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 agent fees or the expenses related to being a celebrity. We did not include athletes on this year’s list, although they are included in the Celebrity 100.
Description: 1. Taylor Swift
Pay: $57 million
Swift benefitted from a huge tour this year, grossing over $1 million per night on more than 65 dates. She continues to cash in on her 2010 album Speak Now, which has now sold over 5 million copies worldwide; she picked up two Grammys for her song “Mean.” The young singer-songwriter also earns big as one of the faces of CoverGirl. Her fourth album is due this fall.
Description: 2. Justin Bieber
Pay: $55 million
The Canadian crooner has sold over 12 million albums since his 2009 debut and boasts 21 million Twitter followers, second only to Lady Gaga. With 750 million views, his breakout ballad “Baby” is the most-watched video in YouTube history; his 43 million Facebook fans are more than Mitt Romney and Barack Obama’s followers combined. If that’s not enough, he’s also becoming a venture capitalist, amassing stakes in startups including Enflick, Tinychat and Spotify.
Description: 3. Rihanna
Pay: $53 million
The Barbados-born diva lands on our list for the first time thanks to hits including “We Found Love” and “Talk That Talk,” as well as endorsements with the likes of Vita Coco and Nivea. Her fragrance, Reb’l Fleur, adds millions more to her coffers, as does her heavy touring schedule that included over 85 shows in the past 12 months. With over 53 million Facebook fans, she’s second only to Eminem.
Description: 4. Lady Gaga
Pay: $52 million
Last year’s top celeb on our Celebrity 100 slides from No.1 on our list due to a lack of touring, but stays near the top because of her tremendous social media influence. With over 24 million followers, she’s the world’s most popular Twitter user; her 50 million Facebook fans are more than any other celebrity aside from Eminem and Rihanna. Thanks to multiple older hits as well as her latest album, Born This Way, the singer-songwriter still makes plenty of money off of music sales.
Description: 5. Katy Perry
Pay: $45 million
Quick, who are the only two musicians in history to have five No. 1 singles from the same album? Michael Jackson and Katy Perry. The latter accomplished that feat with 2010 smash Teenage Dream, which continues to garner considerable airplay, and dollars, for the “Firework” singer. Her California Dreams Tour grossed nearly $60 million. Perry also got plenty of attention from the media for her personal life this year. She split from comedian husband Russell Brand in December.
Description: 6. Adele
Pay: $35 million
The big-voiced Brit has sold over 23 million copies of her smash album 21, even more amazing in an era when selling 500,000 copies is a strong showing. With hits like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumor Has It,” the singer-songwriter continues to reap the rewards of heavy airplay and digital downloads. She won all six Grammy awards for which she was nominated, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year
Description: 7. Kristen Stewart
Pay: $34.5 million
At the young age of 22 Stewart earned more than any other actress between May 2011 and May 2012. Most of that money came from Twilight where Stewart stars as Bella Swan. But she also earned big buck for starring in Snow White and the Huntsman. The press loves writing about Stewart. Her relationship with Twilight costar Robert Pattinson is a constant source of tabloid interest.
Description: 8. Lil Wayne
Pay: $27 million
The diminutive rhymester had his most lucrative year yet, thanks in part to new album Carter IV, which sold nearly 1 million copies in its opening week last summer. But the bulk of his earnings came from playing over 50 shows in the past 12 months, grossing upwards of $600,000 per night. Expect Lil Wayne to keep getting bigger; he also launched a clothing line, Trukfit, and inked his first big endorsement deal, a multimillion dollar pact with Pepsi’s Mountain Dew.
Description: 9. Taylor Lautner
Pay: $26.5 million
Team Jacob wins this year as Lautner lands on our Celebrity 100 List but his Twilight costar, Robert Pattinson, sliped off. Both earned the same amount of money in the last 12 months so how did Lautner beat Pattinson? Fame. Lautner simply got more attention in the press and from fans this year. The young star now needs to work on his post-Twilight career. His 2011 film Abduction earned only $82 million at the box office.
Description: 10. Robert Pattinson
Pay: $26.5 million
With the Twilight series coming to an end this fall, Pattinson needs to prove that he can do something beyond Edward. So far, he hasn’t had much luck. Films like Remember Me and Water for Elephants have fizzled at the box office and his latest, Bel Ami, opened in only 8 theaters earlier this month.