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Forbes Releases Top-Earning Women in Music List

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by Inkoo Kang
December 12, 2013 3:00 PM
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Madonna didn't become the Material Girl for nothing. At 55, she's still going strong -- and making bank. 

After her last album, "MDNA," debuted at the top of the pop charts, Madonna became this year's highest-earning musician with a blockbuster tour and strong merchandise sales. Those earned Her Madgesty $125 million this year, as well as the distinction of being "music's top earner of any genre or gender and the highest-paid celebrity of any stripe," according to Forbes, which released a slideshow of the "top-earning women in music."  

Rounding out the list are the usual suspects (in order): Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Pink, Carrie Underwood, and Mariah Carey. It's nice to see a great deal of diversity in race, age, musical genre, body type (kind of), and "brand image" among these top performers. Pink, Madonna, and Beyonce, for example, showcase a kind of muscled strength in their personae; Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez aim for a sexier look; and Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood exude youth and sweetness. 

The Forbes list is a great example of the way audiences are much more motley and heterogeneous in their tastes than Hollywood gives them credit for. Not every girl wants to be a princess, not every teenager wants to choose between two boyfriends, and not every rom-com heroine has to be a clumsy magazine writer. We want to see not just more women onscreen, but many more different kinds of women. And it's not just us who feel this way. The powerhouse success of the very different ladies on this Forbes list proves it. 


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