Rolling Stone magazine recently released its annual list of music’s biggest moneymakers. Here’s the top 10:
- U2, $154.2 million
- The Rolling Stones, $92.5 million
- Eagles, $63.2 million
- Paul McCartney, $56 million
- Elton John, $48.9 million
- Neil Diamond, $44.7 million
- Jimmy Buffett, $44 million
- Rod Stewart, $40.3 million
- Dave Matthews Band, $39.6 million
- Celine Dion, $38.5 million
You’ll notice that no rappers made the top 10. In fact, there’s hardly anyone under the age 40. Dave Matthews and Celine Dion might both be 40+ at this point. Which is not to say there aren’t any rappers that old, but you know.
Of the top 30, the highest “rapper” to place was P Diddy at 15 with $24.3 million. Fiddy, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Dr. Dre took the 19th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, and 26th places, respectively.
As the article itself mentioned, the easiest way to make a shiteload of money is to tour, but most of these rappers did go on high profile tours in 2005. It’s just that hip-hop tours, because they suck, gross way less than comparable rock tours.
I’ve mentioned this before on my own site, but I’ll pay to see Hootie & the Blowfish (an awesome live band) before I pay to see basically any hip-hop act. All the best concerts I’ve ever been to have been rock shows, and I’ve never seen anything on a par with the Stones or U2.
And here’s the kicker: since they’ve recently been reduced to playing the county air show circuit, more often than not you won’t even have to pay to see Hootie & the Blowfish. A free rock show is wholly superior to any $60 rap show.
Part of the problem may be that live hip-hop is inherently inferior to other forms of music, but part of the problem also lies with the fact that very few hip-hop artists have done much if anything to cultivate a live following.
If, as they say, all the money is in touring, and hip-hop is all about getting that money, you’d expect to see a lot more rappers out trying to play live. But with a few exceptions, this definitely hasn’t been the case.