HomeWorld NewsTop-Grossing Country Artists of All Time, According to Billboard … – Billboard
Top-Grossing Country Artists of All Time, According to Billboard … – Billboard
August 25, 2023
For nearly four decades, Billboard Boxscore has tracked the top tours, and touring artists, in the music industry, across various musical genres.
The 2023 Billboard Boxscore Mid-Year report, which was led by pop star Harry Styles, whose Love on Tour trek grossed $138.6 million and sold 1.2 million tickets across 38 shows between Nov. 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023. But the mid-year report also included top tours from country artists Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen and Carrie Underwood.
Here, we look into the 20 top-grossing country touring artists of all time, according to Billboard Boxscore. The rankings are based on figures reported to Billboard Boxscore, dating back to 1985 and running through Aug. 16, 2023. An artist’s gross reflects all headline shows plus 50% of any co-headline grosses.
The list includes touring juggernauts ranging from George Strait and Garth Brooks to Shania Twain and Taylor Swift.
One key thing to note is that Garth Brooks’s most recent tours were not reported to Boxscore, including The Garth Brooks World Tour (2014-2017) and The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour (2018-2022). Billboard estimates Brooks would likely be within the top three top-grossing country artists of all time if those tour numbers were included; as it stands without those tour numbers, he ranks at No. 13 on the list.
Also, Taylor Swift’s ranking includes all of Swift’s touring from her 2009-2010 The Fearless Tour, through the 2013-2014 The Red Tour, but not tours after she officially announced her transition to pop in 2014 (including 2015’s The 1989 World Tour, 2018’s Reputation Stadium Tour and her current The Eras Tour).
According to Billboard Boxscore, all of these artists have grossed $100 million or more.
Gross: $224.3 million
Attendance: 3.2 million
Before Stapleton’s breakthrough moment on the CMA Awards in 2015, performing with Justin Timberlake, he was already a well-known figure in Nashville’s songwriting circles, penning hits for artists including Kenny Chesney and Josh Turner. But after the world became acquainted with this triple threat talent as a superb soulful vocalist, ace guitar player and skilled songwriter, Stapleton has carved out a genre-traversing place for himself in the sonic landscape. He was just honored with the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Triple Crown honor, awarded to an artist who takes home ACM Awards for new artist of the year, male or female artist of the year and entertainer of the year during the span of their career.
Stapleton has been touring under the All-American Road Show Tour banner since 2017, but his 2021 run of shows is his biggest, bringing in $70 million.
Gross: $225.6 million
Attendance: 3.1 million
The two-time reigning CMA entertainer of the year has earned one of the biggest hits of the year with his rendition of the Tracy Chapman classic “Fast Car,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard‘s all-genre Hot 100 chart. He launched his first headlining tour in 2017, with the Don’t Tempt Me With a Good Time Tour, but his biggest tour to date is his current, ongoing World Tour, which has brought in $123.3 million, through Aug. 23.
Gross: $237.7 million
Attendance: 7.8 million
Since issuing his debut single, “Blue Blooded Woman,” in 1989, Jackson has notched 26 No. 1 songs on the Country Airplay chart — with many of them being self-penned, including “Tonight I Climbed the Wall,” “Home,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and his post-9/11 anthem, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Jackson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. He’s won the CMA’s entertainer of the year honor three times and its male vocalist of the year honor twice.
This Country Music Hall of Famer and three-time CMA entertainer of the year winner’s biggest tour was the 2004-2005 The American Daredevil Tour, which brought in $36.2 million.
Zac Brown Band
Gross: $243.9 million
Attendance: 4.7 million
This CMA Award-winning group’s first Billboard Boxscore report came on Jan. 5, 2008 for a show at The Handlebar in Greenville, South Carolina, which brought in $4,000. Now, nearly two decades into lobbing hits such as “Chicken Fried” and “Same Boat” onto the chart, the hard-touring band has become known for the freewheeling, jam-band feel to their concerts. Their biggest tour, according to Billboard Boxscore, was the 2012-2014 Uncaged Tour, which brought in $62.3 million.
