OFFSTAGE: Country’s Biggest Money Makers

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Now that tax season is almost upon us, there’s really no better time to analyze the haves and the have-nots. And I will start by saying, Nashville has a lot of haves. This week’s Billboard magazine has a story about the top money makers in the music business, and while Lady Gaga tops the list with her staggering $30 million in U.S. earnings in 2010, country stars fared very well, as well. Taylor Swift made a little over $20 million last year, $10 million of which came from her tour. That put her at No. 6 on this list. Next up, at No. 12, is the hard-working Brad Paisley, who made close to $14 million. Then Carrie Underwood at No. 13 with her income of $13,501,387. How they get to a number so precise is beyond me. Here are few more of our country faves who made the list:

Tim McGraw pulled in roughly $13.5 million.

Rascal Flatts had about $12 million in income.

Toby Keith made almost $10 million.

Lady Antebellum made just over $9 million.

Brooks & Dunn did $8.6 million.

George Strait and Reba McEntire each made a little more than $7 million.

And Sugarland had an income of $4,478,705. Does the IRS Form 1040 even have the space for that many digits?

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.