Taylor Swift Is the Music Industry's Number-One Money Maker


Sometimes you hear that the music industry is dying, that no one’s buying records anymore and there are no true rock stars left. But according to a new list put together by the folks at Billboard, 24-year-old Taylor Swift raked in a metric shitload of cash last year.

There are three women who perform as solo artists on Billboard‘s Top Money Makers list, but Pink, who earned $20 million last year, and Beyoncé, who reaped about $24 million, do not even come close to TSwizzle: She hustled her way to a whopping $39,699,575.60. Repeat: Over THIRTY-NINE MILLION DOLLARS.

Billboard’s methodology takes into account touring, recorded music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming. Which means Swift’s merch, branding and sponsorships aren’t even included in that sum:

…Swift has hit that sweet-spot demo that captures revenue from every angle. Her album sales are eighth among all of Billboard’s Money Makers and trail only Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton among country acts. On the digital front, Swift is an elite artist at nearly 10 million downloads, ranking sixth, and she’s fifth in streaming royalties, leaving her country peers in the dust.
But where the singer truly shines is in touring, perhaps the best metric of fan passion. Swift’s revenue from six months of touring the United States on the global Red Tour tops all of her fellow Money Makers with an estimated take of $30 million. Beyond her take of ticket receipts, the tour boasted three integrated sponsorships (Keds, Elizabeth Arden, Diet Coke) whose estimated cash value is believed to be in the high seven figures, and, at $17 per head in merch sales, Swift stands to bring in an additional $10 million gross.

A few things to note: First, although she’s released four albums, Swift is still relatively new in the music business; the number two slot on this Money Makers list is held by Kenny Chesney, who has more than a dozen albums under his belt. There are many others in the top ten portion of this list — Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac — who started recording music before Taylor Swift was born. Second: It would be safe to assume that her fans are largely female, and that her popularity is fueled by young women. Much like the early days of The Beatles, as well as the BSB, Britney and ‘NSYNC phenomenons, making young ladies fall in love with you equals success. Finally, although she had a very interesting year, is currently on tour and continues to make headlines, Miley Cyrus is nowhere in the Money Makers Top 40. It’s Taylor who can’t stop, won’t stop.

Image via Getty.

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