Beatles, Eagles, Queen Among Top-Paid Musical Acts Of 2020

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

July 26, 2021

After a year of almost no touring at all, the annual list of the highest paid musicians features a great many classic artists whose music has stood the test of time.

Three of the top-earning acts were iconic rock groups whose music continues to sell and stream, regardless of the pandemic, according to Billboard, which also took into account revenue earned from pre-shutdown live shows.

To that end, the Eagles were the fourth highest paid act overall and the highest paid rock artist, taking in approximately $16.3 million, $11 million of which came from 10 live shows before COVID restrictions led to the suspension of the band's Hotel California celebration tour. Eagles were one of the most-streamed bands of 2020, earning more than $2.7 million from streaming. (Eagles plan to get back on the road with their Hotel California show in August, starting with a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden Aug. 22 and 24.)

In seventh place was Queen, which took in about $13.2 million, more than $5 million of which came through physical sales; another $5 million came through music streaming platforms. (Queen plans to resume its 'Rhapsody' tour next spring.)

A spot behind Queen was The Beatles in eighth place. The Fab Four's place in the Top 10 is especially telling of the band's enduring relevance. While both Eagles and Queen performed live in 2020 (Queen's performance was a benefit concert), The Beatles's last did so in 1969, yet still earned at least $12.9 million last year, with more than $5.2 million coming from physical record sales, $5.1 million coming from streaming and $2.6 million coming from publishing.

In all, 13 of the Top 40 highest-paid artists were rock acts, more than any other genre.

AC/DC came in at 13th on the list, thanks for the band's well-received PWR/UP album in November. Metallica came in at No. 13, largely thanks to the band's highly-anticipated S&M2 live album. Pink Floyd landed 20th, and that's frankly no surprise at all.

Elsewhere on the list were more legendary artists, Tool, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac.

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