That may well be the take-away for musicians when reading Calendar's annual Ultimate Top 10 list, a ranking that combines income from recordings as well as the concert box office to show who had the most lucrative years according to numbers reported by Nielsen SoundScan and the concert industry-tracking publication Pollstar.
Since the Ultimate Top 10 began in 1998, there's often been a sizable split between the acts that make their nut from touring and those earning most of their money at physical and virtual cash registers from recordings.
In 2012, however, all but one of the acts that finished in the Top 10 made it primarily - or exclusively - from their concerts. The exception was the ever-exceptional Adele, who, for the first time since SoundScan began tracking retail sales in 1991, claimed the same bestselling album two years in a row with '21.'
Among the top-selling pop musicians of the year, including Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Mumford & Sons, Jason Aldean, Maroon 5 and Carrie Underwood, only Bieber and Aldean made the Ultimate Top 10 because both spent significant quality time on the road during the year.
The trend is yet another troubling sign for the record industry, even as year-end Nielsen SoundScan reports held some areas of optimism for the many musicians, label execs and others in the industry who still put stock in digital downloads, CDs, vinyl and other forms of music that live on after the final notes of a concert have faded into the night.
Finally, the usual Ultimate Top 10 caveat: This isn't the final word on musicians' total financial picture, as it does not include merchandising, product endorsements, song placements in movies and TV shows, ring tones, website subscriptions and myriad other sources of income that artists and their management keep much closer to their vests.
Recording sales revenue is calculated using an average price of $10 per album and $1.14 cents per digital track, as more tracks are now being offered at $1.29 per download rather than the 99-cent price that initially was the iTunes standard.
1. Madonna, $144 million. The queen of reinvention had the highest-grossing tour worldwide (MDNA) with $296.1 million, so it's no surprise that she was tops in North America too, thanks to $133.7 million from 45 shows in 31 cities. Like other 1970s and '80s acts that made the Top 10, a much smaller share of her Ultimate total came from digital track sales - just $2.1 million compared with $8.2 million for physical and digital album sales.
To read the rest of the report and see who else made the top ten visit: touch.latimes.com
Thanks to Brian