Stones top 25-year tour chart

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The Rolling Stones have been named the biggest-earning live band over the past 25 years – they've made $1.56bn from 538 shows since 1990.

Mick Jagger and co top Billboard’s list ahead of U2 ($1.51bn), Bruce Springsteen ($1.19bn), Bon Jovi ($1.03bn) and the Eagles ($702m). Roger Waters, Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart also appear, with Metallica at 17th position ($433m), Aerosmith at 18th ($418m) and AC/DC at 25th ($338m).

The Stones took an average of $2.9m per show over the quarter-century, having played 538 times during the period – compared to AC/DC’s average of $1.1m per show from 316 appearances.

But Billboard say their results raise questions about the future of large-scale rock shows, with the youngest vocalist in the top ten aged 46, and all but four acts in the top 25 having released their first albums before the 1990s.

Younger rock bands don’t figure highly in recent annual high-earning charts – instead pop acts including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, One Direction, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are bringing in the big money.

Rob Light of the Creative Artists Agency tells Billboard: “Kids are going to see everyone from Miley to One Direction. We’ve created a great general of kids that like to see music in a live setting.”

Billboard’s top 25 grossing bands 1990-2014

  1. Rolling Stones: $1.56bn (538 shows) 2. U2: $1.51bn (526 shows) 3. Bruce Springsteen: $1.19bn (727 shows) 4. Madonna: $1.14bn (382 shows) 5. Bon Jovi: $1.03bn (578 shows) 6. Elton John: $787m (956 shows) 7. Dave Matthews Band: $777m (992 shows) 8. Celine Dion: $738m (1143 shows) 9. Kenny Chesney: $753m (755 shows) 10. Eagles: $702m (484 shows) 11. Sting / The Police: $556m (605 shows) 12. Roger Waters: $547m (316 shows) 13. Paul McCartney: $506m (220 shows) 14. BIlly Joel: $500m (577 shows) 15. Rod Stewart: $497m (714 shows) 16. Neil Diamond: $465m (643 shows) 17. Metallica: $433m (468 shows) 18. Aerosmith: $418m (582 shows) 19. George Strait: $405m (584 shows) 20. Jimmy Buffett: $403m (539 shows) 21. Coldplay: $378m (315 shows) 22. Toby Keith: $361m (711 shows) 23. Cher: $352m (548 shows) 24. Fleetwood Mac / Stevie Nicks: $350m (483 shows) 25. AC/DC: $338m (316 shows)