Rock n’ Roll King still dominates music industry
Graceland visitor counts increasing
Even 40 years after his death, Elvis Presley remains one of the most sustainable and profitable entertainers in the world. Forbes just released their list of highest-earning dead celebrities in 2017. Elvis is number 2 on the list bringing in $35 million this year. Only Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, earned more, reaching $75 million.
During his lifetime, Presley was a star of stage, screen, radio and record. In the afterlife, he continues to dominate those mediums, while tourism at his Memphis home, Graceland, and his personal brand are arguably bigger than ever.
While Michael Jackson’s estate is enjoying substantial monies coming in from his greatest hits album ‘SCREAM,’ a lucrative Las Cirque du Soleil show and his stake in EMI’s publishing catalogue, but in 2011 and 2013 his earnings were $275 million and $160 million respectively.
The Elvis team enjoyed a bump for a few years because of the Cirque show Viva Elvis which ended its Las Vegas run a couple of years ago. This same bump continued due to the release of another commemorative stamp and new albums. Today, international recognition and new generations of Presley fans are key indicators as to why Presley continues to earn millions in pre-tax earnings each year.
Besides the stamps, music, merchandise and movies, the Presley estate brings in a considerable amount of revenue from Graceland, the late singer’s mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.
Before his death on August 16, 1977, Elvis was making incredible dollars for the times. His average concert gross in the mid-’70s was $130,000 a night. Each new album guaranteed at least least $250,000 in royalties. His movies earned him at least $1 million per picture. In 1973, he was reportedly the highest taxpayer in the United States. Despite all this, his estate was valued at $4.9 million (equivalent to $19.8 million in today’s dollars) when he died.
Elvis earnings, after his death, met or exceed many of today’s living entertainers. In 2016 the artists below reported these earnings.
Taylor Swift, $44 million; Kenny Chesney $42 million; Bruno Mars, $37 million; Rihanna $36 million; Bon Jovi, $35 million; Billy Joel, $35 million; Toby Keith, $34 million; Brittney Spears, $34 million; Katy Perry, $33 million; Jason Aldean, $32 million; Elton John, $30 million; and John Mayer, $22 million.
According to Forbes, the following actor earnings have earned these amounts in 2017:
Tom Cruise, $43 million; Tom Hanks, $31 million; Samuel L. Jackson, $30.5 million; Emma Stone, $26 million; Jennifer Lawrence, $24 million; Matt Damon, $21 million; and Chris Evans, $18 million.
ELVIS PRESLEY EARNINGS
|YEAR||Earnings in Millions|
Elvis Presley’s Graceland has consistently received between 600,000 to750,000 visitors a year over the last decade. In the past four years, attendance is up roughly 35,000 visitors annually. Last spring, Elvis Presley Enterprises opened 200,000 square feet of new exhibits, museums and performance space across the street at Graceland Plaza. The redevelopment was part of a $137 million master-planned overhaul of the Graceland campus, which began in the fall of 2016 with the opening of 450-room resort hotel The Guest House at Graceland. The economic impact of Graceland’s expansion has been estimated at more than $1.1 billion.
Following up the hit albums “If I Can Dream” and “The Wonder of You,” of the past two years, Elvis has been back performing in arenas on a big-screen, accompanied by a live symphony orchestra. It’s been selling out tours of Europe and U.S. as it moved on to more concerts in Europe and Australia.
“My view is that Elvis, along with a few other people, started pop culture as we know it. These people are just as popular or more popular today than they’ve ever been,” Joel Weinshanker, Graceland’s managing partner said. “We will have more visitors this year than we did in the first year Graceland was opened. Elvis is going to generate more revenue in 2017 than he ever has, period. It will be his best year.”
“Our largest specific demographic is 20-something women,” Weinshanker said. “That’s who’s interested in Elvis. Also, with the expansion, we’ve seen the number of children and families doubling. Young couples in their 20s and 30s, that’s a demographic we’ve had forever, but now with the hotel, they’re bringing their kids. And in the process, they’re fostering a new generation of Elvis fans.”
Other deceased celebrity earnings following Elvis are:
- Bob Marley, musician, died 1981: $23million
Tom Petty, musician, died 2017: $20million
Prince, musician, died 2016: $18million
John Lennon, musician, died 1980: $12million
David Bowie, musician, died 2016: $9.5million
Elizabeth Taylor, actress, died 2011: $8million
Bettie Paige, model, died 2008: $7.5million