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.
Maya Rudolph and Sleigh Bells were the host and musical guest, respectively, on last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live. The standout sketch of the evening involved the world’s most famous new parents, Jay-Z (played by Jay Pharoah) and Beyoncé (Rudolph) welcoming a slew of famous musicians to their crib to welcome the newest member of the Carter family, Blue Ivy Carter (see: Photos of Blue Ivy Carter). Their guests at their Scarsdale, NY home included the mystery wrapped inside of a riddle wrapped inside of an enigma that is Prince (played to perfection by Fred Armisen), 2012 Grammys host LL Cool J (played by Kenan Thompson, a comedian whose many strengths do not include the ability to do a spot-on impression), a rambunctious Nicki Minaj (played more than adequately by Nasim Pedrad), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Taran Killam and Abby Elliott, respectively), and a VERY surprised Taylor Swift (Kristen Wiig).
There was one other surprise visitor to see the Notorious B.I.C. — the 2012 winner of the Best New Artist Grammy, Bon Iver! Frequent SNL cameo actor and former musician Justin Timberlake turned in a hilarious impression of the notoriously shy indie frontman, which included singing a parody version of “Holocene” that served as a lullaby that put both Blue Ivy AND Bon Iver himself to sleep. Justin (unnecessarily) went out of his way at the end of the show to make peace with the bearded Wisconsin native, holding up a sign that read “I (Heart) Bon Iver” as the show credits rolled, but we’re pretty sure that the recent SNL musical guest didn’t care. After all, unlike Snooki and Skrillex, everyone managed to pronounce his name correctly.
Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars have teamed up for The Hunger Games Soundtrack: Songs from District 12 and Beyond, and their collaborative track, “Safe And Sound” features a haunting video to go with the romantic vocal. The video sees Taylor walking barefoot in a whimsical, diaphanous gown through a harsh winter forest landscape, while bare trees throw up obtuse, magical shapes as she wanders between them. The scene flicks to The Civil Wars in stark contrast, sitting before a crackling fire in a cosy, domestic setting as their voices harmonize with Taylor’s.
The waifish Taylor continues to haunt the barren landscape while fires rage in the distance, almost spectral in her aimless meandering. With the mystical appearance of an apperating deer, the song takes on a fantastical, otherworldly import as Taylor roams, hopelessly hopeful that the dawn will bring her safety. As night falls there’s a sense of desperation as the deer turns to dust before Taylor’s eyes, but the soft crooning melodies remain a constant reminder that everything will be alright.
In “Rolling In The Deep”, Adele sang “We could have had it all.” Well, at the 2012 Grammy Awards tonight, she did end up having it all — all the awards, that is. The English songbird completed a year of total dominance on the Billboard song and album charts by sweeping the three major categories at this year’s awards: Album of the Year for 21, Song of the Year for “Rolling In The Deep”, and Record of the Year (also for “Rolling In The Deep”). All in all, the 23-year-old took home six Grammys tonight, bringing her career total to eight.
Adele also performed “Rolling In The Deep” in front of a hushed crowd, her first public singing performance since she underwent vocal cord surgery back in 2011. We haven’t seen any video of that performance emerge on the web yet, but we DID see her knock Anderson Cooper‘s socks off with an a Capella performance of her Grammy-winning smash on 60 Minutes earlier tonight. We’ve got that performance for you below.
With her historic “Triple Crown” win tonight, Yahoo Music noted that Adele became only the sixth artist in history to accomplish that feat. Her peers in this exclusive group include Simon & Garfunkel (1971), Carole King (1972), Christopher Cross (1981), Eric Clapton (1993) and the Dixie Chicks (2007).
These artists have been announced as the “first” performers on the Grammy’s website, which means that there’s still hope that big names like Adele (six nominations), Kanye West (who has the most nominations of all, with seven nods), and Lady Gaga (three nominations) will perform on the night. Even though there are rumors abounding that Adele will play, she’s still recovering from throat surgery, so we’ve got our money on Lady Gaga to be announced as a performer given her strong presence and dedication to the stage, evidenced by her complete saturation of 2011. We’d also like to see our You Oughta Know artist Foster The People (2 nominations) take to the stage, as they were the dark horse of the previous year, their tracks “Pumped Up Kicks,” and “Helena Beat” bringing up the rear to find an overwhelmingly positive critical reception.
