Elton John and McCartney still rock the markets - years after their live debuts

In November of last year, we reported on how Forbes' recently published list of the world's top-earning musicians revealed an interesting trend: many of the list's top names haven't released any new music recently.

For instance, US R&B sensation Beyoncé Knowles was #3 on Forbes' list with total earnings of $87m - despite having not released a new album for two years, which was 2008's I Am... Sacha Fierce. So where was Beyoncé making her money?

Well, while today's music fans are turning to (often illegal) online downloads to satiate their love of music, the artists are turning to the live circuit. Beyoncé alone has raked in millions in sales across the globe with her legendary live extravaganza.

This is great news for the collectibles markets. Rather than simply buying CDs, today's fans are increasingly looking to invest their cash in an event - "the real thing" - be it concert tickets or memorabilia.


And there's another reason why the perilous state of record sales is great for collectors. Without the comfort of record music sale royalties, yesteryear's artists are returning to the live circuit to top up their wealth - and their rock 'n' roll legacies.

Like the Rocket Man himself, Elton John. Elton has just signed-on for a residency at Las Vegas's Caesars Palace casino for three years. There, he follows in the footsteps of Elvis Presley, Liberace, Cher and other artists who've devoted portions of their careers to the Vegas strip.

In retrospect, it's a good job that Elton forged himself a reputation as a strong live performer. In fact, it was today in history 31 years ago that he made his solo concert debut when he opened for T. Rex in London. 

And, by coincidence, the Rocket Man wasn't the only music legend to make his live debut on this day in history. Nine years before Elton was tinkling the ivories before onlookers, The Beatles debuted at the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1961.

Sir Paul McCartney’s undying devotion to playing live helps ensure that signed Beatles memorabilia will appeal to future generations of collectors


Of course, both acts have since more-than made their presence felt on the collectibles markets.

Rare stage outfits worn by Elton John can command thousands of pounds. And if you bought a signed Beatles group photo 10 years ago, it could today be worth 309.1% as much as you originally paid for it.

As with Elton, Sir Paul McCartney is also never far away from a concert stage and crowds of adoring fans. And as both continue to top-up and renew their legacies with live performances, this can only be good news for those who have invested in their memorabilia.


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