000 shows around the world. Following 2013’s successful 50 and Counting Tour, the Stones kicked off their 2014 concert season in February and ended it in November. They only played foreign countries such as Israel (their first time performing there), Abu Dhabi, Australia and Japan—19 countries total and 25 shows. Despite not playing too many concerts, they still yielded high returns, especially since the average ticket price was a staggering $191.
2. Justin Timberlake – $184.7 million
Even though Justin Timberlake lands at number two on this list, his tour grossed almost $100 million less of what the number one act did. Still though, Timberlake—who knows a thing or two about boy bands—played a grand total of 103 shows, with the average ticket price being $117.00. The 20/20 Experience World Tour commenced in November of 2013 and ended January 2nd in Las Vegas (but these figures are calculated from 2014). As a solo artist, though, JT comes in number one on the tour list.
1. One Direction – $282.2 million
In support of their albums Midnight Memories and Four, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis had a record-breaking tour year with their, Where We Are Tour. Not only was their spring to fall tour the highest grossing of 2014, it also was the 13th highest-grossing tour of all time. Last year, the gang landed at number 10 of the year-end tour list, so in 2014, they outdid themselves, proving just how much their popularity’s soared since 2013. The heartthrobs sold over $3 million tickets and played 69 shows. With an average ticket price of $82.05, their shows were the most affordable concert tickets in the top ten. (Overall, Luke Bryan had the cheapest with $49.) In 2015, 1D will tour the entire world and continue their domination.
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