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Katy Perry tops Forbes’ list of highest paid female musicians with $135M

Anyone who says you can’t make money in music these days obviously hasn’t checked in with Katy Perry lately. The pop star ranked at the top of Forbes’ annual list of highest paid women in music, pulling in an astonishing $135 million in the past year.

That number gives Perry a $53 million advantage over her rival and number two on the list, Taylor Swift, who earned a still-respectable $80 million in the first year of her 1989 album frenzy. Forbes expects the tables may turn next year, as Swift is currently earning an incredible $4 million per show on her 1989 stadium tour, but for now Perry is the reigning monarch.

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“I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company,” Perry said to Forbes in an interview this past summer. “I’m an entrepreneur… I don’t want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”

Perry accomplished her high-earnings with almost non-stop touring in the past year, grossing just shy of $2 million dollars per night over the course of the 126 shows of her Prismatic World Tour. But, as one might expect, music was just one slice of Perry’s million dollar pie. She also earned money through major endorsement deals inked with Coty, Claire’s, and Covergirl. It’s a big leap in earnings for the singer, who came in 5th on last year’s list, with $40 million of income.

This year’s top five are rounded out by Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie’s classic rock supergroup Fleetwood Mac — a surprising addition considering that there are three men in the five piece band — who earned $59.5 million, followed by Lady Gaga ($59 million), and Beyonce ($54.5 million), who topped last year’s list.

Though the entertainment world is plagued by one of the most dramatic male/female pay gaps of any industry, that isn’t that case in music this year, according to Forbes. “This year the top most high-earning ladies in the industry boast earnings competitive with their male counterparts,” the company wrote in their introduction to this list, “as FORBES will reveal with its overall list of the highest-paid musicians in December.”

We’ll have to wait a month to find out the total breakdown in dollars and cents, but with male star Dr. Dre standing no chance of earning last year’s all time high of $620 million (he can’t sell Beats By Dre twice, after all), there’s a good shot Perry might compete for the top spot.

The female stars’ earnings were approximated using Nielsen and Pollstar date, along with RIAA reports, and interviews with agents, managers, and some of the musicians themselves.