Madonna had the most successful tour in 2012 with $296.1 mil in ticket sales


These photos of Madonna dressed up as a cheerleader during her latest concert tour just never get old, do they? I mean, she must have had a million costume changes for her shows, but these are the pictures that our photo agencies just kept on publishing as the tour wore on throughout last year. Bless Madge and her little cotton cheerleading socks. Lady Gaga might have been correct in that things are different than there were 25 years ago, but Madge has stayed the same: raunchy, shameless, and successful as hell.

Of course, I shouldn’t make such light of this gripping issue because Madonna continues to make a killing off her arena tours even though no one buys her new albums anymore. In early 2012, Madonna famously attempted to justify her $300 concert tickets (and that’s baseline pricing, not the fancy, up-close seats) by saying, “Scrape the money together, I’m worth it.” Apparently, people have been doing just that to the tune of $296.1 million in ticket sales. Insane, right?


The music industry has minted some new arena and stadium stars lately, but one look at the top-grossing tours of 2012 and you might think we’re in a time warp.

Though her album sales are not on par with her 1980s heyday, Madonna can clearly still put glittery butts in seats. According to Pollstar, she easily topped the list of the year’s highest-grossing tours with $296.1 million, besting another Reagan-era rival, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, whose tour raked in $210.2 million. Former Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters had a very good year as well, pulling in $186.4 million on a list of the top 50 worldwide tours whose combined gross was $3 billion.

Both Madonna and Springsteen sole more than 2.1 million tickets each, averaging more than 31,000 fans per night. But, of course, Madonna also managed to make headlines on an almost nightly basis thanks to the usual flesh-baring and cage-rattling antics, which ranged from her musical tweaking of Lady Gaga, to the waving of fake firearms, flashing of naughty bits and a feud with French right-wing national Front party leader Marine Le Pen.

There were some newer names on the list as well, including Coldplay at #4 ($171.3 million), Lady Gaga (#5, $161.4 million) and the Cirque du Soleil “Michael Jackson: The Immortal” tour (#6, $140.2 million).

Among the other notable names: Metallica (#8, $86.1 million), Red Hot Chili Peppers (#10, $57.8 million), Jennifer Lopez (#13, $52.6 million), Drake (#19, $43.4 million), Radiohead (#21, $42.5 million), Justin Bieber (#23, $40.2 million) and the Black Keys (#27, $38.1 million).

[From MTV]

Oh, Madonna. She might not have put out a decent album in over a decade, but she’s still an institution. People will continue to flock to her shows not for the music but because it’s an actual event. And if they see her butt cheeks all over the place in the process, so be it. If Madge builds it, they will continue to come.

In other news, Madonna was seen over the New Year’s holiday performing an unintentional belly flop on a Switzerland ski slope while Brahim Zaibat stared down at her, seemingly at odds on how to help his girlfriend to her feet. Strange stuff.





Photos courtesy of WENN

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61 Responses to “Madonna had the most successful tour in 2012 with $296.1 mil in ticket sales”

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  1. JenD says:

    Weird, I didn’t even know she was still touring.

  2. FirstTimer says:

    Well, that’s because of the price of the tickets AND the actual number of people buying… I like Madonna’s music when I was kid. I think the last CD I liked of hers was Ray of Light.

    • Tiffany says:

      True. Bruce Springsteen sold 500,000 more tickets, but he doesn’t charge as much as Madonna (more integrity perhaps), so her “gross” is higher.

      • Jayna says:

        He does charge less, but a lot of Madonna’s seats are cheaper than people realize. I know people that spent fifty dollars on seats much farther back. The cost of putting on Madonna’s show was really astronomical this tour compared to Bruce’s rock show. It cost a small fortune to put on.

      • Tiffany says:

        It might cost a lot, but when you sell HALF A MILLION fewer seats and make more money, there is some price gouging going on. If her fans want to spend it, fine…but I think it says a lot a good things about Bruce that he doesn’t exploit his fans that way.

      • Jeanette says:

        Doesn’t Bruce just stand there and play the guitar? I’m sure he doesn’t have an army of dancers he employs. Of course she charges more, her shows cost more to run.

      • Tiffany says:

        Um, Bruce doesn’t have a lot of dancers, he has a lot of stellar musicians that probably cost and arm and a leg to employ. He doesn’t have a 5 piece band or backing tracks, he has sax, sting instruments, piano, brass, etc.

