Taylor Swift is Billboard’s top-earning artist

Surely the perpetually surprised Taylor Swift isn’t shocked by this one: Billboard has named the 22-year-old pop-country princess the top-earning music act on its “Money Makers” list, outgrossing U2, Kenny Chesney, Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne. Swift’s songs about high school and heartbreak didn’t just net her an armful of awards — they also helped her earn a cool $35 million.


View Photo Gallery: Country music’s sweetheart rocked the Verizon Center on Tuesday, the first night of a two-show stop in the nation’s capital.

Swift was a big earner in 2011, thanks to her album “Speak Now,” and accompanying tour. Altogether, she earned $35,719, 902, about $3 million more than the next-highest grossing artist, U2. Billboard breaks down the numbers:

Grossing $88.5 million in the U.S. alone, the tour netted Swift a remarkable $29.8 million. Honored as Billboard's Woman of the Year in December, she racked up U.S. album sales of 1.8 million units last year-led by booming business for late 2010's Speak Now, which sold 967,000 units and digital single track sales of 7.8 million. Songwriting royalties were another highly beneficial source of income, given that Swift wrote all 14 Speak Now tunes herself.

Other top artists from this year wound up farther down the list. Adele, who swept the Grammy Awards, comes in at number 10, despite having to cancel her tour because of her injured vocal cords, with $13 million. Kanye West, who famously interrupted Swift at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, was number 39 on the list of 40, earning $5 million.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.

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