If there’s one thing all musicians and artists have in common, it’s that they have to truly put in the work to advance in their careers. Whether recording a new record or touring for 150 days out of the year, the grind never really stops for those in the music industry – and when you combine that with the mental health struggles many musicians face, that simply compounds the kind of pressure they’re under.
What truly defines “hard work”, though? How would you even quantify such a statistic? Luckily, we have a bit more to go on here thanks to a data compilation by the ICMP, who have taken the time and (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance) has compiled a Top 100 list of the hardest working musicians.
Of course, there’s no still not an easy way to quantify this data, but the ICMP uses a combination of factors, including artist nationality and Billboard’s 2018 year-end charts, as well as the Billboard Artist 100, to determine who’s really working hard. The top 10 probably won’t be all that surprising if you have an ear for any of today’s popular music, though. NME lays the top 10 out here:
1. Lewis Capaldi – 195 shows
2. Billie Eilish – 184 shows
3. P!nk – 167 shows
4. Ed Sheeran – 156 shows
5. Elton John – 150 shows
6. Killswitch Engage – 148 shows
7. Dua Lipa – 137 shows
8. Khalid – 136 shows
9. Shawn Mendes – 134 shows
10. Portugal. The Man – 132 shows
About the methodology involved, the ICMP intimates this:
We used a weighted ranking system to assign a ranking to each artist. This took into account the total number of shows played, the number of countries played and the percentage of international shows. Each of these factors was weighted equally and assigned a numerical value with higher numbers equalling a better ranking.
You’ll notice that Killswitch Engage, by the data, is the hardest-working band in rock or metal right now. That’s not really surprising, considering how much the band tours, and it’ll likely only climb considering they’re supporting a new record too. Who else makes the cut, though? Notables include twenty one pilots at the #11 spot, Metallica at #36, and even Tool nailed down a spot at #97.
Granted, there are caveats to a list like this. Notably, it doesn’t include the legions of bands that might not chart high on Billboard, but are constantly touring for 100+ days a year. But it does provide some context as to which musicians end up touring the most – notably, out of Elton John’s last 2 years of touring, almost all of his shows have been outside his native homeland of Britain. Which is certainly a lot of traveling!