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Taylor Swift made $39,699,575 this year. That nearly-$40 million bankroll is good enough to put her on top of Billboard's 2014 Money Makers list, and it wasn't really close (sorry Kenny Chesney). The reason she made so much money last year? One word: Swifties.  

It's Swift's die-hard, spend-their-parents-savings-just-to-catch-a-glimpse fans that put her on the top of Billboard's list. 

You see, Swift didn't even drop an album this year; Red came out in 2012. And according to Billboard, Swift ranked only eighth in physical album sales, and sixth in digital downloads. No, it wasn't moving records that made Swift $40 million last year. Rather, it was her tour in support of those records. Her six-month Red Tour pulled in roughly $30 million – three quarters of her total haul. 

It's no secret that tours are the backbone of a lucrative music career, but for Swift especially so. Though the Red Tour included some ticket options priced under $50 at her request, most cost much more than that. And when you consider that Swifties are dropping an average of $17 per concert-goer on merchandise, Swift's nationwide sold-out stadium tour is a veritable revenue (big) machine.

Only the most avid of Swift fans are going to shell out that kind of money to see Taylor in concert. It takes a certain level of infatuation to spend upwards of triple digits to experience Swift in-person. And that pricey passion is reserved for the Swiftiest of Swifties.

Swift's concert experience has been described as "a slumber party with 15,000 people where everyone gets to talk about their emotions and just get real as girlfriends." It's a manifestation of everything Swift is to her fans: "it’s built for the superfan who hangs on Taylor’s every word and dreams about hanging out with her."

And that's something Swifties will collectively pay $30 million to do – hang out with Taylor. 

None of them can touch Taylor, but here are the rest of Billboard's top Money Makers:

2. Kenny Chesney, $32,956,240.70

3. Justin Timberlake, $31,463,297.03

4. Bon Jovi, $29,436,801.04

5. The Rolling Stones, $26,225,121.71

6. Beyonce, $24,429,176.86

7. Maroon 5, $22,284,754.07

8. Luke Bryan, $22,142,235.98

9. Pink, $20,072,072.32

10. Fleetwood Mac, $19,123,101.98

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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