But watch out for Robbie Williams next year...

MADONNAis the highest earning pop star in the UK, according to the latest list of the country’s 500 wealthiest individuals compiled by the SUNDAY TIMES newspaper.

The American star, who qualified for the list last year after becoming a UK resident, tops the list with earnings of £36 million in the last year to September 30, almost half of which is estimated to have come from a deal with Microsoft to use her ’Ray Of Light’ single, according to Reuters. She is the only woman in the music Top Ten, and ranks at number 15 in the overall list of the country’s 500 biggest earners.

In the list of pop stars, she beats Sir Paul McCartney, who sits at Number Two with an income of £34 million last year. He is £10 million ahead of Sir Mick Jagger in third place, who had a £24 million pay packet.

Robbie Williams was a new entry into the Top Ten, which is dominated by rock dinosaurs, listed equal-tenth alongside Ronnie Wood, with earnings of £10 million. But Williams is expected to shoot to the higher reaches of the chart next year because of the recent £80 million deal signed with EMI, which just missed the cut-off period for the 2002 list.

Pop svengali Simon Fuller, the man responsible for the ‘Popstars’ phenomenon and former manager of the Spice Girls scooped £30 million last year from his TV efforts, placing him at 19 in the top 500.

The top ten highest earning musicians are:

1. Madonna (£36 million)

2. Sir Paul McCartney (£35 million)

3. Sir Mick Jagger (£24.5 million)

4. Keith Richards (£24 million)

5. Sting (£21.8 million)

6. Eric Clapton (£14.2 million)

7. Rod Stewart (£12 million)

8. Charlie Watts (£12 million)

9. Pete Townshend (£10 million)

=10. Robbie Williams (£10 million)/Ronnie Wood (£10 million)