Taylor Swift Is The World’s Highest-Paid Celebrity With $185 Million In 2019


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Taylor Swift performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019. Getty Images

Taylor Swift begins the Lover era at No. 1 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, pulling in pretax income of $185 million over the past year, her biggest earnings total yet. Her estimated pay grew 131%, after clocking in at $80 million in 2018 (this year’s full list can be found here).

The pop singer has topped the Celebrity 100 before—in 2016, she captured the No. 1 spot with $170 million, courtesy of The 1989 World Tour. Touring continues to play a crucial role in Swift’s road to the top. The Reputation Stadium Tour surpassed her own 1989 World Tour as the highest-grossing in the U.S., raking in $266.1 million domestically, according to Billboard Boxscore. The 53-stadium trek ultimately reached 36 cities, seven countries and four continents, closing with $345 million overall.

In 2018, Netflix brought the Reputation Stadium Tour to living rooms on New Years Eve, after acquiring the exclusive rights to the tour for a live concert special. The streaming giant’s payout and endorsement deals with Apple, AT&T and Diet Coke added millions to Swift’s coffers.

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Taylor Swift performs at Optus Stadium on October 19, 2018 in Perth, Australia. Getty Images

In November 2018, Swift parted ways with her long-time home, Big Machine Label Group, to join Universal Music Group’s Republic Records, a deal that according to multiple Forbes sources, could be worth up to $200 million. 

Swift’s label swap re-appeared in headlines last week, after the singer penned a Tumblr post advocating for the ownership of her vast music catalog that is still under the control of BMLG. She criticized mega manager Scooter Braun, after learning that his media holdings company, Ithaca Holdings, had acquired BMLG for $300 million. 

Swift alleges that BMLG offered her a chance to earn back her albums piecemeal—one album for every new album she put out—but says she declined with fears that BMLG chief Scott Borchetta would sell the label. Meanwhile, Borchetta wrote in a letter that Swift “had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career.”

Starting with Lover’s planned Aug. 23 release, Swift stated that she’ll retain ownership of “anything” she creates with UMG, which bodes well for her continued inclusion on the Celebrity 100 list.

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