U2, the Rolling Stones, Journey and Def Leppard all appeared in the annual list of highest-grossing tours, although they were overshadowed by pop artists.

Five other rock artists appeared in Billboard’s Top 20, with all eight taking more than $50 million during the period November 2017 to November 2018.

U2 generated $119.2 million from sales of over 840,000 tickets across a total of 55 shows. The Stones came next with $117.9 million from 751,000 tickets across 14 shows, while the combined Journey and Def Leppard road trip took $97.1 million from just over a million sales across 60 shows. The tours were the seventh, eighth and 10th biggest sellers respectively.

At the top end of the overall chart, Ed Sheeran made $429.5 million and Taylor Swift brought in $315.2 million, while Beyonce and Jay-Z collected $253.5 million. Sheeran sold 4.8 million tickets over 99 shows, Swift sold 2.6 million over 48 and the married couple shifted 2.2 million tickets over 48 shows.

“Not only does Sheeran easily claim the year’s biggest tour,” Billboard commented, “the Divide Tour’s $429,491,502 is the biggest year-end total in the history of Billboard Boxscore (dating back to 1990) … he narrowly eclipses the Rolling Stones’ 2006 total of $425.1 million.” The report added that Sheeran’s tour was “one of only six treks to gross more than $300 million in one year, following the Rolling Stones in 2006, U2 in 2009 and 2017, Guns N’ Roses in 2017, and Taylor Swift in 2018.”

Earlier this year Pollstar reported that ticket prices had been soaring in recent times, noting a 14.1 increase in average charge since 2017. “The precipitous rise speaks to the industry’s aggressive pricing strategy to better meet demand and exclude the secondary market,” They said.

That “aggressive” approach appeared to have finally eclipsed the Stones’ notorious pricing policy – while Mick Jagger’s band took an average of $156.94 per ticket, two artists took more – the Eagles with $162.60 and Elton John with $157.43. U2 tickets cost an average of $141.88 but the other top artists charged significantly less, with the Foo Fighters at $112.71, Journey and Def Leppard at $96.78, Dead & Company at $81.50 and Trans-Siberian Orchestra at $58.12.

'Billboard' Rock Tour Chart 2018

1. U2 (7th overall) – $119,203,900 from 840,151 sales across 55 shows
2. Rolling Stones (8th) – $117,844,618 from 750,874 sales across 14 shows
3. Journey & Def Leppard (10th) – $97,095,894 from 1,003,198 sales across 60 shows
4. Eagles (11th) – $93,454,297 from 574,721 sales across 34 shows
5. Foo Fighters (14th) – $77,750,695 from 930,310 sales across 47 shows
6. Dead & Company (20th) – $56,220,873 from 689,783 sales across 42 shows
7. Elton John (22nd) – $55,387,328 from 351,817 sales across 45
8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra (24th) – $50,228,977 from 864,132 sales across 86 shows

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