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Celine Dion reaches peak of the decade's Ultimate Top 10

CELINE_LAT All she had to do was stay in one place instead of touring like other top acts. Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews Band come in close behind in combined album sales and concert revenue for the decade.

What's the formula for success in the rapidly shifting music business? Roll the dice, then stay put.

That combination put Celine Dion atop the ultimate edition of Calendar's annual Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking that combines artists' album sales revenue with their take at the box office.

Dion earned the title of Ultimate Top 10 champ for the decade that recently ended, thanks in large part to the money she piled up from her five-year engagement at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where audiences are used to paying big bucks for big stars.

Her gamble to perform in one place for an extended period paid off big for the Canadian pop diva.

The Ultimate Top 10 isn't meant to be the final word on artists' finances. With merchandising, product endorsements, song placements in movies and TV shows, ring tones, website subscriptions and myriad other income sources, musicians today have seemingly limitless ways to bring in money. But by combining two of the biggest revenue sources, the Ultimate Top 10 is a good indicator of which artists fans are spending the most money on.

The overall decade results suggest there's still considerable long-term value in allowing artists time to build extensive catalogs and encouraging them to support those recordings by touring regularly.

The Ultimate Top 10 of the Decade:

1. Celine Dion, $747.9 million. Dion pulled in $522.2 million in concert-ticket sales for the decade. Adding $225.7 million worth of album sales during those same 10 years, she trumped all comers.

2. Kenny Chesney, $742 million. Close behind Dion was this road warrior, who toured hard and promoted records the old-fashioned way year in and year out. His total includes $455.6 million in concert ticket sales and $286.4 million in album revenue.

3. Dave Matthews Band, $737.4 million. Matthews' decade concert total of $529.1 million put him first on the list of top North American live music attractions of the decade, as calculated by the concert-tracking publication Pollstar. The band posted $208.3 million in album sales.

4. The Beatles, $627.3 million. Although the quartet disbanded 30 years before the decade began, the Beatles still managed to generate $392.3 million from sales of 30.2 million albums (using an average of $13 per album). We folded in the individual box office figures racked up by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney ($221.4 million) and Ringo Starr ($13.6 million), given that their concert audiences consist in large part of Beatles fans. The Fab Four also logged the single bestselling album of the decade, the "1" hits collection, with 11.5 million copies. And counting.

5. U2, $609.7 million. The Irish rock quartet brought in $391 million at the box office and $218.7 million in album sales.

6. Toby Keith, $591.9 million. The second of three country acts in the Top 10, the Oklahoma singer and songwriter logged $273.8 million on the concert trail, $318.1 million from album sales.

7. Bruce Springsteen, $588.3 million. On the road, both with the E Street Band and his various non-E Street tours, the Boss brought in $444.3 million. His album take: $144 million.

8. The Rolling Stones, $569.6 million. The Stones also benefited heavily from touring, earning $426.9 million at the box office in addition to $142.7 million in album sales.

9. Tim McGraw, $550.7 million. Strictly as a solo act, the country singer-songwriter ranks No. 14 on the list. But he toured several times with his wife, Faith Hill, during the decade. California being a community property state, we are awarding him half the revenue those outings generated. So his total includes $322 million in album sales, $133.7 million from his own tours and $95 million for his half of the McGraw-Hill shows.

10. Britney Spears, $494.3 million. Despite a rocky decade personally and professionally, Spears pulled in $195.7 million at the box office and sold $298.6 million worth of albums for the 10-year period.

The decade's top album seller was Eminem, the Detroit rapper who posted $419 million from sales of 32.2 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But because he toured sporadically, he was only able to add $40.8 million to his Ultimate Top 10 total, which places him at No. 14; he is the sole hip-hop artist to land in the Top 20.

Looking at 2009 alone, the 14th annual Ultimate Top 10 title goes to U2. During the year, the band posted $137.3 million ($123 million box office, $14.3 million albums), a bit better than last year's winner, Madonna, who finished on top with $120.1 million. Springsteen follows U2 with $102 million ($94.5 million box office, $7.5 million in albums).

