By Dorothy Pomerantz, Forbes
Glass ceilings still abound but in the music industry a group of young women are busting it down. Forbes has compiled a list of the Highest-Paid Stars Under 30 and it shows that now is a good time to be a young female pop artist.
Women dominate our list this year led by Taylor Swift. We estimate that between May 2011 and May 2012, Swift earned $57 million. Each of the 22-year-old singer's three albums have gone platinum at least 4 times, an impressive feat in these days of waning music sales.
Then there are Swift's concerts which bring in an average $1 million per night and her endorsement work for products like CoverGirl makeup.
Another young woman who is making a killing in music is Rihanna. The Barbados-born singer earned an estimated $53 million between May 2011 and May 2012 ranking her in third place on the Highest-Paid Stars Under 30 list. Her earnings this year got a big boost from her 85-night tour and her 2011 hit album Talk That Talk which has gone gold in the U.S. and launched hits like "We Found Love."
Like Swift, Rihanna also earns from endorsements. She happily promotes Vita Coco coconut water and Nivea lotion.
To determine who the highest-paid celebrities under 30 are, we considered album and concert sales, movie paydays, profit participation, endorsements and advertising work. We talked to managers, agents, lawyers and other in-the-know folks to come up with our estimates. We did not deduct for things like agent fees or the expenses related to being a celebrity.
The highest-ranking man on our Highest-Paid Stars Under 30 list isn't even old enough to drink. Just 18 years old, Justin Bieber comes in second place close behind Swift with $55 million in earnings. Bieber earns big from his music sales, concerts and endorsements for products like Proactiv but The Bieb is also a budding venture capitalist. He's made investments in start-up companies like Enflick, Tinychat and Spotify.
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Bieber is the only male in the top five on our list. Ranking fourth is Lady Gaga who at 26 earned $52 million between May 2011 and May 2012. That's a big drop from the $90 million she earned to top our under-30 list last year. That's because our time frame ended before the singer embarked on her latest world tour which is selling out shows in Eastern Europe. Expect the pop princess to earn more next year.
Rounding out the top 5 is Katy Perry. The singer earned an estimated $45 million this year. At the young age of 27 she is now a divorced millionaire. Her heartache helped power some of her new hits including "Part of Me" which has gone platinum in the U.S. Perry's popularity didn't help her recent concert film at the box office. Katy Perry: Part of Me earned only $7 million opening weekend.