Madonna named Forbes’ Top-Earning Woman in Music 2013
In her classic song Like A Prayer, Madonna notes that life is a mystery and everyone must stand alone. That holds true for the Material Girl herself, at least when it comes to earnings: she’s all by herself atop this year’s list of the highest-paid women in music.
Madonna pulled in $125 million over the past year, making her music’s top earner of any genre or gender and the highest-paid celebrity of any stripe. She augments her income with merchandise sales, her Material Girl clothing line and her Truth or Dare fragrance. But Madge’s millions mostly came from the tail end of her MDNA Tour, which grossed $305 million.
She has global hits and they span decades and genres and generations, says entertainment attorney Lori Landew of Fox Rothschild. Madonna draws her audiences from so many pools and she has connected to so many people through her music that it should be no surprise that her tours are so successful.
Despite the fact that the top two earners in all of music Madonna and Lady Gaga are women, there are only seven ladies among the top 25 earners overall. Landew attributes this to a number of factors, including the relative dearth of major female legacy acts.
This may be due to some unspoken double-standard that does not place as much of a premium on how men look on stage in contrast to women who are so often judged on their looks as well as their talent, she says. Or it may be due to the fact that women choose to opt out of the musical rat race before men do for personal reasons. Whatever the cause, the result seems to be careers cut short for many women in music who might otherwise go on to influence, entertain and earn.
To form their list, Forbes looked at income from June 1st, 2012 through June 1st, 2013, using data sources including Pollstar, the RIAA, Nielsen SoundScan, managers and attorneys. We took into account concert ticket sales, royalties for recorded music and publishing, merchandise sales, endorsement deals and other business ventures. Our estimates reflect pretax income before deducting fees for agents, managers and lawyers.
The 10 Top-earning women in music
1 Madonna ($125 million)
2 Lady Gaga ($80 million)
3 Taylor Swift ($55 million)
4 Beyoncé ($53 million)
5 Jennifer Lopez ($45 million)
6 Rihanna ($43 million)
7 Katy Perry ($39 million)
8 Pink ($32 million)
9 Carry Underwood ($31 million
10 (tie) Mariah Carey – Nicki Minaj ($29 million)