Britney Spears Sets Mark for Longest Span of No. 1s on Billboard Mainstream Top 40
Britney Spears Sets Mark for Longest Span of No. 1s on Billboard Mainstream Top 40

Britney Spears, 31 years young and re-established as a household name after a few tumultuous years, has been named Forbes' highest-paid woman in music of the past year, earning $58 million.

Spears' platinum-selling album Femme Fatale and its accompanying tour were the main sources behind the pop star's stratospheric ledger, with a fragrance deal and assorted endorsements rounding out the figures.

Close behind was Taylor Swift, who earned her $57 million in much the same way as Spears: with a huge record. Speak Now, Swift's quadruple-platinum-certified album from 2010 generated $1 million per night on a tour which set sail through North America in early 2011.

Rounding out the top three is Rihanna at $53 million, whose endorsement deals with Vita Coco and Nivea as well as the enduring hit "Diamonds" contributed to her still-storming success.

Two surprises crop up: the sultry chanteuse Sade's placement ahead of Madonna at #8 (the Queen of Pop hadn't yet embarked on her worldwide MDNA tour, something likely to boost her standing next year). As well, Adele's relatively modest placement at #7 on the list, despite her historic, ten-times-platinum certified album 21.

Jennifer Lopez's classification as a "Personality" precluded her inclusion in the women in music list, whose earnings of $52 million would have tied her with Lady Gaga at #4.

The Forbes list measures gross income from all sources, not adjusted for managements fees or taxes (and so is not representative of the bottom line of a particular star's bank account) between May 2011 to May 2012. Forbes' date range doesn't include Spears' lucrative contract with "The X Factor" (reportedly for $15 million), nor a particularly high-profile year for Rihanna.
Here's the full list:

1. Britney Spears ($58 million)
2. Taylor Swift ($57 million)
3. Rihanna ($53 million)
4. Lady Gaga ($52 million)
5. Katy Perry ($45 million)
6. Beyoncé ($40 million)
7. Adele ($35 million)
8. Sade ($33 million)
9. Madonna ($30 million)
10. Shakira ($20 million)