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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

Elizabeth Scarlett

Elizabeth (Lizzie) is a music-obsessed creative soul with a love for all things heavy. In her spare time you’ll probably find her designing music magazines, playing the bass and most likely fantasising about Lemmy.