Fan Pictures: Oslo (Part 1)
MDNA Fan Pictures: Yankee Stadium (Part 11)

Madonna's No. 1 status is written in her MDNA

Hit the road, Jack.
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.

The results:

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:

Thanks to Brian


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I really hope Madonna does NOT tour with the next album. I wish she would have promo parties hit the BIG talk shows around the world instead wearing her welcomes out at the same venues..Its time that she get back into creative videos again...Id love a new song about her blasting the ageist and people that judge!


I agree with ngl. Madonna does need to reboot the system in some real way. She needs to keep that keen edge. Up until now the idea of charging those high prices..."just because it is Madonna" has worked. But there will come a time when it won't be like that. I have faith that Madonna will find a way to do it. But before Madonna goes back out on the road Madonna needs to seriously refocus the music and video imaging. Remember Madonna is a leader not a follower. Unfortunately it was easier when she first started because everything she did was so revolutionary and genious and against the grain. She broke all the boundaries so nothing more needed to be broken. Now 90% of the female singers today just tap into what she did and use her stuff as a benchmark for their material. Madonna needs to get back to those untapped boundaires and break down the walls again. The difference between Madonna and the singers today is that she legitimately tapped into those boundaries and kicked down the doors. Many of the singers today do it to get fame or they do it with some kind of gross manipulation attached. Madonna was the one that took down all of the manipulations.
She did it before and she will do it again.


I wish Madonna will produce another album with #1 songs and really "fresh, new and innovative" video before touring again.


Madonna does need to find a new way to distribute her music to the masses & attract new fans, but I don't know how she should go about it- I don't think any artist has worked out this very real issue yet! The 'pay what you like' system didn't work for Radiohead (most people opted to pay nothing or next to nothing for the LP) & Radiohead ended up re-releasing the LP again in music stores for a standard price. Prince tried giving his new albums away at concerts but this didn't work because only 'certain fans' got the LP (the ones that were able to attend the concert), & this 'punished fans' that couldn't make it to the concert, & it did nothing to help Prince's music reach a new wider audience. I do wonder how much longer Madonna can attract large audiences willing to pay high ticket prices to attend her concerts, without successful new music & the youth demographic to replenish the fan-base.


That she is! #1-Madonna Forever!


This is really interesting.

I honesty think that Madonna should try giving her music away via her website before the next tour. A free album (or pay what you like / pay for a charity album) would get her music out to more people. Works for NIN and Radiohead.

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