News Column

Taylor Swift's Earnings Stall but Her Power Grows

July 8, 2011

John J. Moser, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.

Taylor Swift's income stalled at $45 million in the past 12 months, but her Web presence and social media rank make her the seventh-most powerful person in all of entertainment, Forbes magazine says.

Swift vaulted five positions from her No. 12 ranking on last year's Forbes' Top 100 Celebrity list, putting her ahead of luminaries such as Simon Cowell, Donald Trump and Paul McCartney.

She ranks behind only superstars such as Lady Gaga -- who this year took over the top position from Oprah Winfrey, now No. 2 -- Justin Bieber, U2, Elton John and Tiger Woods.

"Whether you consider her music country, pop or both, there's no question that Swift is a moneymaking machine," Forbes wrote. "Her new album 'Speak Now' was certified triple-platinum barely a month after its October release. Touring brings gross ticket sales of some $750,000 per night."

Winfrey again was the top celebrity earner, pulling in $290 million (down from $315 million last year). But the Forbes list isn't just about money. Rather, the list -- which includes film and television actors, TV personalities, models, athletes, authors, musicians and comedians -- "is a measure of power based on money and fame," Forbes says, also based on exposure in print, television, radio and online.

Lady Gaga, who made her debut on the list last year at No. 4, earned $90 million, ranking eighth, but was No. 1 in both Web presence and social media. Oprah, by comparison, was 13th in both Web presence and social media.

Swift, a 21-year-old native of Wyomissing, ranked No. 33 in money, but No. 6 in both Web presence and social media.

Swift vaulted from a rank of No. 69 three years ago to 12th last year, when she had the third-ranked presence on social media and eighth on the Web and TV.

Swift ranked as the No. 3 female behind Lady Gaga and Winfrey and was fifth among musicians, with Winfrey and golfer Woods the only non-musician among the Top 8.

Swift's $45 million income ranked her only No. 13 among musicians, with U2 earning $195 million, New Jersey's Bon Jovi $125 million and Elton John, who days ago canceled a planned concert at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., earned $100 million.

Among music earners, Swift was the second-highest-ranking woman, just head of Katy Perry, who earned $44 million.

Swift wasn't even the top country music earner (Toby Keith was ahead of her at No. 11 with $50 million) and was just ahead of Brad Paisley, who earned $0 million.

Swift starts a four-concert stand at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on July 19 and plays at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 6. All the shows are sold out.

Doylestown native Pink, born Alecia Moore, who ranked as the No. 27 most powerful celebrity last year in her debut on the Forbes chart -- when she made $44 million, just a million less than Swift -- didn't make the list this year.

Source: Copyright (c) 2011, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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