Now that we’re done with reflecting on 2011, it’s time to start projecting into 2012. With the reign of Adele perhaps taking a brief hiatus, and buzz building around several newcomers, some legendary reunions and highly anticipated sophomore albums, 2012 is already shaping up to be a year filled with some pretty amazing music. We’ve put together a list of 20 of our most anticipated albums for 2012 — what are you looking forward to in 2012?
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (Expected Release Date: 01/27): Possibly the most hyped artist of 2011, we’re excited for the record to finally come out so we can stop judging the hype and start judging the material! She landed a highly coveted spot as the musical guest on the January 14th episode of Saturday Night Live, so expect the clamor to grow.
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (Expected Release Date: 02/07): Aside from a couple of songs that made it onto the band’s 1996 Best Of set, the band hasn’t cut any new material in the studio with original lead singer David Lee Roth since 1984, so anticipation for this project is through the roof. After a blistering reunion set at Cafe Wha? in New York City last night, there’s a good chance the boys still have it in ‘em.
Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror (Expected Release Date: 02/14): After Sleigh Bells’ killer debut with Treats, we’re biting our nails to find out whether their sophomore effort will be just as good. If the release of the first single off the new album, “Born To Lose”, is anything to go by, we won’t be disappointed.
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Expected Release Date: 02/14): Since Nicki Minaj Tweeted that the new album will feature all new material (as opposed to a re-release), we’ve been painting everything pink in anticipation. Barbz at the ready!
Ludacris Opens A Chicken And Beer Shop
Rapper Ludacris is opening a chicken and beer shop at Concourse D of the Atlanta airport. Which, interestingly enough, is apparently the world’s busiest airport. Huh. [Vulture]
Paris Hilton Is An Expert On DJs And Raves
Perennial party girl and offensively rich human, Paris Hilton, is now also a music expert. She says, “There are just so many great DJs right now… And I should know — I’ve been to over 100 raves in the past year, so I’ve heard every type of music.” Of course you have Paris. [US Weekly]
Ah to be young, weird, tortured and swathed in couture! This year Lady Gaga has proven to be more than just an artiste — behind the conceptual seems to lie a savvy business woman and dedicated, hard worker. Indeed, Forbes has estimated that the Mother Monster raked in $90 million dollars in 2011, which we can safely say is nothing to sneeze at (unless you really need to sneeze and can’t help it). That’s really a lot of money, and we guess it sort of makes sense, with album sales for Born This Way, extensive touring and generally just being everywhere and doing everything all the time. Although we are starting to wonder if Lady Gaga isn’t more than one person — her constant visibility seems near impossible, maybe she’s a triplet?
Lady Gaga really is the dominating femme force in the earnings stakes, with second place holder Taylor Swift making only half ($45 million) of the Lady’s earnings in 2011. Aside from Lady Gaga’s small fortune, there aren’t really any surprises on Forbes‘ list (Celine Dion‘s heart really does go on), with all the independent ladies of pop you’d expect to be buying their own bling making the baller list:
The nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. The 2012 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 12th at 8/7c. Kanye West led all nominees with 7 nods, despite being royally snubbed in the Album of the Year category, closely followed by Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars (who each snagged six nominations).
However, big surprise of the evening was certainly the recognition bestowed upon Bon Iver, who scored nominations in three of the “Big 4″ categories (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist). He is a virtual unknown to most Americans, and not even presenter and fellow Best New Artist nominee Nicki Minaj knew how to pronounce his name (she probably should’ve watched this YouTube video with the correct pronunciation of Bon Iver before heading out on stage). However, music industry insiders clearly know of him, and his performance at the awards in February will likely be the most lovably awkward televised performed since Elliott Smith showed up at the Oscars in 1998.