Naked or Clothed?-HOw the Nice Girls of Pop Sell Better Than The Bad Girls

By on January 17, 2015

As this week’s naked soap suds snap proved, Miley Cyrus knows how to set tongues wagging – but can the Wrecking Ball singer translate controversy into cash?

When it comes to earnings, business clout and social media cachet, clean-cut singers like Taylor Swift, Lorde and playful Katy Perry are outperforming their raunchier counterparts, Miley, Rihanna and Anaconda rapper Nicki Minaj.

The six stars may be the most talked-about women in pop for their hits, headlines and red-carpet clothes but now we’ve crunched the numbers to finally show whether sex really does sell.

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Miley Cyrus wearing one of her favoured high-cut leotards on stage, this one printed with dollar bills

The only skin you'll see of perpetually covered-up singer Taylor Swift's is that of her long legs, beneath a nigh-necked Sixties-style dress or smart tailored shorts

Miley Cyrus’s body baring numbers are a world away from Taylor Swift’s cute two piece


These ladies are not afraid to flash the flesh. From daring stage outfits to posting nudes to Instagram, we have all seen their naked bodies several times.

This week alone has seen Miley Cyrus, 22, post controversial bath pictures from her shoot with V magazine, followed today by a snap of a woman’s hand inside her denim shorts with the caption, ‘a masturbate a day keeps the haters away’.

Her bottom-grinding dance routine at the MTV Awards gave us the word ‘twerk’ and her recent tour featured crotch-grabbing and deliberately contentious outfits printed with money and marijuana leaves.

Yet while the former child star has a massive 19 million Twitter followers, only 1.5 million people bought her last album, Bangerz, suggesting they’d rather be shocked and entertained by her selfies than pay for her music.

Rude Boy singer Rihanna, 26, has been more successful at converting her sexy antics into career success.

Her nipple-baring behaviour got her booted from Instagram last year, while her stripper-inspired Pour It Up video was banned on YouTube before she boldly walked the red carpet at a high fashion event in a sheer dress that was entirely transparent.


Miley Cyrus posted this picture from a recent V Magazine shoot in which save a few soap bubbles she was entirely naked

In 2013, Miley Cyrus shocked when she appeared to light a joint on stage at the MTV awards in Amsterdam

Miley shared a picture from a saucy V Magazine shoot this week, left, and in 2013 shocked fans and fellow music industry lovies alike, right, when she appeared to light a joint on stage in Amsterdam

Instagram followers: 14.4 million

Album sales: Miley’s last album Bangerz, which included hit song Wrecking Ball, sold 1.5 million copies

Tour sales: Miley’s Bangerz tour which followed the release of her album made £15.8million

Net worth: £98million

Risque behaviour: Miley brought twerking into the mainstream, she is known for her provocative photoshoots and flesh-flashing Instagram posts.

She swung naked on a wrecking ball for the video for her hit single of the same name and most recently she went full frontal for a shoot for V magazine, not quite managing to preserve her modesty with just some bath bubbles.

But for Miley, getting naked is just part of her artistic process. She said: ‘I’m very confident being naked. I feel that stripping off is a way of expressing purity of emotion.’

However with 39 million followers on Twitter and 14 million on Instagram, it’s surprising that her last album Unapologetic sold only 1.13 million copies.

Yet for this Barbados-born singer, who started her career as Jay Z’s sweet R’n’B protegee, that edge of danger keeps fans coming to her shows, keen to see what she’ll do next and she grossed a massive £94.4million for her eight-month, 96-show Diamonds world tour.

Nicki Minaj, 32, is both the oldest member of the group and the newcomer to their pop pantheon.

Since her breakout album Pink Friday in 2010, the rapper’s style, moves and lyrics have become positively indecent, peaking with last year’s Anaconda video, a vision of gyrating backsides that was so explicit many viewers described it as pornographic.

