Billboard’s 2019 Money Makers

Here's why bands go on tour nearly every year

As a was scrolling through Twitter a while ago, I came across a thread by Billboard that highlighted the highest earning musicians, in terms of “take home” revenue, of 2019. When I clicked for the full article I was blown away and knew that I needed to make a dashboard to accompany this article. That’s exactly what I did!

Check out the interactive visualization

Here’s what I love about this dataset and dashboard. It’s no wonder why the Rolling Stone’s tour and tour and tour, seeming to never end. It’s a bands “easiest” and biggest bang for their buck. As you explore the dashboard you can see just just how little bands make in royalties. 

Think about it, across all streaming platforms, the Rolling Stone’s only made $2M in streaming royalties! But I think this also goes to show how the music industry is changing. If you check out more recent performer’s, you’ll see a different story. 

Let’s take a look at two of the biggest modern Pop acts: Post Malone and Billie Eilish

Post Malone is highest is streaming & second highest in overall royalties. Click for more
Billie Eilish ranked last in touring but still managed to make a lot in royalties. Click for more

First up is Post Malone and according to, he had 88 live performances in 2019.The revenue he brought home from those shows is good enough to put him at 18th in touring but he’s so popular that his songs are everywhere! And the same goes for Billie Eilish. She, interestingly, had 108 shows in the same year and ranked last in touring.

But both of these artists had two of the biggest albums of 2019. 

Another band I, selfishly, wanted to take a look at was Metallica. My affinity for Metallica is well documented on Tableau Public profile.

The interesting thing about Metallica is that they own all their master recordings. Therefore, not only to do they have more control of where and how their music is used but, in terms of this dashboard, they take home a larger proportion of their earnings because they have few people working “the machine.”

Their high royalty ranks are also backed by a live-album release. According to they only only played 42 concerts in 2019.

The last thing that I couldn’t help but think about when exploring this dashboard is looking at the age of the band seeing the differences in their revenue streams. Of the top 10, 4 are “legacy” performers:

  • The Rolling Stones
  • Elton John
  • Queen
  • Billy Joel

With the exception of Queen, the other three had significantly higher touring amounts compared to royalties. I can’t help but wonder if their respective fan bases simply aren’t streaming as much when compared to more modern Pop acts.

I hope you enjoy exploring this list as much fun as I had making it! I would like to thank the following folks in my feedback loop:


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