Gross: $245.3 million
Attendance: 7.5 million
The Country Music Hall of Famer has become one of the most versatile performers, with a talent and personality combination that has made her one of country music’s most electrifying performers, as well as an artist whose talent traverses television, movies, books and more. Reba’s biggest solo headlining tour is the 2022-2023 Reba: Live in Concert, bringing in $42.1 million.
Gross: $273.1 million
Attendance: 4.1 million
Underwood launched her first headlining tour in 2006, shortly after her win on the talent competition show American Idol. Since then, she’s proved to be one of country music’s most consistent and entertaining live acts, with 16 No. 1 Country Airplay hits to her credit. She’s also acted in movies and in television, released a book and and helmed a clothing line. Her most recent tour, The Denim & Rhinestones Tour, wrapped earlier this year, but she continues bringing her hit-filled Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency at Resorts World Theatre. Her biggest tour to date was her 2016 Storyteller Tour: Stories in the Round, which brought in $58.1 million.
Gross: $278.4 million
Attendance: 1.8 million
Though still a relative newcomer compared to the other artists on the list, Morgan’s 2022 The Dangerous Tour, and his current One Night at a Time World Tour (which features openers Bailey Zimmerman, Ernest, HARDY and Parker McCollum), have been massive for the country superstar. The One Night at a Time Tour, which is ongoing, has brought in $149.6 million through July 22.
Gross: $280.8 million
Attendance: 10.2 million
As the best-selling solo artist of all time, known for a string of hits including “The Dance,” “That Summer,” “Friends in Low Places” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” Brooks also shifted the country music touring game with his headlining 1990s world tours — incorporating an energy and production elements, such as flying over the crowd, that were more commonly seen in rock tours at that time.
Notably, this Billboard Boxscore ranking only accounts for Brooks’ 1990s tours (including The Garth Brooks World Tours in 1993-1994 and 1996-1998) — as his most recent tours, including his 2013-2014 The Garth Brooks World Tour and the 2019-2022 The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour, were not reported to Billboard Boxscore.
Gross: $306.7 million
Attendance: 5.1 million
Urban launched his career in the U.S. as part of the trio The Ranch, and this triple threat singer-songwriter-guitarist took his career solo with his debut self-titled album in 1999, which spawned the hit “It’s a Love Thing.” Since then, Urban has earned 21 No. 1 Country Airplay hits, helped inspire aspiring artists as a judge on American Idol, has collaborated with artists including Dolly Parton, Pink, Stevie Wonder and Underwood. He is also a two-time CMA entertainer of the year winner (2005 and 2018). His first Boxscore report came for a concert at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on Aug. 2, 2001, bringing in $9,000. Urban’s biggest tour was his 2018-2019 Graffiti U World Tour, which brought in $47.9 million.
Gross: $315.6 million
Attendance: 4.5 million
The CMA entertainer of the year winner has amassed a loyal fanbase by doing things his way, on records and on the road. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum also has a career-spanning exhibit, Eric Church: Country Heart, Restless Soul, which runs through June 9, 2024. His biggest tour was his 2021-2022 Gather Again Tour, which brought in $92.3 million.
Gross: $334.6 million
Attendance: 8.2 million
With 20 No. 1 Country Airplay hits to his credit, Paisley steadily built a reputation for a headlining show filled with plenty of hits, his own searing guitar work and intricate onscreen graphics. His biggest tour was his 2007-2008 Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour, which brought in $35.4 million. His first boxscore report came for a show on March 25, 2000 at Pittsburgh Memorial Auditorium in Pittsburgh, Kansas, bringing in $35,000.
Gross: $339 million
Attendance: 4.5 million
Though Swift is now arguably the biggest pop star in the world and in the midst of taking her The Eras Tour around the world, her country tours alone place her within the top echelon of touring country artists. For this list, we included tours when she was headlining as primarily a country artist, from her debut Fearless Tour in 2009-2010, until her full pop turn with The 1989 Tour. During that time period, Swift’s biggest country tour was her 2013-2014 The Red Tour, with $150.2 million.