Yet despite the graphic content of her lyrics, images and her own propensity to show off her own capacious bottom in tiny thongs, Nicki’s new album The Pink Project has sold just 370,000 since its release last month.

With 18.7 million Twitter followers, the New York singer may have a significant digital following but as the most X-rated of the bad girl group she has the smallest net worth at £32million.

It’s clear that showing skin, talking about sex and suggestive moves are tried-and-tested attention-grabbing techniques but without the talent, mystique and vocals to back it up, music’s sauciest singers might need to rethink their sales strategy.


Rihanna, 26, does her best to shock like wearing this completely see-through, spangled dress at the high fashion CDFA Awards in New York in 2014

Rihanna left nothing to the imagination in her transparent sparkly dress. She wore matching gloves but left her bra at home at the CDFA Awards in New York in 2014.

Rihanna, 26, wore this see-through dress at the high fashion CDFA Awards in New York in 2014

Twitter followers: 39.1 million

Instagram followers: 14 million

Album sales: Rihanna’s last album Unapologetic sold 1.13million copies

Tour sales: The Diamonds world tour was hugely popular grossing over £94.4million

Net worth: £78million

Risque behaviour: Rihanna was booted off Instagram last year for baring a little too much of her breasts but she soon opened a new account called @badgalriri.

In 2013, her Pour It Up video, which saw her dancing around a stripper pole in next to no clothing, was initially banned from YouTube.

And even when she’s not working, she’s still showing off her body posting bikini pictures to her social media accounts.


Nicki Minaj sports a revealing top during her after show at Club 79 in Paris in September

Nicki Minaj sports a revealing top during her after show at Club 79 in Paris in September

Twitter followers: 18.7 million

Instagram followers: 14 million

Album sales: Nicki’s last album The Pink Project didn’t sell as well as expected shifting just 370,000 copies

Tour sales: The Pink Friday tour grossed £3.5million

Net worth: £32million

Risque behaviour: When Nicki released her video for Anaconda last year, in which she showcased her oiled-up curves, she revealed that some of the footage had been so steamy it had to be cut.

And admitting she was drunk during filming, she said in a Twitter chat: ‘The kitchen scene got real explicit cldnt use the footage [sic].’

But being scandalous is just part of the job description for Nicki who recently wore nothing but a pair of tin foil stars to cover her nipples during one performance.


When it comes to pop, the likes of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry have been showing for years that you don’t have to take your clothes off to be successful.

Close relationships with their fans, donations to charity and friendships with fellow singers have made them massively popular with children, teenagers – and their mothers.

Taylor, 25, is the patron saint of clean-cut stars and the former country singer’s career just keeps getting stronger.

Her new album 1989 sold 1.3million copies in its first week and she never flashes anything more than her legs – beneath a pair of well-tailored shorts or a high-necked Sixties-style dress.

And her stats speak for themselves. With 50 million Twitter followers and a net worth of £131million, Taylor has proved you can reach the top without being controversial.


Covered-up Taylor Swift is never inappropriately dressed but outsells her raunchier counterparts

Covered-up Taylor Swift is never inappropriately dressed but outsells her raunchier counterparts

Twitter followers: 50.6 million

Instagram followers: 18.8 million

Album sales: Taylor’s last album 1989 has sold over 4.1 million copies to date

Tour sales: Taylor’s last complete tour, The Red Tour, grossed £98.6 million

Net worth: £131million

Good deeds: Could Taylor Swift be the nicest person in pop? She recently sent a super-fan a care package including a painting, a necklace and a cheque for $1,989 (£1,308) to help towards her college tuition fees.

Previously she gave another fan – who spotted Taylor on her birthday – $90 (£59) to take her friends out for lunch. In April 2014 even showed up to one of her fans bridal showers, simply because she invited her.

Plus Taylor supports numerous charities from donating $100,000 (£65,793) to cancer research to fronting a campaign for global literacy.

