AC/DC top rock rich list for 2016

AC/DC with Axl Rose
Big bucks: AC\/DC featuring Axl Rose (Image credit: Katarina Benzov)

Business magazine Forbes has named AC/DC as the biggest-earning rock band in world for the year ended June 2016.

In the 12-month period to that date the Aussie giants are said to have made $67.5 million – placing them ahead of the Rolling Stones at $66.5m, Bruce Springsteen at $60.5m and Paul McCartney at $56.5m.

Also in rock’s biggest earners are U2, Muse and the Foo Fighters – but they all fall short of the highest incomes in music in the year’s big 30.

Pop star Taylor Swift topped the list with earnings of $170m – her best ever, and the eighth-highest of anyone in the entertainments industry. Five other artists earned more than Angus Young and co.

Forbes say of AC/DC: “No frontman? No problem. The rockers replaced ailing singer Brian Johnson with Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose.”

They add: “The former may return next year” – although they don’t cite any source for the comment.

The magazine’s list is made up from pre-tax income before the deduction of costs such as management fees, with data retrieved from analysts Pollstar, Nielsen and the RIAA along with public comments from artists and their representatives.

AC/DC’s future remains in doubt following the departures of Johnson, mainman Malcolm Young, drummer Phil Rudd and bassist Cliff Williams over the past two years. But guitarist Angus Young recently said he felt “obligated” to keep the band going.

Last month Pollstar reported that Guns N’ Roses took the highest concert income in the world during 2016, with an average of $5.5m per show before costs – but they also had the highest ticket price of any artist in the top 20.

Forbes’ rock rich list 2016

1 (overall 7). AC/DC $67.5m
2 (8). Rolling Stones $66.5m
3 (11). Bruce Springsteen $60.5m
4 (12). Paul McCartney $56.5m
5 (15). U2 $55m
6 (20). Muse $49m
7 (21). Foo Fighters $48.5m

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.