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For the first time since tying the knot in 2008, Jay-Z earned more than Beyoncé. The Brooklyn-born rapper raked in $37 million over the past 12 months, edging his superstar wife by $2 million, according to FORBES’ latest estimates for the annual Celeb 100 package.

Jay-Z continues to reap the rewards of his 10-year, $150 million multiple rights deal with concert promoter Live Nation; he brings in additional cash from endorsements and ownership stakes in a range of companies including ad firm Translation and nightspot 40/40 Club. Jay-Z also profited from memoir Decoded, which debuted in November (my business-focused biography, Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner To Corner Office, followed four months later).

Both Jay-Z and Beyoncé saw a dip in earnings this year—the pair took home $63 million and $87 million in 2010, respectively—largely because both are between album cycles. But Jay-Z is close to releasing a long-anticipated collaboration album, Watch the Throne, with Kanye West. Beyoncé’s fourth solo effort, 4, is on the way, too. The simple title was reportedly selected by her fans and is also a nod to her April 4 wedding anniversary with Jay-Z.

Touring is a crucial source of income for most artists, and neither member of music’s royal couple did much of it this year. While Jay-Z grossed $32 million on 32 shows over the past 12 months, he pulled in $65 million on twice as many shows over the prior year, while Beyoncé grossed $86 million on 93 dates during the same period (and didn’t tour at all over the past year). Expect the pair to hit the road again once they release their new albums.


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