        Once again, he sold over 500,000 more tickets and her $$ amount was so much higher. Think about the amount of over-charge behind that to get that number.

      • MARIA says:

        I second everything you say Tiffany! And I think jayna works for madonna, who else would have so much time to defend her?

      • stephen crellin says:

        Ok he sold 5000 more tickets also done a lot more shows but over the whole tour was not sold out .Madonna was sold out on all 82 shows so it if she had done 2 or 3 more shows which would have sold out as ticket demand was high there would be no contest.And if people want to pay to see Madonna who are you to say they can’t or are strange for doing so love her or hate her if you have to see 1 concert in your life you have to see Madonna .

    • MARIA says:

      @ stephan, it was 500 000 more tickets sold, and Madonnas tour was NOT sold out!

      In sweden they actually GAVE AWAY tickets for free to get people there and there were still a lot of empty seats. A friend was working at the show and said it was the worst concert ever. And Madonna were 2 hours late, when people had to leave before the show was over, she started cussing at them.

  3. MrsBPitt says:

    Jesus, she looks terrifying!!!!

  4. dcypher1 says:

    Im suprised she even sold sum tickets shes such a has been. She needs to hang up the gstring cus no one wants to see gm naked. Im shocked people still care. Her music is garbage.

  5. Eleonor says:

    She is an hard worker, and she got results. We will see if Lady Gaga will be around in 30 years.
    For the snow thing: when you’re not skilled on a pair of ski, and you’re still practising, you have to learn how to get up without help, so I don’t think it’s a big deal.

  6. spugzbunny says:

    why does her arse look like that when she bends over? It’s terrifying!

    • LAK says:

      She’s got a fabulous a$$ for her age. Unfortunately even the most toned person in the world succumbs to age deterioration and droop of the a$$ which creates a fold between the bottom and thigh.

      What you are seeing is the tights bunching into the droop fold making it look wierd. The cut of the shorts is making it worse.

  7. dorothy says:

    Wasn’t most of her tour in Europe? I guess they didn’t get the memo, she’s soooo over.

    • Jayna says:

      It’s a world tour, so it was everywhere and she was here for months. She’s been in the news for one controversy or another since it began.

      Her last two concerts were the highest grossing tours of all time for a solo artist male or female, 2008/2009 topping her 2006/2007 one, so I would expect this one to top those two. She’s hardly over seeing as she was the top tour of the year and was slated to be one of the top tours of all time until she cancelled the Australian leg because of needing time off next year for the family.

  8. T.Fanty says:

    I went to the show at MSG in New York. My mother in law bought my ticket!

    What was interesting/strange/annoying was that I was definitely the demographic. I’m 36 and the majority of people around me were my age or older. Yet, in spite of this clearly being a nostalgia thing, she really emphasized the new material, which is, essentially, crap. As a result, it was patchy – everyone would jump up for Vogue, then sit down or get a drink while she was doing her gangsta thing. If I had paid three hundred bucks myself, I would have been rather annoyed.

    That said, can’t knock the woman’s stamina. I’m probably fifteen years younger than her, and I wanted a nap after she was done.

    • Vee says:

      I’m older as well, and while I did not see her on tour, many of my friends did. They were very disappointed. Firstly, she makes the crowd wait for nearly 3 hours before she starts. Then she played mostly new songs. My friends were irate.
      Yes she has stamina and can dance, but she did not have satisfied customers in my town.

      • Jayna says:

        Madonna has been late but never the kind of late on this tour, which is rude. I know the stage components were intricate, but still.

        Also, Madonna always tours behind new music, but those albums sold more, and she added more hits in to mix with it. On this tour, she was a couple of songs short her usual set as far as number of songs, and she not only played the usual eight, nine new songs, but added two new songs made for her 2010 Greatest Hits albums that nobody knew and a song from her 2008 album that wasn’t a hit and casual fans wouldn’t know. So that’s far too many non- classics and really lost the momentum for many people. Plus I hated the way she did Hung-Up, all digitized.

        The show was amazing in spite of that because it was very theatrical and I liked some of the new stuff as a fan, but she will really have to put back more hits in the next show and get back on stage earlier or she will not pull these numbers next time. It’s the first Madonna concert where I’ve heard many complaints about lack of hits (I think it’s because no one knows MDNA). I’ve also heard from so many that it’s amazing but mad about the time delay. There seems to be no inbetween. Where I was the crowd was going wild for the show, but probably hardcore fans like me.

