Top Earning Country Music Stars

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Forbe's recently did a very interesting article on the top earning country music artists.

Forbes' Top Earning Country Music Stars
(Dated 05/21/2008)

1. Toby Keith (48 Million)
2. Rascal Flatts (40 Million)
3. Tim McGraw (23 Million)
4. Kenny Chesney (22 Million)
5. Brooks & Dunn (20 Million)
6. Brad Paisley (16 Million)
7. Faith Hill (12 Million)
8. Keith Urban (12 Million)
9. George Strait (11 Million)
10. Alan Jackson (10 Million)

Not too surprising of a list. What is interesting though is the difference between the top 2 and the rest of the list. The rest are fairly close in numbers. Selling records alone no longer makes you earn the most in music. It takes being involved in every aspect of the music industry including selling albums, writing your own songs, owning your own label, writing your own songs, being on long term tours, merchadise licensing, and endorsements to come out on top. That's why Toby Keith is at the top. Also, younger audience target and cross-over appeal appears to help, in which is a great factor in why Rascal Flatts is in the second position.

Something else the article mentions deals with country music artist sales as a whole, that I found quiet interesting. It said that the country music industry hasn't been hit quiet as hard with the transition to digital sales rather than CD sales. I find that very true in talking with country music fans, they might purchase a download here and there of a new song or new artist that they have been exposed to. However, dealing with established artists, the typical country music fan rather buy the CD. I have always, and will always, support the purchase of the CD. There is so much in a CD cover and the design work of the overall CD package that we lose from digital downloads. So, even though the country music industry has taken a hit in someways due to the ability for digital downloads, maybe not quiet as much as pop and other music styles.

Another thing I noticed when looking at the list is the lack of female artists in the list. Only one female on the list, Faith Hill. She makes the list I am speculating due to the recent tour with husband Tim McGraw, however, his earnings according to the list are almost double of her earnings. I think there many reasons for the earnings being lower. Some of it most of the female artists performing today do not have the cross over appeal as some of the male artists. The female artists tour schedules seem to be lacking lately. There not many long term female headlined tours going in the past year. If they do headline, it is in smaller venues, rather than large venues. I haven't looked into it real hard, but I expect there more male artists writing their own songs. Some females do, no doubt. Some of the females, comparing to the list Forbes did earlier in the year on female artists in music, the top females in country would show up just outside the top 10.

So you are probably asking why isn't Taylor Swift on the list. Well, good question. However, she is a good example of it takes so much to be a top 10 earner, I'm sure is pretty high up, but not quiet to the top 10 level. She does have the album sales, thats for sure. Her debut album is triple platnium and been on the charts for 82 weeks. She is a songwriter, all the songs on her album are written by her. However, whats missing is the tour sales. That is where a lot of the artists make their money these days. Currently, with only one album, she isn't headlining the tour. She remains an opening act, but no doubt draws ticket sales. So, give her success on the first album, when her career is ready for headline status of a long term tour, then, we will see her name in the top 10.