Guns N’ Roses revealed as rock’s top 2016 earners

Guns N Roses
Guns N Roses (Image credit: Katarina Benzova)

New figures show that Guns N’ Roses were the biggest earners in rock music last year.

Billboard’s Top 50 Money Makers Of 2016 chart combined artists’ earnings through sales, streaming, publishing and touring – and they show that Guns N’ Roses’ reunited lineup featuring Axl Rose, Duff McKagan and Slash earned a total of $42.3 million in 2016 – a figure bolstered by the massive success of their Not In This Lifetime tour.

Guns N’ Roses were second overall, behind pop star Beyonce, who took the top spot with $62.1m.

Bruce Springsteen was just behind Axl Rose and co, with The Boss earning $42.2m – with his live shows celebrating 35 years of The River bringing in the vast majority of cash.

Other artists of note to feature in the top 50 were Twenty One Pilots ($21.1m), Metallica ($18.5m), Paul McCartney ($17.7m), Trans-Siberian Orchestra ($16.01m), AC/DC ($15m), Black Sabbath ($12.4m), Blink-182 ($12.19m), David Bowie ($11.5m), the Rolling Stones ($10.86), Def Leppard ($10.81m), Pearl Jam ($9.3m), Journey ($7.6m) and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks ($8.21m).

While Guns N’ Roses placed second overall, their streaming revenues of $670,800 lagged well behind Metallica’s $1.7m and AC/DC’s $1.2m.

To see the full list of results, visit Billboard’s website.

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.