Taylor Swift was 2011's Top Earning Music Maker

The young country star beat out the likes of Lady Gaga, U2, and Rihanna.

At only 22 years old, Taylor Swift has become a money-making musical juggernaut.

Swift earned just over $35 million in 2011, putting her firmly atop Billboard's annual list of the Top 40 Money Makers in music. The country star beat out ageless touring machine U2 (second place, with just over $32 million), fellow country star Kenny Chesney (third place, with $29 million), pop star Lady Gaga ($25 million) and rapper Li'l Wayne ($23 million).

There is a lesson for aspiring musicians to be learned from Swift's ascent, and that is to hit the road and work on your songwriting as much as you do your voice.

Swift's 2011 tour snagged her $29 million, and the fact that she wrote all 14 songs on her quadruple-platinum-selling album "Speak Now" (and therefore earns songwriter royalties) explains how she earned the #1 spot.

Rounding out the top ten are Bon Jovi ($19 million), Sade ($16 million), Celine Dion ($14 million), Jason Aldean ($13 million), and Adele ($13 million).

Selected Reading: MSNBC, Billboard, MTV

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