Britney Spears

To the casual observer the life of Britney Spears looks like a tram wreck and that’s no doubt true on a personal level. In business terms, however, the troubled singer is at the centre of a thriving economy.


Image by EuPaparazzi via Flickr

Her own earnings, estimated at around $9m a year, are chicken feed next to the earnings she generates for record companies, promoters, perfume makers, the paparazzi and the media. A rough calculation of all these spin-off profits suggests the Britney Industrial Complex is worth around $120m a year to the struggling US economy. One photo agency, X17, estimates that she accounts for 30% of its revenue: the agency sold $2.5m worth of Britney photos in 2007 alone. And in the weeks that America’s celebrity tabloids put her on the cover, they each sell an average of 1.28 million newsstand copies, some 33% more than they sell in normal weeks.

Britney no VMA

No wonder, then, that between January 2006 and July 2007, she graced the front of six such magazines 175 times. Britney is equally ubiquitous on the internet, topping the annual Yahoo search rankings for six of the last seven years.

The 26-year-old’s life may be spiralling out of control, but the Britney economy is doing better than ever.

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