Gross: $360.6 million
Attendance: 7.8 million
The highest-grossing country duo or group on this list, Rascal Flatts earned its biggest tour with the 2006-2007 Me & My Gang Tour, which brought in $55.3 million — and marks quite the journey from their first Billboard Boxscore report for a show at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York on April 6, 2001, which brought in $12,000.
Gross: $362.8 million
Attendance: 7.5 million
With 25 Billboard Country Airplay No. 1 hits to his credit (and recently earning his first Hot 100 chart-topper with the controversial “Try That in a Small Town”), Aldean has built a solid touring base, with his biggest tour being his 2014-2015 Burn It Down Tour, which brought in $70 million. His first Boxscore report came for a show on Nov. 5, 2005, bringing in $7,000 at Fox Theatre in Hanford, California.
Gross: $397.5 million
Attendance: 9.4 million
Known for hits including “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “American Soldier” and “Red Solo Cup,” Keith’s straightforward, gruff persona and string of hits made him a touring force. His first Billboard Boxscore report came for a show at Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, West Virginia, on March 19, 1994, bringing in $13,000. His biggest tour was his 2004-2005 Big Throwdown Tour, bringing in $44.7 million.
Gross: $421.1 million
Attendance: 6.1 million
Twain, who will launch her new Come On Over residency in Las Vegas next year, is the highest-grossing female artist on this list. Her biggest tour was her 2003-2004 Up! Tour, which brought in $87.9 million. Her first Billboard Boxscore report came for a show on May 29, 1998 at Sudbury Arena in Sudbury, Ontario, bringing in $319,000.
Gross: $434 million
Attendance: 11.1 million
McGraw, known for hits ranging from “Don’t Take the Girl” to “Humble and Kind” and his latest single, “Standing Room Only,” has been a touring mainstay since the early 1990s. His first Billboard Boxscore report was at the Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 16, 1994, bringing in $62,000. His biggest tour was his 2006-2007 Soul2Soul II Tour with Faith Hill, which brought in $141.2 million.
Gross: $498.1 million
Attendance: 8.6 million
The hip-shaking, hitmaking Bryan entered his first Boxscore report for a show on July 10, 2008 at Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge in Maryland Heights, Missouri, bringing in $6,000. Now more than 15 years since his debut single release, Bryan has become a multi-faceted, double CMA Awards entertainer of the year winner, thanks to his 26 No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay hits, his roles as a judge on American Idol and as CMA Awards co-host, his Las Vegas residency at The Theatre at Resorts World, and his current Country On Tour. His biggest tour was his 2016-2017 Kill the Lights Tour, bringing in $80.2 million.
Gross: $733.7 million
Attendance: 11.5 million
Since releasing his 1981 debut single “Unwound,” the King of Country Music has earned 44 hits on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart and has become one of country music’s biggest touring draws. His first Billboard Boxscore report was for his concert on Jan. 1, 1985 at Mayborn Civic & Convention Center in Temple, Texas, drawing $28,000. His biggest tour was his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour (2013-2014), with $99 million. He is playing selected stadium dates this summer with guests Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town.
Gross: $1.172 billion
Attendance: 17.9 million
Over the past three decades, Chesney has built his concert tours into a formidable force of fun and entertainment, thanks to his fan-first focus, relentless touring schedule and of course, his passionate No Shoes Nation fanbase.
Chesney’s biggest tour was his 2022 Here and Now Tour, which brought in $135 million; his tour also landed at No. 9 on Billboard‘s all-genre 2022 Year-End Top 40 tours chart, making Chesney the only country artist to land within the top 10. Chesney is the only country artist to hit $1 billion in grosses reported to Boxscore.
These stats help convey the considerable career and touring power he’s built since his first-ever Billboard Boxscore report entry, for a Sept. 23, 1995 concert at Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, which brought in $135,000.