    • T.Fanty says:

      Oh, the three-hour thing was super annoying. Especially as she had a decent DJ who came and then left, and it was another two hours after that before the show began.

  9. Jayna says:

    I beg to differ that she hasn’t put out a good album in a decade. I actually loved Hard Candy in 2008 for a good year. It didn’t hold up after that. But 2005 Confession on a Dance Floor is still one of my all time favorite albums of hers. I am not a fan of MDNA,

    Madonna put on an amazing tour supporting an album that only sold 1.5 million worldwide. But she will need to add more hits next tour if she wants to bring them back.

    Re her ass, I can’t figure it out. At 50, Madonna’s ass was so high up and smaller (she was thinner). I keep wondering if she got something injected. It’s bigger and strange when she lifts the panties.

  10. the original bellaluna says:

    So why is it, exactly, that her school(s?) haven’t been opened yet?

  11. FireNgin says:

    I saw her in November and was really disappointed. Maybe b/c I had just seen Bruce Springsteen in September. His concert blew hers away. My friends that went with me, and everyone sitting around me for that matter, were extremely disappointed. Maybe I just built it up in my head too much, thinking, “I’m finally seeing Madonna!” She can dance and shake it, I’ll give her that, but I wasn’t overall impressed. I, then, went and saw Bruce again in November. Confirmed to me how amazing he is!

    • Jayna says:

      FireNgin, probably not the best Madonna concert to see as your first one as a casual fan. Musically not a wow as far as song choices.

      Here’s a link to my favorite concert of all time by her, 2006 – visually stunning, sophisticated, some great classic hits from the ’80s, ’90s, Ray of Light and Music hits and the Confessions on a Dance Floor songs are still my favs. This is the Professional DVD of the concert linked on youtube by a fan. Just click where it says “Play All,” and it will play each performance in order all the way to the end, song 20, Hung Up. After that are extras about the tour. You will get to the end of this concert and realize how amazing she is. I love the disco set and her mashup with Disco Inferno in a white suit. Live to Tell and Substitute for Love ballads are just stunning. I’ve watched this DVD like 15 times over the years. And it was before her awful cheek implants so had a lot of closeups and she was so beautiful in it.

      Put your computer screen to full screen, put on your earphones or earbuds (for maximum sound enjoyment), sit back and enjoy:

    • Jayna says:

      And if you want a true Greatest Hits concert by her, Re-Invention Tour in 2004 had a ton of old and more recent hits to make up for 2001 Drowned World tour being in full support almost of two albums and few classics.

      Here’s a professionally shot concert DVD boot of the RIT tour, just not perfect remastered DVD quality. It starts around eight minutes in. She even sang Crazy for You.

      RIT 2004 –

      And the amazing encore of Holiday to the tour left off the link above.

      It really was a joyous tour. Madonna’s tango was a highlight.

    • TheOneAndOnly says:

      Exactly firengin, you don’t have to like or care about Bruce’s politics, but he gives you 3 hours of MUSIC played live – strip away all the busby berkely musical bs and how long would madge be able to entertain you – how many minutes of actual music do you get at a madonna concert (lip synching not included)?

  12. Skesis says:

    She’s awesome. I loved her when I was four, I still respect her now that I’m…not four. ;) I like her best when she’s rocking that Sicilian/gangster mama look. She should stick with that. It’s like Dita Von Teese but much more dangerous.

  13. Christy says:

    She got my 60 bucks. Figured I had better see her before she broke a hip or something. The concert was terrible.

  14. Him says:

    “She might not have put out a decent album in over a decade” < Sorry but "Confessions on a dancefloor" (The last album she seemed to care about) was AMAZING and sold like 11,000,000 copies…

  15. Poppy2 says:

    I never fall for her PR but “Scrape the money together, I’m worth it” is the line I will use on people in my life from this day forward.

  16. skuddles says:

    There is gross… and then there is Madonna.

    Please Madge, I beg of you… stop making me look at your ass flaps (and every other groddy part of your anatomy). Yours in nausea.

  17. scarlett says:

    She reminds me of the Bette Davis character in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”. If they ever decide to do a remake they should consider casting her.

