Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift? Who Is the Top-Earning Woman in Music?

Forbes unveils its list of the biggest female moneymaker in the music biz for 2011

By Josh Grossberg Dec 14, 2011 11:19 PMTags
Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy PerryFrank Micelotta/Getty Images; Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga have all had a pretty good year, but one of these lovely ladies tops Forbes list of the top-earning women in music.

So who is it?

Lady Gaga: It was a monster kind of year for the "Born This Way" singer.

According to the magazine, she ranks No. 1 for 2011, grossing a whopping $90 million thanks to album sales, endorsement deals and the phenomenal $1.3 million nightly take for her worldwide Monster Ball tour.

Forget the night—she oughta marry the Monopoly guy.

Less than half of Gaga's tally but impressive nonetheless, Swift ranked second with $45 million, largely on the strength of the country songbird's latest sell-out trek and a devoted tween fanbase that snapped up her 2010 record Speak Now in droves.

Close behind her in third place was Perry, who's rolling in it with $44 million after scoring five consecutive No. 1 hits off her multiplatinum-selling album Teenage Dream (and tying Michael Jackson for the Billboard charts feat). And don't forget all those lucrative endorsement deals that saw the popster hocking Adidas, Proactiv and Ubisoft in addition to her second fragrance, Purr.

Rounding out the top five spots are divas Beyoncé, in fourth place with $35 million, and Rihanna, in fifth with $29 million, off their latest musical and entrepreneurial ventures.

Earnings were tabulated based on data gathered with the help of concert business trackers Poll Star, the Recording Industry Association of America and music industry insiders, and cover all pretax income earned from May 2010 to May 2011. 

For a full rundown, visit Forbes.com.