1 January

Pick a Day

Music History Events: Lotsa Money

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November 22, 2019 Pollstar publishes their list of the top touring artists of the 2010s in North America. U2 is on top with a gross of $1,038,104,132, followed by The Rolling Stones ($929,196,083), Ed Sheeran ($922,361,663), Taylor Swift ($899,627,048) and Bon Jovi ($868,715,392).

June 3, 2019 Forbes declares Jay-Z a billionaire, making him the first rapper to hit that mark. $310 million of his fortune comes from his stake in Armand de Brignac champagne.

October 7, 2016 The Rolling Stones play the first night of the Desert Trip festival, which also features Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and the Who. The six-day (split over two weekends) event rakes in $160 million, making it the highest-earning music festival ever.More

August 6, 2012 Forbes declares Beyoncé and Jay-Z the highest-paid celebrity couple, with earnings of $78 million ($40 million for her, $38 for him). At #2 is Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady with $72 million.

December 18, 2009 Pollstar declares Dave Matthews Band the highest-grossing touring artist of the 2010s in North America, with about $530 million in earnings. Their secret: contant touring and affordable tickets. The rest of the Top 5: 2) Celine Dion 3) Kenny Chesney 4) Bruce Springsteen 5) The Rolling Stones

April 3, 2008 Jay-Z joins Madonna and U2 in signing a huge contract with Live Nation; he scores a 360 deal that includes his own label.More

August 26, 2007 The Rolling Stones wrap up their A Bigger Bang tour at the O2 Arena in London. The tour lasted two years and sets a new record with a gross of $558 million.

October 25, 2006 Forbes declares Kurt Cobain the top-earning dead celebrity, beating out Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Ray Charles, and Bob Marley.More

April 30, 2005 Cher wraps up her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour with a show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Running nearly three years, the tour brings in over $200 million, making it the highest earning tour in history for a female artist, a record that stands until Madonna's 2008-2009 Sticky & Sweet Tour. Retirement doesn't suit Cher: She tours again in 2014 and in 2018.

November 18, 2003 John Lennon's original, handwritten lyrics to "Nowhere Man" are auctioned at Christie's for $455,000.

June 24, 2000 Kiss auction off $888,000 worth of costumes, instruments and tour memorabilia, including Gene Simmons' Psycho Circus tourwear (including codpiece), which goes for $32,200.

June 18, 2000 The Experience Music Project, a museum including permanent exhibitions on Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana, opens in Seattle.More

August 23, 1994 For no apparent reason the British duo The KLF burn £1 million on the Isle of Jura in Scotland.More

June 6, 1992 Guns N' Roses' "November Rain" video debuts on MTV. The 9-minute epic is the most expensive video ever made to this point, costing $1.5 million. Much of the budget was spent constructing a church in the desert so Slash could solo in front of it.

September 9, 1988 It's the finale of a 4-day "garage sale" where Elton John cleans house, which in his case looks like a high-end Hoarders. Among the items sold are the boots he wore in the movie Tommy and his Statue of Liberty stage costume that the 41-year-old feels he has outgrown. The take is $6.2 million.

November 18, 1987 Sony reaches an agreement to buy CBS Records, which includes Columbia, Portrait and Epic, for $2 billion. Artists on these labels include Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen (putting Born In The U.S.A. in the hands of a Japanese company).

August 14, 1985 Three years after their duet "The Girl Is Mine," Paul McCartney advises Michael Jackson to invest in publishing. Jackson makes a winning bid of $47.5 million for the rights to over 250 Lennon-McCartney Beatles songs owned by ATV publishing, which turns out to be a great investment, but kills their friendship.More

May 28, 1983 Apple's Steve Wozniak hosts the second US Festival, intending it to be the "Super Bowl of rock." The lineup is even more impressive than that of its 1982 predecessor, and the attendance is substantially larger. Wozniak splurges on David Bowie with two million dollars of his own money, simply because he "really loves him."More

September 3, 1982 Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak throws the US Festival "for a few thousand friends" in hopes of uniting people through music and technology. A crowd of at least 200,000 shows up in the blistering heat of San Bernardino, California, for three days of music, tech-geekery, and dust... a whole lot of dust. Fleetwood Mac, performing for the first time in two years, headlines a bill that also includes The Police and the Grateful Dead.More

September 25, 1981 The Rolling Stones start their US tour with a concert at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, where they play to a crowd of 90,000. The tour is sponsored by musk maker Jovan, establishing a new paradigm for corporate involvement.More

February 21, 2008 Paul Mawhinney's collection of 3 million vinyl records, amassed over 40 years while he owned a record store in Pittsburgh, is sold on eBay for $3,002,150. The bid is a sham, however, and Mawhinney holds onto his collection until 2013, when he sells it to the Brazilian collector Zero Freitas.

October 31, 2007 Elvis Presley tops the annual Forbes magazine list of most profitable dead celebrities, his estate having taken in $49 million over the past year. John Lennon makes the #2 spot; George Harrison, James Brown, and Bob Marley also make the list.

October 4, 2006 Barbra Streisand's tour-opening performance at Philadelphia's Wachovia Center is the highest single event gross in the 10-year history of the arena. Streisand grosses $5,265,600 from 16,510 attendants.

November 21, 2003 The acoustic guitar on which George Harrison learned how to play is sold at a London auction for 276,000 pounds. The original price of the guitar: three and one-half pounds.

November 14, 2000 The Offspring celebrate the release of their album Conspiracy of One by giving $1 million to 14-year-old Ashley Hitchcock, who by downloading their single "Original Prankster" was entered to win. Hitchcock beats out three other finalists in an Offspring trivia contest broadcast on MTV to take the prize. She wins by identifying Noodles as the oldest member of the band.

October 10, 1999 Las Vegas' Grand Hotel holds an auction of several hundred thousand dollars' worth of Elvis memorabilia, including the King's wristwatch, cigar box, and his 1956 Lincoln Continental.

September 21, 1998 Madonna enrolls her daughter, Lourdes Ciccone, at the prestigious Cheltenham Ladies College in England. Tuition at the boarding school is $22,650 a year.

December 1, 1995 An auction of his memorabilia nets Frank Sinatra over two million dollars.

September 14, 1995 Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for The Beatles' "Getting Better" fetch $249,000 at Sotheby's in London.

August 26, 1993 Apple Records wins the bidding for a rare recording of the Beatles playing "Kansas City" and "Some Other Guy" at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1962, paying £16,000 for the acetate disc.

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