Forbes just released their ranking of 2012's highest-earning women in the music industry. The mighty ladies that top the list should come as no surprise. Britney Spears, whose career has been a series of highs and lows, takes the #1 spot, with Taylor Swift in close second, and Rihanna at the respectable #3 position. In order to compile this list, Forbes compared income from five key sources: record sales, touring, endorsements, merchandise sales, and other ventures (serving as a judge on The X Factor, for example).
Spears pulled in a whopping $58 million this past year and a good chunk of that revenue came from her latest release, Femme Fatale, which was certified platinum in the U.S., and the subsequent tour. Marketing "guru" Steve Stoute, author of The Tanning of America, had this to say about Spears and her profitable tenacity: "I think people love the comeback story--Britney never really finished her run as a superstar."
Swift and Rihanna trailed Spears' earnings by only a few million or so (pocket change), with the former's debut album, Red, moving more units its first week than any debut since 2002. Between the three pop stars, big endorsement deals also add to their growing wealth; releasing a personalized fragrance is a growing trend amongst female celebs and Justin Bieber, and all three have their own lines available at major retailers.
1. Britney Spears, $58 million
2. Taylor Swift, $57 million
3. Rihanna, $53 million
4. Lady Gaga, $52 million
5. Katy Perry, $45 million