Nowadays all we ever hear about the recording industry is how much it’s struggling. Album sales are down. Record labels are fighting to stay alive. The whole system is going to crumble! But, there is always hope. Pollstar released the figures around the 2010 North American tours. It showed one thing: North American’s love seeing a live performance and listening to live music. Especially when both are combined for a really good night out. Here’s a list of the top ten earners in order of gross sales:

1. Bon Jovi: Believe it or not, an 80s hair band is still at the top of the list for moneymaking tours. They played 51 shows in 38 cities across North America, sold nearly 1.2 million tickets and earned just over $100 mil. Nobody really knows who gave love a bad name, but now we definitely know a good name for selling tickets. (“Jon.” “Jon” is what we were getting at.) The rockers are still touring, too. Check out Bon Jovi’s full tour schedule to see if you can keep this band at the top for 2011.

Bon Jovi
2. Roger Waters: The former vocalist / bassist for Pink Floyd is showing that classic rock never goes out of style by coming in number two in the races. 56 shows in 36 cities, over 700,000 tickets sold for an impressive $89.5 million in ticket sales. Now that he’s conquered North America, the tour jumped the pond and is now playing a European leg of the tour. Here’s Roger Water’s full tour schedule, if you’re planning to take in a show in Barcelona or Budapest.

3. Dave Matthews Band: One of the non-grunge bands to emerge from Seattle in the 90s is still having no troubles filling a venue. In 2010, 50 cities bought 1.2 million tickets for 62 shows. Though they sold the most tickets out of anyone in the top ten list, they came away with enough earnings to reach 3rd on the list with close to $73 million in sales. They’re currently taking a break from the road while the ants do the marching for them.

4. Michael Bublé: One of the few non-rockers to make the list and he did it with style. Bublé bewitched, bothered and bewildered 67 cities into buying just short of 800,000 tickets for 73 shows. An overall take of $65 million. It’s nice to see that North America embraces all kinds of music including jazz. Though it appears as though Australia does, too, as that’s where he performing next. If you’re in the Down Under and might be in the mood for some singsong melodies, check out Michael Bublé’s tour schedule.

Michael Bublé
5. The Eagles: Another classic rock band proves that things classified as “classic” are done so for a reason. 42 shows in 38 cities, over 610,000 tickets sold, over $64 million earned. It helps to sell a tour when the main attraction has created six number one albums since the early 70s. There’s music in that show for everyone. Since their tour has completed, The Eagles have nested for a while to make plans for their next tour.

6. Paul McCartney: The Beatles are no more. Paul McCartney’s Wings tour has been clipped. But, the guy still knows how to sell a show. Though, he played the fewest out of all of the top ten acts listed here. A mere 21 shows in 16 cities. But the reputation of his former music projects combined with the reputation from his recent music produced helped in selling close to 450,000 tickets. At the end of it, Paul M raked in over $61 million in 2010. North America appreciates UK music, that’s for certain.

7. Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Regardless of how the year starts out, TSO will always have a good year once the holiday season hits thanks to their best-selling albums such as “The Christmas Attic,” “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” and “The Lost Christmas Eve.” They expertly mixed their modern orchestral music with known Christmas carols in such a way that many families cannot imagine the holiday season without a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show included. Which is one of the reasons they were able to play 159 shows in 109 cities this year – number one in the list in that regard – with over one million tickets sold. $52 million in sales should be on anyone’s Christmas wish lists. They have a few more shows set for March in Europe and the UK. So, if you have some leftover holiday spirit and are near any of the towns on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s tour schedule, here’s your chance for one last Christmas fix.

8. Lady Gaga: The only solo female act to make the list this year. But, she did so with her own kind of panache. Lady Gaga had no problems filling a room with thousands and thousands of people ready to dance. And pop. And possibly lock. Not necessarily in that order. She dazzled 40 cities with 55 shows which included more than 520,000 tickets sold. Gaga came in at number 8 after selling $51 million in tickets. But, she’s nowhere even close to being done. There are another 43 shows on Lady Gaga’s tour schedule that all occur in the US, Canada and Mexico. If LG is in a bad romance, it’s certainly not with her fan base.

Lady Gaga
9. James Taylor and Carole King: James and Carole teamed together to bring us the Troubadour Reunion tour. And we were grateful. So were the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and 81 other national and local charities for the $1.5 million raised to donate for these causes. More than 610,000 tickets were sold for 44 shows in 36 cities. They were just edged out by Lady Gaga by earning $50.7 million on this tour. Both activists and music fans left the show feeling good.

10. The Black Eyed Peas: Rounding out the top ten – and giving Lady Gaga some company by adding another pop / dance group to the list – is TBEPs. Though, having over ten years more touring experience, there’s no surprise that they were able to sell 800,000 tickets for their 54-show, 52-city tour. I got a feeling that they deserved a spot on this list for still being able to sell over $50 million worth of tickets.

Black Eyed Peas
There it is. The List. Some things we can take away from this: Rock ‘N’ Roll is here to stay. 2010 was the year for male-dominated acts to tour – let’s see if the ladies can take over 2011. Touring isn’t just for spring chickens. And buying a ticket for a quality music show is money well spent.

Tour on!