The 25 Highest Grossing Tours of the Summer
Another summer of epic concerts has come and gone. While last year was heavy in tour collaborations, two-thousand-and-fifteen was more about major artists flying solo. On this list you’ll find some of the usual suspects–Phish, Zac Brown Band, Billy Joel–but there are also some surprises. Namely, how much money Kid Rock is still making in ticket sales.
(Editor’s Note: The gross dollar amounts listed next to each artist are from secondary ticket sales within North America during the summer months only.)
25 Top Grossing Artists of the Summer
25. Nicki Minaj – $1,025,000
Despite her never-ending string of beefs (most recently with Miley Cyrus), fans remain loyal to Nicki Minaj. Her Pinkprint Tour took place from mid-July to mid-August, and included support from Meek Mill and Trey Songz. For more info on the tour, click here.
24. Fall Out Boy – $1,063,000
Although we may have forgotten about them for a while, Fall Out Boy is back on top with a hit new album and single. They’ve just wrapped up a successful U.S. tour leg (hey, $1M isn’t too shabby when you’re alleged “has-beens”) and are now heading overseas to spread their pop-punk cheer. Click here for tour dates.
23. Eagles – $1,076,000
While they haven’t released new music since 2007, nobody can deny the mark that the Eagles have had on rock n’ roll music. And despite comments made by frontman Don Henley back in 2013 that their current tour would likely be their last, the Eagles still hit the road for a three-month jaunt this summer. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for more! Click here for more info on the tour.
22. Luke Bryan – $1,171,000
Luke Bryan has been on tour for all of 2015 and has a booked schedule through October 30, with dates for his “Kick up the Dust” tour and as part of the Country Megaticket bill that he shares with Dustin Lynch and Randy Houser. Oh yea, and his annual Farm Tour in which he quite literally performs at farms throughout the South. So basically, Luke Bryan is very busy. Click here for his tour dates.
21. Imagine Dragons – $1,248,000
Imagine Dragons is still in the middle of their “Smoke + Mirrors Tour,” which will take them through 2016 and is in support of their most recent album of the same name. Despite mixed reviews, their sophomore effort debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and the Las Vegas-bred band pulled in a cool $1.24M for a summer spent on the road. Click here for tour dates.
20. Lady Gaga – $1,259,000
Sure, when Lady Gaga was seemingly on top of her game a few years back, appearing at number 20 on this list would’ve been shocking. But she’s Gaga, she’s finding herself, and she’s doing what she wants to do. And if that means touring a jazz standards album with Tony Bennett all summer, then that’s what it damn well means. Click here for more info on the Cheek to Cheek tour.
19. Kid Rock – $1,337,000
Kid Rock’s summer concert gross is proof that even with $20 tickets, you can still make a ton of money on tour. Well, it’s proof that somebody is making money off his “$20 Best Night Ever” concept. (Most likely the scalpers who bought the tickets for cheap and then flipped them on the secondary market for triple the price.) Kid Rock also has concerts scheduled throughout the fall, click here for dates.
18. Phish – $1,633,000
Phish tours and sells out massive venues every summer, grossing millions of dollars annually, yet continues to fly under the radar of mainstream music. And something tells me they like it that way. With a South and West Coast-heavy summer trek, ending in a three-day festival at Watkins Glen, NY, it’s business as usual for everybody’s favorite jam band. Click here to find out how to score tickets to New Year’s Eve at MSG.
17. Garth Brooks – $1,785,000
Garth Brooks is still in the middle of his three-year return to the road, announcing new stops in fits ands spurts. Joined by his wifey and fellow country star, Trisha Yearwood, the two managed to pull in just under $2M in summer ticket sales. Click here for up-to-date info on where you can catch them next.
16. J. Cole – $2,157,000
J. Cole is at the top of his game right now, having released his third album–and coincidentally his third number one album–earlier this year to critical acclaim. The 2014 Forest Hills Drive release sold just 30,000 units shy of Kanye West’s Yeezy, and his promotional tour earned him a pretty penny to boot. Which is probably what allows him to continue his “Dollar and a Dream Tour” for just $1 entry. Click here for more J. Cole tour dates.
15. Zac Brown Band – $2,206,000
Zac Brown Band set out on a massive summer tour this year in support of their newest album, Jeckyll and Hyde, and will return to the road in just a week for a fresh batch of fall dates. With several major festival appearances under their belt, plus a nod from the painfully trendy Avicii, ZBB is successfully making the transition from country stars to straight rock n’ rollers. Click here for tour dates.
