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©AP / Madonna
© AP / Madonna
Madonna is crowned top music earner in 2012 due to world tour

(Reuters) -- Madonna was named the biggest money maker in music in 2012 on Friday, with a world tour helping her take home up to $34.6 million and highlighting the earning power of live performances as the industry increasingly goes digital.

The 54-year-old Material Girl topped Billboard Magazine's annual list of 40 top money makers for the second time after earning an estimated $32 million -- 93.5 percent of her revenue -- from her 88-date MDNA tour, the biggest of 2012.

Madonna, who also led the list in 2008 due to tour income, was the only woman in the top 10 with last year's winner, Taylor Swift, who fell to 15th place as she did not tour in 2012.

In second place in the music magazine's list was Bruce Springsteen whose $33.4 million revenue was also primarily driven by touring and playing to sold-out stadiums and arenas.

Bing: Madonna donates 'MDNA' tour costumes

Springsteen, who also released a No. 1 album, "Wrecking Ball," last year, earned 92 percent of his revenue from live shows where strong merchandise sales also boosted takings.

Roger Waters, founder of Pink Floyd, came in a distant third with earnings of $21 million, largely from The Wall Live tour, and Van Halen was fourth with $20 million after touring in support of their album "A Different Kind of Truth."

"When it comes to making the biggest score, the most money always comes from high-paying live performances," Billboard's editorial analyst Glenn Peoples wrote in explaining the list.

"Ironically, the most popular touring artists are usually well past their peaks on the album sales charts."

Country music veteran Kenny Chesney, the Dave Matthews Band, country's Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean, and British band Coldplay came next on the list.

Canadian teen sensation Justin Bieber was 10th, earning almost $16 million, of which about $10 million came from his sold-out Believe arena tour.

"The entire top 10 averaged 84.2 percent of their income from concerts, and the number would have been higher, if not for Justin Bieber's mere 60.1 percent share at No. 10 dragging down the average," said Billboard.

Touring, however, was not vital for every act on the list, such as Swift and Britain's Adele. Swift earned $12.7 million after selling the most digital tracks in 2012. She sold more than 3 million digital albums and 15.6 million digital tracks driven by her hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Adele took the year off after having her baby, but still earned nearly $14 million, putting her 11th in the rankings, due to continuing strong physical and digital sales for her album "21."

Maroon 5, ranked 33rd in the list, took the highest share of streaming revenue, which made 3.5 percent of its $7.2 million.

Billboard said streaming music online to paying customers has not caught on with older generations and was small in percentage terms, but growing.

"Yet even in the coming years, as streaming services become a more important revenue source, possibly replacing digital downloads and CD sales, one thing is unlikely to change: Concerts will have the greatest influence of top earners' overall earnings," said Peoples.

The list was compiled by Billboard editors using data from Boxscore archives of U.S. concert gross figures, Nielsen SoundScan data for sales, YouTube and Nielsen BDS data.

25Comments
Mar 30, 2013 8:49PM
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It's pretty amazing that anyone will still go to one of these concerts considering her heyday of hits was late 80s and early 90s and she hasn't released anything of much worth for 10 years.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing..
Mar 30, 2013 2:29PM
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I wonder if there are unsuccessful people who are alone, aging, and consuming alcohol on this Saturday, who will take this opportunity to say something uncomplimentary about her?
Feb 24, 2013 9:49PM
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Obviously she isn't paying her fair share. Someone should report her to Obama.
Feb 24, 2013 11:09AM
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It still does not excuse her for disrepecting the people who went to her concerts, showing up two - three hours late.  I still like her music, but the person needs serious work.
Feb 23, 2013 1:24AM
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I'm sure all the money will be donated to charity since she has way too much already. Maybe some of it could be used for a refresher course at charm school.
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