By Jim McCarthy Jan 15, 2009 0 comments

Maybe I Should Be Writing This on My Commodore 64, too

After all, this story about 2008′s top 10 highest-grossing music acts hasn’t changed much since 1988.

Here’s the list, courtesy of the LA Times Calendar section:

1.  Madonna, $120.1 million in total, $105.3mm from touring

2.  Celine Dion, $106.8 million total, $94 mm from touring

3.  Kenny Chesney, $95.7 mm total, $72.2 mm from touring

4.  Eagles, $90.7 million total, $73.4 mm from touring

5.  AC/DC, $82 million total, $37.5 mm from touring

6.  Coldplay, $81.6 million total, $40.8 mm from touring

7.  Bon Jovi, $81.4 million total, $70.4 mm from touring

8.  Bruce Springsteen, $79 million total, $69.3 mm from touring

9.  Jonas Brothers, $77.9 million total, $41.5 mm from touring

10. Rascal Flatts, $77.1 million total, $55.8 mm from touring.

A couple things to note here:  first of all, criminey, these bands (mostly) are old!  Bon Jovi?  AC/DC? Bruce Springsteen?  I’m not saying they don’t rock, but let’s look at this list another way.  Below, instead of names and revenue, are the dates of each act’s first recording credit, according to Soundflavor:

1.  1982

2.  1990

3.  1994

4.  1971

5.  1973

6.  1996

7.  1983

8.  1972

9.  2006

10.  2000

That’s an average career launch date for the top 10 acts of 1986!  Reagan’s second term.  David Hasselhoff famous for Knight Rider, not ironic German fame and faded Baywatch glory.   I really need to start thinking about who I’m taking to the prom, and after that, I’ve got to get serious about those college applications.

In fact, other than the Jonas Brothers themselves, only three of this top ten list were formed AFTER NICHOLAS JONAS WAS BORN!

The second worthwhile thing to notice is the obviously, most of the money here is from ticket sales (how very Live 2.0 of course), but it’s not as true for all acts.

For  the Ancients (Bon Jovi, Bruce, Madonna, the Eagles), it’s pretty much all on the road.  For the newer bands (and “new” in this case includes acts like Coldplay, who’ve been around longer than the length of The Beatles entire career), there’s a lot more punch to their recorded sales.  Coldplay in particular does well because they add about 15% to their CD sales with really strong digital sales.

Only AC/DC bucked the trend of Ancients who can still sell recordings, with their new album, Black Ice, selling really well as a result of being pushed hard by Wal-Mart.  Lots has already been said about this, so I won’t belabor it, but just remember this:  there’s only one Wal-Mart.

And finally, fair warning about the picture of Celine Dion in the Times photo gallery.  She looks like she’s about to cast an evil spell on the people in the front row.  Don’t let it happen to you!

UPDATE:  I ran the numbers again, and if you take the Jonas Brothers themselves out of it, the average launch date for these acts is all the way back to 1983!  You could still pick up on faint whiffs of the Carter adminstration at that point!

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