What did a year with no live gigs do to the fortunes of music’s biggest stars? Well, they definitely took a hit, but a lucky few who managed to get some live dates in before the pandemic did well — and so did those with high streaming numbers.
The latter was particularly helpful for Luke Combs, who comes in at #16 on Billboard’s ranking of the highest-paid musicians of 2020 in the U.S, and is the highest-earning country act — as long as you disregard some pop and rock stars with country leanings, such as Taylor Swift and The Eagles.
Luke raked in $9.2 million in 2020, $5.5 million of which came from streaming. The deluxe version of his What You See is What You Get album came out in 2020, which gave his numbers a huge boost. In fact, it broke Luke’s own record for largest streaming week for a country album, generating 102.26 million in a single week.
Meanwhile, he did pull in $1 million from touring — more than some, who did not tour at all, but certainly much less than he would’ve netted during a non-pandemic year.
George Strait ranked #26, and $4.2 million of his total $6.9 million income came from touring — an uncommonly large percentage compared to other artists, and one he amassed with ticket sales for five shows that took place before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Blake Shelton was also a high earner in the country genre, clocking in at #28 with $6.7 million.
Overall, Taylor Swift was top of the list, bringing in $23.8 million — none of which was from touring — in 2020. Both streaming and sales for her two albums from that year, folklore and evermore, provided the bulk of that figure.
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