Taylor Swift Dethrones Lady Gaga as the Highest-Paid Celeb Under 30

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Taylor Swift performing on stage in Auckland, New Zealand on March 18, 2012.

America’s most congenial country star has stolen the crown from Mother Monster. Taylor Swift reigns supreme as this year’s highest-paid star under the age of 30. Having pulled in $57 million in the past 12 months, she coolly ousted Lady Gaga on Forbes magazine’s annual list. Their Highest-Paid Celebrities Under 30 list, that jealousy-inducing index, allows us commoners to gaze upon the good fortunes of those telegenic household superstars that face the same issues as any other 20-something — except they’re far richer.

Taylor Swift, who chronicles time spent with her cat and discusses the tribulations of home ownership, managed to bring in $57 million between May 2011 and May 2012 thanks to a sold-out world tour, a still-successful album and a number of endorsement deals. That estimate, though, includes a clause saying the figure doesn’t take into account things like agent fees, but we can’t imagine that put too large a dent into her sum.

(MORE: Taylor Swift – The 2010 TIME 100)

Not quite as rich as Swift but still pocketing big bucks is current Believe chart-topper and teen idol Justin Bieber, who clocks in as the runner-up with $55 million in earnings. Rihanna shows as the bronze-medal winner with $53 million, edging out last year’s title-holder Lady Gaga who took in $52 million in the past year, down from $90 million in 2011. And Katy Perry follows at number five with a not-so-paltry $45 million.

ForbesDorothy Pomerantz notes that, aside from Bieber, it’s a female-led list this year. And they’re overwhelmingly music stars. That’s quite a departure from last year’s list, which counted four sports stars in the top 10, among them LeBron James and Lionel Messi. This year, top six highest-paid celebs under 30 are all pop-music veterans — sure, some have branched out to multi-platform success with spin-off movies, clothing lines, and even perfumes — but truly, their music identities are the key to their overall brands.

Perhaps Hollywood should take a hint. The first non-musical celeb peaks at number seven on this year’s list: Kristen Stewart, Twilight‘s Bella Swan, who earned $34.5 million this year mostly from the lucrative vampire franchise. Not surprisingly, Stewart was recently named this year’s highest-paid actress in Hollywood by the same data-crunching magazine. The full highest-paid celeb list, including the two other Twilight stars who reached the top ten, can be found here.

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