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Britney Spears’ earnings edged Taylor Swift’s to make her the top-earning woman in music over the past year by a whisker – and not strictly due to album sales.

Records, her X Factor gig, endorsements and a perfume line netted Britney Spears $58 million last year; Taylor was a close second with an estimated $57 million.

A contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, her own line of fragrances, countless hit songs and massive celebrity gossip attention made 2012 Swift’s year.

Britney Spears Closes Out 2021

Rihanna earned an estimated $53 million to put her at No. 3, two spots up from last year, followed by Lady Gaga, who fell from No. 1 in 2011 with $52 million.


Katy Perry, the only musician other than Michael Jackson to produce five No. 1 hit singles from one album, rounded out the top five with about $45 million.

All impressive and younger, but none could top Britney Spears at the bank.

Spears, who was No. 10 last year, earned most of her money from her latest album Femme Fatale and her recent tour, plus a $15 million X Factor payday.

You can read the full list of high-earners compiled by Forbes.

Despite huge incomes, only eight of the top women were among the 25 best-paid musicians, attributed in part to career breaks to have children.