  18. Bobby the K says:

    This is from the new york post comparing Cirque du Soleil to Madonna.

    “Montreal-based extravaganza even out-grossed Madonna — $407.9 million to $296.1 million — and everyone knows it’s hard to out-gross Madonna.”

  19. Beatriz says:

    I too, will have to disagree on that “She might not have put out a decent album in over a decade”-statement. I don’t like her, but Confessions was and is a really, really good album.

  20. Dragonlady Sakura says:

    I must be stuck in a musical rut because I only love her old songs and hate all her new stuff! Must be showing my age…unlike Madonna.

  21. Anon73 says:

    i saw this concert in San Jose (CA) back in Oct.

    i am in my mid 30s now and i loved Madonna growing up in the 80s/90s. i felt like this may be my one and only chance to see her touring, given she is getting older.

    so… i justified my love for her and coughed up almost $400 to see the concert (@$345 ticket + $25 stadium parking fees).

    it WAS a spectacular show – literally it was a show – but i have to confess, i do not like her new music and wish she performed more of her older hits.

    btw she did look pretty darn amazing from where i was seated. her hair, body, face. she definitely hoofed it during a few of the dance songs, but also cleverly gave herself rests in between with some of the theatrics leaving the majority of the dance moves to her dance team.

    all in all a good show and glad i went !!

  22. sophia says:

    confessions on a dance floor was an amazing album..but Hard candy and mdna meh, not her best work,but somehow i think Madonna will never top the brilliant music she introduced us to in the 80s and the 90s.

    • Jayna says:

      I loved Hard Candy for a year, but it hasn’t held up. But that year the album really lifted my spirits in a dark time. Confessions was one of her best albums of all time. American Life still has some beautiful folk ballads I listen to off it to this day that move me. Music also has some songs I still love and listen to. What it Feels Like For a Girl and Paradise is Not For Me and a few others I just love still. MDNA was her first album I could care less about.

  23. emma says:

    meh, just because you charge the most doesn’t mean it should be the most popular.

  24. Amy625 says:

    Weird that this article is about Madonna still selling when a lot of the top 10 hasn’t sold records for years. I’ve heard of Roger Waters but don’t know of any of his music yet he’s a huge touring act. Bruce Springsteen is just great in concert. Sometimes less is more. I didn’t even know Metallica was still a group. Maybe it’s nostalgia but many older artists do so well touring even if their albums don’t.

  25. Anna says:

    It is hard for me to ignore the fact that Madonna has lied and deceived the citizens of Malawi. Acres have been razed to the ground for her supposed schools. The land lies wasted. No one has been helped.

    It is despicable. Her concerts should be boycotted.

    • Jayna says:

      After the board she put in place screwed her out of millions and donors, she switched to and partnered with an existing reputable organization there that suggested it would be more beneficial to funding and building ten smaller schools spread out there, which is what she did. It’s just been in the news that all ten were built six months ahead of schedule and all ten will be open this month. Some are already being used.

      • Anna says:

        Excuse me, but do you work for Madonna? Are you her publicist or something?


        Madonna screwed the people of Malawi out of their money. YOu seem to be posting all of her music links as well. Either come clean or stop trolling.

        I used to like Madonna. I have lost all my respect for her. And she does not seem to have any respect for anyone else either.

  26. Jaxx says:

    I get that in our youth obsessed culture growing old is considered not only a sin, but disgusting to look at.

    But the hate thrown at Madonna is so sexist. She looks good not only for her age, but for ANY age. She has turned me off many times over the decades but you sure can’t knock her work ethic and her ability to stay relevant. She took a minor singing talent and built an empire with it. It is a major achievement to be packing tours after this many years in the business. So many are flashes in the pan.

    But the most irritating of it is that the MEN in music don’t get this scathing criticism for their looks. The Rolling Stones look like crypt keepers but you don’t see this kind of criticism of THEIR bodies and faces. It’s just women who get this kind of crap over aging.

    I don’t always like Madonna’s actions but I loved her early music, loved being shocked by her and for all time she goes down in my book as a hell of a dame.

    • Cirque28 says:


      Because how dare Madonna be 54 and yet still perform for those who come out by the droves and pay oodles of money to see her? Mandatory burqas for all women over age 40! Come on! You’re frightening small children Madge! #sarcasm