Taylor Swift vs. Kylie Jenner: ‘You Need to Calm Down’ Singer Beats ‘KUWTK’ Star to Become 2019’s Highest-Paid Celeb

Kylie Jenner may be the youngest self-made billionaire ever (though some people dispute that title), but she wasn’t the top-earning celebrity in 2019. Though the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner climbed a spot in Forbes’s annual celebrity earnings rankings compared to 2018, it wasn’t enough for her to claim the top spot, which went to singer Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift earned $185 million in the past year 

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

It’s been a big year for Taylor Swift, who is coming off a major stadium tour and just released a new hit single, “You Need to Calm Down,” from her upcoming album Lover, due out August 23. She also recently moved from her old label, Big Machine Records, to Universal’s Republic Records. 

Swift’s Reputation tour brought in $266.1 million in the U.S., making it the highest-grossing tour ever, according to Billboard. A deal with Netflix that brought the tour into fans’ living room likely netted her millions. Endorsement deals added to her income, and the shift to Universal Music Group might be worth as much as $200 million.

All-told, the 29-year-old earned an estimated $185 million in the past 12 months, an increase of 131% from 2018.  

This isn’t the first time Swift has topped Forbes’s list of highest-earning stars. In 2016, she nabbed the top spot with earnings of $170 million. 

Kylie Jenner earned $170 million in the last year 

Makeup mogul Kylie Jenner earned $170 million last year, according to Forbes, making her the second-highest-paid celeb of the year. In 2018, she was in the No. 3 spot, with earnings of $166.5 million. 

Jenner — who founded her Kylie Cosmetics line in 2015 — is worth an estimated $1 billion, according to Forbes. She owns 100% of her company, which sold $360 million worth of her signature lip kits in 2018. The 21-year-old is No. 2,057 on the magazine’s billionaires list, a ranking that does not include Swift. 

Kanye West is the No. 3 on the celebrity earnings list 

Jenner isn’t the only member of her family to make the list of Forbes’s highest-earning celebrities. Her brother-in-law Kanye West clocks in at No. 3, with earnings of $150 million last year. Jenner’s sister and West’s wife Kim Kardashian-West is No. 26, with earnings of $72 million. 

West might have become famous for his music, but he made his way onto this year’s list because of his Yeezy sneaker line with Adidas, which is expected to do $1.5 billion in sales in 2019. West receives a 15% royalty on the wholesale price of the shoes, plus a marketing fee, according to Forbes. He also owns the Yeezy brand outright. 

2019’s other top-earning stars 

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Swift, Jenner, and West might be earning nine figures annually, but they’re not the only celebrities who enjoyed huge paydays in the last year. Forbes ranked the top 100 stars with the highest earnings, with the lowest-earning person on the list, singer Celine Dion, still making a hefty $37.5 million. The other top-earning stars of 2019 include: 

  • No. 4: Lionel Messi, $127 million
  • No. 5: Ed Sheeran, $110 million
  • No. 6: Cristiano Ronaldo, $109 million
  • No. 7: Neymar, $105 million
  • No. 8: The Eagles, $100 million 
  • No. 9: Dr. Phil McGraw, $95 million
  • No. 10: Canelo Alvarez, $94 million 

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