The Rolling Stones, U2 top Pollstar’s top touring artists

Both acts top over $2 billion in sales

In celebration of Pollstar’s 40th anniversary, the company has created two charts that reflect the overall box office sales from the past 42 years of its existence. Two iconic rock bands head up the rankings of Top Touring Artists with The Rolling Stones and U2 landing No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The Stones have an astounding $2.165 billion gross from 22.14 million sold tickets since the early ‘80s while U2 has $2.128 billion with 26.18 million tickets sold since their first recorded show in 1981.

Thirteen additional headlining acts have all surpassed the $1 billion threshold in grosses over the past four decades. Elton John places at No. 3 with $1.748 billion, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band at No. 4 with $1.527 billion, Madonna at No. 5 with $1.390 billion, Celine Dion at No. 6 with $1.354 billion, Bon Jovi at No. 7 with $1.330 billion, Eagles at No. 8 with $1.315 billion, Metallica at No. 9 with $1.220 billion, Paul McCartney at No. 10 with 1.194 billion, Billy Joel at No. 11 with $1.187 billion, Kenny Chesney at No. 12 with $1.111 billion, Dave Matthews Band at No. 13 with $1.086 billion, Coldplay at No. 14 with $1.039 billion and Beyonce at No. 15 with $1.013 billion.

U2 places first in the number of tickets sold with 26.18 million, followed by the Dave Matthews Band with 23.28 million, The Stones with 22.14 million, Springsteen with 20.84 million and John with 19.76 million. Other artists include Aerosmith at No. 13 with 13.33 million, Garth Brooks at No. 24 with 11.15 million, Eagles at No. 25 with 11 million, McCartney at No. 28 with 10.46 million and others.

The charts do not reflect appearances at multi-day music festivals. However, Pollstar did include festival tours and package tours with multiple artists, such as Vans Warped Live and Ozzfest, among others.


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Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email:

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