Pop diva Britney Spears has taken the No. 1 spot on Forbes' top 10 highest-paid women in music for 2012 with an estimated $58 million in combined earnings from her albums, endorsements, and perfume line. "The X Factor (US)" judge bested two other huge artists, country princess Taylor Swift and R'n'B star Rihanna who took the second and third places with an estimated $57 million and $53 million in total paychecks respectively. Forbes announced the list of top-earners on Wednesday, December 12 based on estimated earnings from May 2011 to May 2012.
Spears, who was at No. 10 last year, mostly collected her dollars from sales of her latest set "Femme Fetale". She also pulled in cash from her tour and reality TV stint with "The X Factor". The judging role alone reportedly gave her $15 million.
Twenty-two-year-old Swift had her new album "Red" to thank for in making it to the second spot this year. She also earned more than $1 million a night with her tour, plus millions more from her contract with CoverGirl cosmetics and her fragrance line.
Rihanna, who climbed up two places from last year, also owed a lot to her tour and new album release. Lady GaGa, who was the No. 1 earner last year, ended up at the No. 4 this year with $52 million.
Rounding up the top five is singer Katy Perry with $45 million in total earnings. Perry's California Dreams tour grossed about $60 million and she's noted to be the only musician other than Michael Jackson to have produced five No. 1 songs from one album.
"I think people love the comeback story - Britney never really finished her run as a superstar," marketing expert and author of "The Tanning of America", Steve Stoute, told Forbes. Stoute also said that, "What all these girls have in common is that they have smashes under their belts. GaGa... she's a pop culture icon because of her sensibilities... I think Rihanna has found the very thin space of being the alter ego of the good girl... [along with Katy Perry], they've completely dominated the charts in the past three years."
Forbes Top 10 Highest-Paid Women in Music 2012: