If somebody claimed DJs will be earning tens of millions of dollars 20 years ago, people would look at them funny, to say the least. However, the times are changing, and the popularity of electronic music is constantly growing. Most DJs earn money through several avenues including live shows, producing for popular music stars, and album/single sales. Of course, they often have sponsorships and endorsement deals, as well as their own clothing lines. Without further ado, let’s jump in the list of 10 highest-earnings DJs in the world.
10. Deadmau5 – $16 million
Deadmau5 is very well known for the unique attire (mouse-head costume) he wears during his live events. Speaking of which, he earns about a million dollars per show, since he plays mostly high-paying festival gigs. His growing clothing line also accounts for a healthy portion of his income.
9. Skrillex – $16.5 million
Skrillex released his latest album “Recess” in March, which moved just a shy of 50,000 copies in the first week. While it was nowhere near as successful as his 2010 album “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” it definitely continued to boost his popularity and brought new material for his live shows, which account for most of his earnings.
8. Kaskade – $17 million
Kaskade continues to work hard, even after many years in the game. He recently released his tenth album, which got him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album. During last 12 months he played over 120 live shows, including more than 30 shows in United States’ EDM capital – Las Vegas.
7. Zedd – $21 million
Once a protégé of Skrillex, and now a world-famous DJ who is actually out-earning his mentor. His nightly fee jumped from about $20,000 in 2013 to low six figures this year. Zedd’s popularity was greatly fueled by his production for pop stars such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. Of course, he released his own album as well, which spawned a very successful (platinum) single.
6. Afrojack – $22 million
This Dutch DJ and producer finally released his debut studio album “Forget The World” in May of 2014. He was offered a lucrative deal at the Wynn in Las Vegas, but refused the offer only to get an even better deal at Hakkasan. Boosting his earnings are also the endorsement deal from companies like Nike and G-Star RAW. Oh yeah, he has his own clothing line as well.
5. Steve Aoki – $23 million
Steve is one of the hardest-working DJs in the world, and among the hardest-wokring musicians overall. To put things in perspective – he performed at 277 shows during the last year. Performing three shows per day isn’t something Aoki’s unfamiliar with. Other than music, Steve Aoki also has endorsement deals with companies like Bud Light, Guitar Center and Sol Republic.
4. Tiesto – $28 million
Tiesto is a successful DJ for a very long time, and he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Lately he switched his focus from Europe to the United States (Ibiza to Las Vegas, to be precise). Currently he has a very lucrative residency in the world-famous Hakkasan club. For the second year in a row he managed to perform over 100 shows, this time netting him nearly $30 million.
3. Avicii – $28 million
The young DJ from Sweden released his debut album this year, which fueled his popularity and made 2014 his most successful year yet. The album featured his extremely popular single “Wake Me Up,” which is the first EDM (electronic) song to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S. Of course, he makes a lot of money thanks to live shows, which net him six figures per pop.
2. David Guetta – $30 million
Although electronic music is growing in popularity in certain parts of the United States (Las Vegas primarily), Guetta continues to maintain his lucrative residency in Ibiza. During last 12 months, David Guetta also toured with Rihanna, as well as produced for several pop stars including Britney Spears and Lady Gaga.
1. Calvin Harris – $66 million
What a road has Calvin Harris traveled. From a broke grocery store stocker, to one of the most recognizable names in the EDM industry. Not only did he become famous, but he managed to score a title of the world’s highest-earning DJ in just a few years. Thanks to 125 live shows, multi-year deal with Las Vegas’ Hakkasan club, as well as producing gigs for stars like Rihanna and Kesha, Harris managed to bring in $66 million in 2016.