Worldwide tours and corporate endorsements have helped secure the top-earning musicians for 2010, Forbes has revealed with their newly published Top Ten list of earners calculated on the earnings from the last financial year:

1. U2 ($130 million)
2. AC/DC ($114 million)
3. Beyoncé ($87 million)
4. Bruce Springsteen ($70 million)
5. Britney Spears ($64 million)
6. Jay-Z ($63 million)
7. Lady Gaga ($62 million)
8. Madonna ($58 million)
9. Kenny Chesney ($50 million)
10. Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay and Toby Keith ($48 million)

The music industry is a much-changed business. Musicians cannot solely rely on album sales since a majority of consumers are unwilling to pay for music when they can easily download it for free; thus album sales have diminished by more than half since 2000 – a significant loss in potential profit.

U2, AC/DC, Springsteen and Madonna who have all been since the eighties earned more than half of the $700 million that the top ten acts in music brought in, thanks to sold out world tours and prominent company partnerships. Exhibit A: AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour saw them gross $2.3 million a night, earning $114M worldwide, with The Boss also netting $70 million with more than 2 million tickets sold for his last tour.

Surprisingly Britney Spears is still up there with the fifth highest grossing tour of the year and a string of endorsements – ahead of Jay Z whose various entrepreneurial enterprises (nightclubs, NBA team, broadway musical) earned him sixth place. Beyonce beat Lady Gaga by $25 million. And of course Madonna came in at number eight thanks to her Sticky and Sweet tour in which she cashed in $6 million a night, as well as earning lucrative publishing royalties on the side, including an all-Madonna episode of Glee.

Oprah laughed hysterically for hours at these pissy little figures while sliding her feet into some Ugg Australia Cassic Crochet Boots and supping on Perfect Endings Cupcakes by Williams-Sonoma.

Via Forbes
Image by: Ian Gavan via Getty