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Metallica, Eagles, Queen, Kiss, AC/DC and Tool among Billboard's list of highest-paid artists of 2020

Metallica, Kiss, Queen, Eagles
(Image credit: Midori Tsukagoshi/Shinko Music/Getty Images,Fin Costello/Redferns, Michael Putland/Getty Images, RB/Redferns )

During the year where touring bands were mostly left twiddling thumbs due to the pandemic, many live high-flyers' spots on Billboard's top paid musicians list of 2020 were nabbed by bands who dominate streaming services and physical sales.

Although many of these acts raking in the cash were of the hip-hop variety, hard rock and metal artists such as Metallica, AC/DC, Kiss, Tool, Eagles, Queen and Aerosmith found comfortable positions among them.

Blowing most acts out the water was the Eagles, who peaked as the fourth highest paid artist across the entire study, earning a total of $16.3M, and even overtaking Billie Eilish, who sat at number five with $14.7M. As part of the total sum, the Californian rockers received $2.7M from streaming, $970K from sales, $1.2M from publishing and $11.4M from touring courtesy of their 10 shows in 2020. 

Queen, positioned in the seventh spot, reeled in a total of $13.2M, and ranked second in sales royalties with $5.3 million. A large portion of their sales revenue was partly due to the rerelease of their $500-plus limited-edition coloured vinyl Studio Collection box set of the band’s 15 studio albums. They also took $2.4 million in publishing royalties and $5.5M from streaming. Additionally, the band performed exceedingly well in terms of on-demand audio streams and generated a total of 1.2 billion – a feat that other legacy acts on the list, such as the Eagles, have to accomplish. 

Following up behind at no.13 was AC/DC with overall earnings of $10.1M – $4.3M from streaming, $4M from sales and $1.8M from publishing.

Also near the summit were Metallica, who took away $9M, sitting at the eighteenth spot, of which $3.9M was made from streaming, $3.7M from sales and $1.4M from publishing.

Check out more break downs below:

4. Eagles: $16.3M

Last year’s rank: 
Streaming: 
$2.7M
Sales: 
$970K
Publishing: 
$1.2M
Touring: 
$11.4M

7. Queen: $13.2M

Last year’s rank: No. 5
Streaming: 
$5.5M
Sales: 
$5.3M
Publishing: 
$2.4M
Touring: 
$0

8. The Beatles: $12.9M

Last year’s rank: 
Streaming: 
$5.1M
Sales: 
$5.2M
Publishing: 
$2.6M
Touring: 
$0

13. AC/DC: $10.1M

Last year’s rank: 
Streaming: 
$4.3M
Sales: 
$4M
Publishing: 
$1.8M
Touring: 
$0

18. Metallica: $9M

Last year’s rank: No. 30
Streaming: 
$3.9M
Sales: 
$3.7M
Publishing: 
$1.4M
Touring: 
$0

20. Pink Floyd: $8.8M

Last year’s rank: 
Streaming: 
$3.2M
Sales: 
$4.3M
Publishing: 
$1.3M
Touring: 
$0

29. Fleetwood Mac: $6.6M

Last year’s rank: No. 38
Streaming: 
$3.2M
Sales: 
$1.8M
Publishing: 
$1.6M
Touring: 
$0

32. Tool: $6.17M

Last year’s rank: 
Streaming: 
$823.4K
Sales: 
$557K
Publishing: 
$611K
Touring: 
$4.2M

33. KISS: $6M

Last year’s rank: No. 8
Streaming: 
$431K
Sales: 
$348K
Publishing: 
$194.5K
Touring: 
$5M

34. The Rolling Stones: $5.96M

Last year’s rank: No. 1
Streaming:
 $2.97M
Sales: 
$1.8M
Publishing: 
$1.17M
Touring: 
$0

40. Aerosmith: $5.35M

Last year’s rank: No. 26
Streaming: 
$1.33M
Sales: 
$564K
Publishing: 
$840K
Touring: 
$2.7M

Liz Scarlett
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.