Taylor once said of her descision to stay covered up in her videos: ‘I’m sure there will be things that my grandkids make fun of me for no matter what, but I’d really rather it be, “Look how awkward your dancing was in the Shake It Off video! You look so weird, Grandma!” rather than “Grandma, is that your nipple?”‘

Her new best friend Lorde, 18, the New Zealand wunderkind behind the hit Royals, is bringing androgyny back on to the red carpet with her love of tuxedos, shirts and ties – all jazzed up with an empowering slick of red lipstick.

Entrusted with curating the Hunger Games soundtrack, Lorde – whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor – explained her covered-up style.

‘I have nothing against anyone getting naked. For me personally I just don’t think it really would complement my music in any way or help me tell a story any better.’

Katy Perry, 30, the oldest of this gang, has ventured into saucier territory with her hit I Kissed A Girl and her cream-squirting bra from her California Gurls video, but these days the singer goes for playful over provocative.


Katy attends a red carpet event in Sydney dressed in a jewelled two-piece

Playfulness is Katy Perry's hallmark, displayed her with a sheer gown printed in musical notes

When Katy attends red carpet events she can often be seen rocking a demure look

Twitter followers: 63.4 million

Instagram followers: 12.9 million

Album sales: Katy’s last album Prism sold over 1.5 million copies

Tour sales: Katy’s last complete tour, The California Dreams Tour, grossed over £40million

Net worth: £85million

Good deeds: She may have kissed a girl and liked it but Katy Perry is still super sweet at heart.

In 2012 the former Christian rock singer, performed her hit single Firework with a young autistic fan named Jodi DiPiazza on Comedy Central’s Night Of Too Many Stars.

Katy is also a good will ambassador for UNICEF in particular working with young people.

In a 2013 radio interview she outlined how she wants to be an inspiration for young girls.

She said: ‘Like females in pop – everybody’s getting naked. I mean, I’ve been naked before but I don’t feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed.’

She added: ‘I’m not talking about anyone in particular. I’m talking about all of them. I mean, it’s like everybody’s so naked. It’s like put it away. We know you’ve got it. I got it too.’

She has said: ‘Yeah, I’ve done my fair share of “naked on a cotton candy cloud” situation, but everything is with a wink.

And Katy – famous for brightly-coloured hair and cartoony outfits – added: ‘I want to keep the attention on my music. I have confidence in my songs, that’s where I need most of the focus.’

And while they may not have the Instagram status of their edgy counterparts, when it comes to making money, Taylor, Lorde and Katy share a combined worth of £214million compared with Miley, Rihanna and Nicky’s total of £208million.

Covering up also relates to better record sales with the nice girls averaging nearly five million more sales between them.

It seems that in the current music industry, nice girls don’t always finish last.


Lorde, here at the Hunger Games premiere, proudly covers up letting her songs do the talking for her

Lorde, here at the Hunger Games premiere, proudly covers up letting her songs do the talking for her

Twitter followers: 2.92 million

Instagram followers: 2.2 million

Album sales: Lorde’s album Pure Heroine sold over 1.5 million copies

Tour sales: Although the figure of Lorde’s The North Tour have not been released it was undoubtedly a huge success. The set of gigs which saw a then 16-year-old Lorde travel around North America sold out long before the tour had even begun.

Net worth: £1.13million

Good deeds: Lorde is well-known for looking out for her friends, including fellow good girl Taylor Swift. One Taylor’s 25th birthday Lorde wrote her a gushing letter thanking her for helping her in life, love and her career.

Lorde sweetly said of her best friend: ‘I feel so lucky being part of this amazing circle of girls who are there for each other, dancing without inhibition, laughing for hours, and killing it at work, and we’re pretty much all here ’cause of her.’

She is also incredibly grateful for her fans support and once re-tweeted a sweet video of a fan named ‘Amanda’ getting Lorde tickets saying that it made her, ‘teary’.

Source: Dailymail UK


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