The year's biggest album seller finished at No. 3 overall: In the wake of his death, Michael Jackson posted total album sales of just under $100 million, without any revenue from the series of comeback concerts he was scheduled to give in London. (Those dates wouldn't have counted toward the Ultimate Top 10 since Pollstar data come from North American concert tour figures.)

Spears ended the year at No. 4, with $82.5 million in concert ticket sales and $7 million in album revenue. The joint Elton John/Billy Joel tour tallied $88 million at the box office, with no corresponding revenue from albums that finished among the year's top 200 sellers from the duo, placing the piano men at No. 5. John generated an additional $14.2 million during the year from solo performances.

The remainder of the 2009 Ultimate Top 10 shakes out as follows: No. 6: AC/DC with $83.8 million ($77.9 million in concert tickets, $5.9 million in album sales); No. 7: Taylor Swift with $83.2 million ($25.5 million at the box office, $57.7 million in album sales); No. 8: Chesney at $81 million ($71.1 million in concert, $9.9 million in album sales); No. 9: the Jonas Brothers with $77.9 million ($69.8 million in concert revenue, $8.1 million in album sales), and No. 10: the Dave Matthews Band with $69.8 million ($56.9 million in concert tickets, $12.9 million in album sales).

--Randy Lewis

Top photo: Celine Dion. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Overall music sales hit an all-time high in 2009; Taylor Swift's 'Fearless' is the year's top-selling album

U2 tops highest-grossing concert tour list for 2009

Pop music notes on the decade: Authenticity takes a holiday

Comments () | Archives (18)

congratulations celineeeeeeeeee

Celine is The Best!

To me , Celine represents what is wrong with the Music Biz.
There are most likely brilliant artists and genius songwriters out there who will never be heard.

im so happy Ms.Spears rounded off the top 10, and she is the only young artist there to represent out year group!!and she is the only young artist to be mention amaong the greats!

Britney Spears is the best!!!

Only woman the youngest woman of the list!!!!!

Congrats Queen B..

i love you celine dion ! mexico te ama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where's Madonna? Only her last 4 grossing tours is more than 500Million!!



Obviously this list is based on U.S. revenues only (maybe the author of the article could have mentioned that to prevent misunderstanding). Therefore some names are missing. The most obvious of course: Madonna. Revenues from ticket sales of her tours 2001 - 2009: A little more than 800 million.
If you add her worldwide album sales it's safe to say she brought in more than a billion dollars.

Céline and her team are just amazing! Bravo, I am very proud of her!


Just so that everyone is aware, these are based on US sales alone. So even though others make great money touring Europe etc. in the North American market, it seems Celine sits atop the music biz kingdom.

CELINE ES LA MEJOOOR .... es excelente en todo lo que hace.... wiiiiiiiiiiii!!! la amooOOO

Congratulations Céline! <3

@Blue Sky : "Those dates wouldn't have counted toward the Ultimate Top 10 since Pollstar data come from North American concert tour figures"

and, congrats to Britney Spears, she's definitely stepping up her game, but needs to continue doing it so she doesn't lose ground.

celine is the best so happy for you love you celine hope to see u in concert again one day u rock

This is no new! Celine always was a brillant artist in all aspects. She deserves! To jealous people: if her don't be the most amazing singer of all time she no had been this position on ranking! Celine Dion IS THE WOMAN! Simple, funny, angel voice, very very talented since of she career begined. Celine is living legend.

Céline´s active years was only 2002-2009.

Her Vegas Show: A new Day (2003-2007): 723 shows, 2.930.000 tickets sold, Gross Sales = 390.800.000 (with inflation 430.000.000)

Taking Chances Tour (2008-2009): 132 concerts, 2.300.000 tickets sold, Gross Sales = 279.200.000 (with inflation 280.000.000)

If you add 225.000.000 (your number) from album sales, it makes 895700000 (with inflation 935700000)


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