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Women dominate the upper reaches of Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid musicians of 2016. Four of the top five places are occupied by women, with Taylor Swift topping the list. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the magazine estimates she earned $170m, largely from her 1989 world tour.

She earned $60m more than second-placed One Direction, who were followed by AdeleMadonna and Rihanna.

What’s noticeable is how many of the biggest acts generated the bulk of their revenue from live performance. Garth Brooks, in sixth place, began his first tour in 13 years in September 2014, and has been on the road ever since, plating multiple arena shows in scores of US cities, and sometimes playing two shows per night, and taking only Christmas and August off. His tour is scheduled to continue until February 2017.

Garth Brooks plays on TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live on 15 November.
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 Garth Brooks plays on TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live on 15 November. Photograph: Randy Holmes/Getty Images

AC/DC, in seventh place, completed their Rock or Bust world tour earlier this year, and despite a number of fans demanding – and getting – refunds when singer Brian Johnson had to pull out, still earned $67.5m. The presence of Axl Rose as Johnson’s replacement doubtless helped sell some of those returned tickets.

Adele is unusual in the list, in that the bulk of her earnings came from recorded music. Her most recent album 25, released in November 2015, broke sales records on both sides of the Atlantic, and was the bestselling album of 2015.

Ninth-place Calvin Harris combined popularity as a recording and touring artist with the colossal fees he earns as a resident DJ at the Las Vegas nightspot Hakkasan. His three-year deal earns him a reported $400,000 per appearance.

Forbes calculates its figures using information from Pollstar, which tracks tour revenues, Nielsen, which measures music sales, and the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as interviews with those involved in the inner workings of business.

Calvin Harris performs at the T in the Park festival in Perthshire, Scotland, in July.

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