Material girl Madonna makes £80m in 2013

She may have a few miles under her belt (and pointy bra), but veteran hoofer Madonna is still top of the pops when it comes to raking in the dosh.

by Andrew Saunders
Last Updated: 27 Aug 2013
Madonna Louise Ciccone - to give her her full name - took home no less than £80m ($125m) in the last year, according to the latest list from US magazine Forbes. That’s the combined income from her MDNA world tour (which grossed $305m), clothing and perfume ranges, plus investments. And presumably some pin money from a few hits she apparently had back in the day.

That makes the 55 year old easily the highest earning celebrity in the world, comfortably outdistancing second placed film director Steven Spielberg, who despite a hit movie - biopic Lincoln - could ‘only’ manage $100m income in 2013. Most of that was thanks to his impressive back catalogue, including ET, and the Jurassic Park franchise which has been give the 3D treatment for its 20th anniversary.

Third place - £61m apiece - was an unlikely-sounding tie between Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James, pop impresario and TV producer Simon Cowell, and US radio Shock Jock Howard Stern. Now that’s a trio MT wouldn’t want to be stuck in a lift with. (Although if we were, we might emerge with a quarter-share in a new TV show).

Others featuring in the top 10 include Thriller writer James Patterson (£58.5m) and Top Gun and CSI producer Jerry Bruckheimer (£51.4m).  Lady Gaga, Madonna’s generation Y alter ego, also managed a respectable £51.4m. Not bad given that she has nothing like the back-catalogue earnings of most of the others in the top 10.

In fact going by this list, reports of the death of the music, film and publishing industries appear to be exaggerated. There seems to be no shortage of big earners in these ‘ailing’ sectors, for all the talk of crushing disintermediation at the hands of the interweb in recent years.

But perhaps the impact of all that technology is felt more in the middle ground than right at the top of the pile - it’s interesting to note that most of the top 10 are those whose careers started back when the big studios still ruled the roost and the Worldwide Web was but a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.

Nor were any records broken this year - the honours for the highest earnings ever recorded for one year went to TV host Oprah Winfrey. She pulled down no less than $165m (£104m)last year, but her earnings dived this year to only $77m (£48.6m). Better luck next time, Oprah.

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