LOS ANGELES Bon Jovi may have recently been snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the veteran band still ended the year as the world's top concert attraction, according to a trade publication.
The group sold $201.1 million worth of tickets, split almost evenly between North America and the rest of the world, said Pollstar magazine. Its success was noteworthy given that it was promoting a 2009 album that did not sell strongly.
Bon Jovi also shone even as overall sales slid in a tough economy. Pollstar said sales for the top 50 tours worldwide fell 12 percent to $2.93 billion. In North America, the top 50 tours dropped 15 percent to $1.69 billion.
Overseas tours are increasingly becoming more lucrative for musicians, especially as infrastructure improves across Asia and the former Soviet bloc, Pollstar said.
Indeed, hard rockers AC/DC came in at No. 2 and Irish foursome U2 at No. 3 after making all their money overseas. AC/DC grossed $177 million, and U2 $160.9 million. U2 was the top worldwide act in 2009 with $311 million, followed by AC/DC with $227 million.
In a field dominated by rock acts, flamboyant pop star Lady Gaga was No. 4 this year with $133.6 million. The "Poker Face" singer worked harder than any other musician in the top 10, playing 138 shows, two-thirds of which were overseas.
Bon Jovi, by contrast, played 80 shows. AC/DC (40 shows) and U2 (32 shows) took it relatively easy.
Metallica was No. 5 with $110.1 million from 60 overseas shows. Both Metallica and AC/DC last released albums in 2008, relying on their extensive catalogs of headbanging favorites to keep drawing fans.
The field was rounded out by Canadian singer Michael Buble (No. 6, $104.2 million), the "Walking with Dinosaurs" live family show (No. 7, $104.1 million), Paul McCartney (No. 8, $93 million), the Eagles (No. 9, $92.3 million) and former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters (No. 10, $89.5 million).
Waters earned all his money in North America, where his acclaimed restaging of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" was the No. 2 draw behind Bon Jovi with $108.2 million. Among all-time North American tours, the Bon Jovi trek ranks at No. 9, Pollstar said. The Rolling Stones hold the record with $162 million from their 2005 outing. The publication has been collecting worldwide data for only two years.
The Dave Matthews Band was No. 3 in North America with $72.9 million. Buble followed with $65.7 million and the Eagles with $64.5 million.
Bon Jovi's previous best performance in North America was in 2008, when the band was fifth with ticket sales of $70.4 million. The New Jersey rockers, led by singer Jon Bon Jovi, were on the ballot for inclusion in the 2011 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, but failed to make the cut. Critics have largely been dismissive of the group's catchy "soft-rock" tunes, even as the band has little problem selling out stadiums and arenas to its female-skewing fan base. Its 2009 album "The Circle" debuted at No. 1 in the United States, but ended up selling relatively poorly.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Chris Wilson)