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Taylor Swift was music's top earner in 2013

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Grammys Taylor Swift 01
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Taylor Swift is fantastically popular, a cultural juggernaut whose ubiquity has never seemed to quench the populace’s thirst for more. But as plenty of fame-soaked cautionary tales have taught us, that level of exposure doesn’t always equal financial solvency.

Of course, Swift doesn’t have that problem. At all. According to a list just published by Billboard, Swift was the top-earning musician in 2013, raking in $39,699,575.60 (specific!) based on album sales, touring revenue, publishing fees, and royalties from airplay, digital streaming and downloads.

That does not include any money Swift might have collected from sponsorship deals, corporate gigs, or whatever back end she still may be earning from Valentine’s Day. Also, because Billboard uses a standard methodology for all artists across the board (assuming, for example, a 20 percent artists’ take on album sales), it’s easy to believe that Swift’s intake was even higher, as she most likely has a better royalty rate than your average country-pop megastar. Another thing to note? She gives a lot of it away

Swift took the top spot by a country mile, with Kenny Chesney taking the second spot with an estimated $32,956,240.70, based mostly around the earnings from his No Shoes Nation stadium tour. With two tours and a pair of albums, Justin Timberlake found himself in the third spot, raking in $31,463,297.03.

The rest of the top 10 is below. One thing to take away from this list: Though Timberlake’s $31 million is nothing to sneeze at, he probably could have cobbled together a few movie roles that would have paid out similarly, with a lot less leg work involved. That’s why actors will always have it over musicians: Even if the product is terrible (like, say, Runner Runner), the actors still get paid up front. With musicians, it’s almost entirely back end, which is always a crap shoot, even for the biggest stars.

Which entry on the list surprises you the most? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Taylor Swift, $39,699,575.60
  2. Kenny Chesney, $32,956,240.70
  3. Justin Timberlake, $31,463,297.03
  4. Bon Jovi, $29,436,801.04
  5. The Rolling Stones, $26,225,121.71
  6. Beyonce, $24,429,176.86
  7. Maroon 5, $22,284,754.07
  8. Luke Bryan, $22,142,235.98
  9. Pink, $20,072,072.32
  10. Fleetwood Mac, $19,123,101.98