5 Rihanna ($29 million)
Ok, like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, Rihanna might need to work on her taste in men, but she’s doing pretty good in the career department. She made an average of $1 million a night at shows in 2011 and it seems like she’s winning every award there is. That “We Found Love” video she did with Calvin Harris has over 220 million views on You Tube – not bad for a girl from Barbados. She also has her contract with Cover Girl and ads for Gucci and coconut water, so it probably doesn’t matter that Nivea dropped her because he was either too sexy or had a bad attitude – who knows. Probably doesn’t bother her that much. If only she’d stop making out with Chris Brown.
4 Beyonce ($35 million)
If you’ve seen Beyonce live (or even pretend-live, like on TV at an awards show) you know she puts on a hell of a show. She’s talented, beautiful, and she’s one half of a pretty badass power couple. She doesn’t need Jay-Z to help her along though. This woman earned $35 million dollars the same years she was pregnant and starting a family – not bad. She also bought her hubby a pricey Bombardier jet for Father’s Day this year – no big deal. It’s just a private jet. Seems like when she’s not hobnobbing with the President and first lady she’s on a yacht somewhere with champagne. Good for her. She can definitely afford it.
3 Katy Perry ($44 million)
Like Swift, Katy Perry has young girls in a tizzy. Spraying whipped cream from your bra and bopping around looking like a human Hello Kitty doll really pays off. Perry’s songs are catchy and perfect for the mall set, and her tunes are no doubt played in teenybopper shops from Munich to Manhattan. She had an impressive four top singles from her hit album Teenage Dream, she came out with a perfume called Purr (Taylor Swift is probably so pissed that Perry nabbed the kitty reference before she could), and she shills for products, appearing in ads like Proactiv, telling the world about her troubled skin that is now clear and beautiful thanks to Proactiv (and spa treatments and other fancy products). She’s on again/off again with notorious ladies’ man John “I’m so deep because I have tattoos” Mayer, so she’ll most likely have some Swift-like breakup/empowerment songs soon, too. Maybe they can sing a duet.
2 Taylor Swift ($45 million)
Swift better keep on falling in love and breaking up with the bachelor of the month, because that seems to fuel every ounce of her songwriting. Teen girls just love her lyrics about heartbreak, love, and girl-power. The formula is working because she’s barely out of her teens and she’s rolling around in piles of cash. Her album Speak Now went triple platinum and she got about $750,000 per night on that tour. She seems to love lounging her Nashville bed with her cat, so she’s probably not blowing all her cash on partying… yet.
1 Lady Gaga ($90 million)
Mama Monster is the queen bee of female singer songwriters these days. Sure she caught the world’s attention with her meat and Kermit the frog dresses and her outrageous (and expensive) live shows, but Gaga is the real deal. She’s a musical prodigy who can hold her own at the piano keys with her buddy Elton John. Her fan base of “Little Monsters” is a rabid one, for sure. They adore her. Gaga’s shows cost a bundle to a good portion of her tour’s earnings probably goes right back into those, but she’s definitely living large. Supposedly she’s building a “floating mansion” in the Greek isles – neat! She’s got her black perfume too, and you know all those Little Monsters around the world are buying it up. So for 2011, Gaga reigned supreme and it looks like she’s not slowing down.