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Taylor Swift and country music coin it in US

Country music continues to hold sway in the American heartlands. That’s the conclusion drawn from the list of highest-earning music stars in the USA for 2011. Leading the pile was easy-on-the-eye country singer Taylor Swift who raked in a staggering $35.7 million in record sales and tour revenues.

Next best on the list was the venerable Irish rock group U2 whose gigs and record sales earned them $32.1 million to shunt into their highly-evolved system for paying minimal tax on their earnings.

Surprisingly the highest UK earner on the list was Sade. Somewhat overlooked in the UK, Sade remains immensely popular in the USA, and she was sixth in the US list, comfortably ahead of better-known names like Elton John, Madonna or Paul McCartney. A tour and a greatest hits album brought in $16.4 million, around $3 million more than the Grammy-grabbing Adele.

Maura Johnston, the music critic of the Village Voice, explained Sade’s success to The Guardian. "Sade has a long-standing appeal to an older demographic in the States and certain strands of radio – people who still have an appetite for sexy love songs."

Sexy love songs may still be enjoying their market share, but judging by the rest of the top 20 the US audience still believes that it don’t mean a thang if it ain’t got that twang. Along with Swift, other top-earning country acts included Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw. Most of them were making well over $10 million apiece in 2011. Yee-haw.

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