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Billboard names Taylor Swift big money maker of 2012

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Singer Taylor Swift arrives at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards show in Las Vegas
Singer Taylor Swift arrives at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards show in Las Vegas

By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country singer Taylor Swift, 22, was named Billboard Magazine's biggest money maker on Friday, beating powerhouses U2, Lady Gaga and Adele to top the list with earnings of more than $35 million in 2011.

The "Love Story" singer pocketed more cash from her album sales and world tour in 2011 than Irish rockers U2, country music veteran Kenny Chesney, pop star Lady Gaga, and rapper Lil Wayne, who rounded out the top five on Billboard's annual list of 40 of music's biggest money makers.

The list was compiled by the music magazine's editors using data from Boxscore archives of U.S. concert gross figures, Nielsen SoundScan data for album and single sales on physical and digital platforms, and Nielsen BDS data on musical airplay on radio, downloads and online streaming sites such as Spotify.

Sade, rockers Bon Jovi, Canadian singer Celine Dion, country singer Jason Aldean and current pop music darling Adele rounded out the top 10, with earnings ranging from $32 million to $13 million.

Swift, a native of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, kicked off her career as a teenager with a self-titled album that included her first single "Tim McGraw," and has since built a strong musical career. The singer won critics and fans with her raw, honest lyrics and themes of teenage love and life.

Her breakthrough 2008 album, "Fearless," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and 11 tracks entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, led by "Love Story."

Now 22, Swift sold more than 1.8 million copies of her albums in the U.S. in 2011, led by 2010's "Speak Now," which sold 967,000 copies. The singer also has dominated digital singles charts, selling 7.8 million digital tracks last year.

The country songstress paired her "Speak Now" album with a worldwide tour of 89 shows in 2011, grossing $88.5 million in the U.S. alone, and making a profit of $29.8 million.

Swift has also become a branding powerhouse, with her own management company and lucrative contracts with companies such as Covergirl. She also launched her own perfume, Wonderstruck.

She has a following of more than 29 million fans on Facebook and 11 million fans on Twitter, and was one of only a handful of artists to enter Billboard magazine's first music industry power chart earlier this year, coming in at No. 78.

Swift continues her "Speak Now" world tour this year, and will feature in the soundtrack for the upcoming film "The Hunger Games," providing the film's lead single, "Safe and Sound."

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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