14. Shania Twain – $2,267,000
Shania Twain is retiring from the road… she swears. But first, a major world tour that she continues to extend and possibly take overseas. With support from Gavin DeGraw, the “Rock this Country” tour has been making its way across North America since June 5 with dates through October 11. Click here for more info.
13. 5 Seconds of Summer – $2,608,000
5 Seconds of Summer are the new faces of pop-punk, although their gross summer sales definitely emphasize the “pop” aspect of said formula. While they appeared on this last last year with an earning of $15M, that was when they were teamed up with One Direction. Now the boys are crushing it out on their own, with a tour that began back in July and is currently overseas. Click here for more info.
12. Dave Matthews Band – $2,805,000
Dave Matthews Band tours ritualistically every summer. But unlike their Vermont counterparts, their music is a staple in mainstream radio and they have the ticket sales to prove it. This year’s trek began on May in Austin, TX, and wrapped up just 10 days ago in Chicago, IL. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also catch them throughout Europe this fall. Click here for more info.
11. AC/DC – $3,027,000
After a five year hiatus from the road, AC/DC announced the “Rock or Bust” tour, in support of their new album of the same name. The tour kicked off with a bang as the group headlined both weekends of Coachella, and after dates across North America and Europe, the summer leg wrapped up just earlier this week. The band has also recently announced a lengthy Australian tour for later this year. Click here for more info.
10. Rush – $3,534,000
Rush also threw their touring hat into the touring ring this summer, with a three month jaunt across North America. The shows were in celebration of the band’s anniversary, which marks 40 years together and 20 albums. Click here for more info.
9. Billy Joel – $4,127,000
Billy Joel has signed on to a play a Madison Square Garden residency from now until the end of time. With shows sold out from here to eternity, the $4M he earned from his summer performances are just a drop in the bucket for the piano pop sensation. Click here to see Billy Joel live.
8. The Rolling Stones – $4,500,000
The Rolling Stones delighted fans this year with the re-released of seminal album Sticky Fingers, plus a North American tour to boot. The “Zip Code Tour” saw the British rock n’ roll icons in every major stadium across the country, plus a headlining slot at Quebec City Summer Fest. And when Mick Jagger is fronting one of the biggest bands in the world, you can catch him onstage with Taylor Swift. Click here for more info.
7. Kenny Chesney – $4,804,000
Kenny Chesney has spent a large chunk of 2015 on the road for “The Big Revival Tour.” Featuring special guests Jake Owen and Chase Rice, the tour was in support of the singer’s 2014 album of the same name. Chesney has also just announced plans for a joint tour with Miranda Lambert for next year. Click here for more info.
6. Foo Fighters – $5,265,000
Dave Grohl has become the new face of rock n’ roll, and the new face of basically every music-related Internet meme. Late last year, on the heels of a successful documentary series and new album, the band announces a massive world tour for 2015. A tour so massive, in fact, that they’re still on it. Click here for the full list of upcoming shows.
5. Ed Sheeran – $5,357,000
Ed Sheeran has been touring behind his second studio album, X, for quite some time now, having sold out his first round of U.S. dates and being forced to add a whole batch of fall stops. If you somehow missed him the first time around (and he basically played everywhere), you’ll have your chance this fall. Click here to check out his tour dates.
4. One Direction – $6,080,000
One Direction are currently on the rigorous boy band cycle of eat, sleep, record album, tour for half a year behind said album. And they seem to be doing it quite well, with over $6M in secondary ticket sales just for the summer portion of their concerts. Even without Zayn Malik. Click here for a full list of upcoming shows.
3. U2 – $7,516,000
U2 is still touring behind last year’s Song’s of Innocence release, a trek which began in May and continues on through mid-October. Featuring multiple nightly performances in cities throughout the world (currently the band is traversing Germany), one evening is said to focus on “songs of innocence” and the other on “songs of experience.” Hence the moniker, “The iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour.” Click here for more info.
2. Grateful Dead – $8,373,000
The Grateful Dead sure raked it in for their final performances as “the core four” this summer, with a string of finale shows culminating in an epic firework blowout over Fourth of July weekend in Chicago. Now they’ve replaced Trey Anastasio with John Mayer, uninvited Phil Lesh, and are calling it Dead & Company. Clever marketing move, boys. Click here to find out how much those tickets will cost you.
1. Taylor Swift – $17,870,000
No surprises here–Taylor Swift was and continues to rake it in on her massive 1989 World Tour…tour. Featuring special guests at almost every stop (most recently Mick Jagger in Nashville), everybody and their mother is snatching up a ticket to see pop royalty in person. Click here for your chance to catch Taylor live.