Britney Spears‘ platinum-selling album Femme Fatale and its accompanying tour were the main sources behind the pop star’s stratospheric ledger, with a fragrance deal and assorted endorsements rounding out the figures.
Close behind was Taylor Swift, who earned her $57 million in much the same way as Spears: with a huge record. Speak Now, Swift’s quadruple-platinum-certified album from 2010 generated $1 million per night on a tour which set sail through North America in early 2011.
Rounding out the top three is Rihanna at $53 million, whose endorsement deals with Vita Coco and Nivea as well as the enduring hit “Diamonds” contributed to her still-storming success.
Two surprises crop up: the sultry chanteuse Sade’s placement ahead of Madonna at #8 (the Queen of Pop hadn’t yet embarked on her worldwide MDNA tour, something likely to boost her standing next year). As well, Adele’s relatively modest placement at #7 on the list, despite her historic, ten-times-platinum certified album 21.
Jennifer Lopez’s classification as a “Personality” precluded her inclusion in the women in music list, whose earnings of $52 million would have tied her with Lady Gaga at #4.
The Forbes list measures gross income from all sources, not adjusted for managements fees or taxes (and so is not representative of the bottom line of a particular star’s bank account) between May 2011 to May 2012. Forbes’ date range doesn’t include Spears’ lucrative contract with “The X Factor” (reportedly for $15 million), nor a particularly high-profile year for Rihanna.
1. Britney Spears ($58 million)
2. Taylor Swift ($57 million)
3. Rihanna ($53 million)
4. Lady Gaga ($52 million)
5. Katy Perry ($45 million)
6. Beyoncé ($40 million)
7. Adele ($35 million)
8. Sade ($33 million)
9. Madonna ($30 million)
10. Shakira ($20 million)
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