Boxoffice Insider: Top Grossing Black Touring Artists
Kevin Mazur / WireImage – Beyoncé
Beyoncé, pictured during her “The Formation World Tour” stop at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on May 14, 2016, is the highest-grossing Black artist on record, according to Pollstar’s Boxoffice reports, with more than $1 billion grossed in ticket sales.
No celebration of Black History Month is complete without a look at the powerhouse touring artists who have made the largest impact at the boxoffice. Reported ticket sales data stored in Pollstar’s archives from 2000 through 2020 provide a snapshot of the live industry heavyweights in the 21st century.
Beyoncé tops the list of the highest-grossing Black touring artists with ticket sales topping $1 billion from concert touring during the past 21 years – from her solo treks, co-headlining tours and other concert appearances. Her overall gross is $1,008,743,477 from more than 9.3 million sold tickets at 441 concerts worldwide.
Her most successful trek at the boxoffice was the most recent solo run, the “Formation” world tour that played North American and European stadiums in support of the 2016 album Lemonade. She performed 49 shows that year, grossing $256 million from 2.2 million sold seats. But her most recent trek with husband Jay-Z, the “On the Run II” stadium tour, follows as a close second with ticket revenue totaling just $2.3 million less. The couple played 48 shows in stadiums on both continents on 2018’s reprise of “On the Run” and moved over 2.1 million tickets. Their first joint tour four years earlier took in $110 million globally from 21 sold-out stadium dates and 979,781 tickets.
Jay-Z follows at No. 2 with an overall tally of $695 million from his solo and co-headlining tours. In addition to his wife, he has also shared the top of the bill with Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, 50 Cent, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West. His most recent solo trek was the “4:44” run during the fall of 2017 with 31 shows at 29 arenas. The tour grossed $42 million from 415,198 sold seats.
Following at No. 3 is Drake who has a total gross of $348 million from 312 shows reported to Pollstar. More than 3.7 million fans have attended his concerts during the past 21 years. His “Aubrey & the Three Migos” joint tour with Migos in 2018 made the most money from ticket sales with a $103 million take from 54 arena concerts.
Rihanna is fourth with $336 million from 4 million sold tickets at 287 shows in the 15 years since she first appeared on the Pollstar charts. Her first reported solo date was a House of Blues West Hollywood show on July 2, 2006 for 1,026 fans. The crowd jumped to 110,346 eight years later when she co-headlined with Eminem at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Their two-night stadium date on Aug. 7-8, 2014 racked up $13.1 million.
R&B/rock legend Tina Turner ranks fifth with an overall gross of $235 million from 197 reported shows. About 44% of that total comes from her “Twenty Four Seven” jaunt, the highest-ranked tour of 2000 that topped $104 million in sales from two million sold tickets at 108 shows.
Kanye West and Prince also rank among the top 10 with grosses over $200 million, West at No. 6 with $219 million from 318 concerts and 2.8 million sold tickets. He’s had six headlining tours since 2000, most recently “Saint Pablo” in 2016 that topped $49 million in sales from 567,345 tickets at 37 performances.
Prince’s overall gross comes to $207 million from 286 concerts that occurred between November of 2000 through his final concert engagement one week prior to his death, a two-show stint at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on April 14, 2016 that drew 9,022 fans.
Rounding out the top 10 are Lionel Richie who ranks eighth with $192 million in sales from 2.3 million tickets at 318 concerts, followed by comedian Kevin Hart at No. 9 with $171 million from 2.4 million tickets at 311 performances. Finally, Chris Brown is 10th with $157 million earned at 279 concerts attended by 2.6 million fans.