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Reuters, Published December 12 2012

Spears, Swift are top-earning women in music

NEW YORK - Pop star Britney Spears edged past Taylor Swift to claim the title of top-earning woman in music after bringing in an estimated $58 million from her album, endorsements and a perfume in the past year, Forbes said on Wednesday.

Country-pop singer Swift, 22, came in a close second with an estimated $57 million paycheck thanks to her tour, which made more than $1 million each night, a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, her own line of fragrances and her new album “Red.”

R&B star Rihanna, 24, earned an estimated $53 million paycheck to put her at No. 3, two places up since last year, followed by Lady Gaga, 26, who slipped from No. 1 in 2011 to fourth place with $52 million.

Despite their huge incomes, only eight of the top women music earners were among the 25 best-paid musicians, which Forbes attributes in part to career breaks to have children.

Forbes compiled the list after estimating pre-tax income based on record sales, touring information merchandise sales and interviews with concert promoters, lawyers and managers.