Most of music business’s top money makers in 2017 had been at it for decades

Rock ’n’ rollers may be getting older — but still shelling out big bucks for their favorite acts.

In fact, of America’s 50 top-earning musical artists last year, 29 are considered “heritage artists.”

That’s Billboard’s term for acts who have released a minimum of 10 albums or been active for at least 20 years.

The trade mag, which released its “Money Makers” list on Friday, designated U2 the top earner of 2017 based on US concert grosses, plus royalties from domestic sales, streaming and publishing.

The Irish band took in a total of $54.4 million — $52 million of which came from its “Joshua Tree” 30th anniversary tour.

Touring proved the top income producer for almost all 50 acts, whose total income was $961 million for their domestic endeavors, representing a year-over-year increase of 13 percent.

Only two artists made the list without hitting the road: Drake, No. 37, by collecting the most streaming royalties, $8.6 million, and Taylor Swift, No. 48, by selling the most albums, $5 million.

There were surprises. Metallica nailed the No. 3 spot, and, by genre, rock continued to dominate, taking 24 of the Top 50 spots versus nine for pop, nine for country and eight for R&B/hip-hop.

This report previously appeared at

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