Touring and marketing are where the bucks are made. Though I guess I'm pleased that there are two Canadians on the list, Bieber and Michael Bublé, I'm also disconcerted about what it indicates about music in Canada. I'm sort of glad to see Paul McCartney still in the top 25, but even more dismayed that U2 are there.
I wonder what the list tells us about the state of music nowadays? What strikes me is that you don't actually seem to make money from music as such. You make money from selling tickets to big spectacles where dance, costuming and light shows are as much the draw as the music. You make money selling headphones, t-shirts, perfume and a zillion other things I suppose we could categorize as "tie-ins". I guess George Lucas taught this to everyone. But somehow there has to be a veil of mysticism drawn over this because the whole commercial superstructure is teetering on the feeble proposition that these folks are in some way 'musicians'. "What's happening now is people are really telling their truth." What does that mean? What could it possibly mean? The only 'truth' these folks are telling is that wow, do we ever have a smoothly-functioning business plan.
Now for the necessary qualifications: I like some of the people on the list, McCartney, of course and Katy Perry, who does some interesting things now and then. Adele seems to be a real singer. But apart from those few (maybe I missed one or two), I really don't see much musical quality on the list. Musical quality is pretty much the only thing that really interests me as a listener, performer or composer. Here's Paul McCartney in a live show from 2005. Some quality there...