Billboard have released their Music’s Top 40 Money Makers list based on 2011′s earnings. And the biggest music earner of the past year is none other than country babe Taylor Swift, who made a whopping $35.7 million. Her financial success can largely be attributed to her smash hit album Speak Now and subsequent tour, which made $88.5 million in the US alone, $29.8 million of which went into Taylor’s pocket. Billboard also named Taylor Woman Of The Year in 2011 after she racked up 1.8 million album sales and 7.8 million digital single sales from Speak Now. Swift wrote 14 songs from the album, royalties from which contributing in no small way to her earning capacity.
Billboard states that, “As the concert business rebounded in 2011, touring remained the biggest source of income for the top earners in the U.S. music business… But not all of the 40 artists on the Money Makers list relied heavily, if at all, on touring income.” Indeed, there seems to be little to no consistency in tours as related to earning capacity (some top earners toured, others didn’t), nor does there seem to be much of a correlation between chart success and earning, as Adele, who still dominates the charts, came in at number 10 (where we would have expected her at number one given her phenomenal, history making sales), and Katy Perry, who broke records with five number ones from the same album, came in at 14. Surprisingly, Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t even make the Top 40 — shocking because in 2011 we came to think of Bey as one of the most powerful, and therefore lucrative, personalities in music. Check out the top 10 music earners after the jump, and the full list at Billboard.com.