Forbes recently issued its annual ranking of the highest-earning women in music, and placing third, with a whopping US$53 million, Barbados’ pop princess Rihanna can easily afford to add a king’s ransom of jewels to her crown.
Ranking behind Britney Spears and Taylor Swift, in first and second position respectively, the Unapologetic girl edged last year’s winner Lady Gaga into fourth spot and shot ahead of Katy Perry who holds the record as the only musician besides Michael Jackson to have five No. 1 singles from the same album.
Rihanna’s millions were generated by a hectic touring schedule and an impressive string of hits including We Found Love and Diamonds, as well as endorsements with Vita Coco and Nivea, and sales of her popular fragrance Reb’l Fleur.
The 24-year-old recording star has come a long way since last year when she was ranked 25th on the world’s highest paid musicians list with $29 million.
Britney Spears headed the list with $58 million from May 2011 through May 2012 outranking all others. She nevertheless earned about 30 percent less than the $90 million that Lady Gaga hauled in the previous year to top the magazine’s 2011 roster.
Spears generated most of her $58 million from her “Femme Fatale” concert tour and album, along with additional revenue from her Elizabeth Arden fragrance line and other product endorsements.
She barely overtook Taylor Swift, at No. 2 with $57 million, which doesn’t include her blockbuster “Red” album released in October. Swift was still on her “Speak Now” tour during the ranking period and also benefited from deals with Cover Girl and Sony, according to Forbes.
Rihanna’s $53 million was closely followed by Lady Gaga at $52 million and Katy Perry at $45 million. Rounding out Forbes’ top 10 are Beyonce ($40 million), Adele ($35 million), Sade ($33 million), Madonna ($30 million) and Shakira ($20 million).
Forbes bases its calculations on figures from Pollstar, the concert industry-tracking publication, the Recording Industry Association of America, and interviews with managers, lawyers and concert promoters.
Gross income figures come from record and concert ticket sales, merchandise sales, product endorsements and other business ventures.