Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Avicii: Who is the World’s Highest Paid DJ?
By Scott T. Sterling
Fact: superstar DJs make a lot of money.
For the world’s most popular DJs, those massive piles of cash are just getting bigger, with the third annual Forbes’ list of the “Electronic Cash Kings” revealing that the scene’s biggest stars are raking in even more money than they did last year.
Last year’s No. 1 DJ, Calvin Harris, is still sitting pretty atop the list, generating a bank-breaking $66 million, a full $20 million more than he pulled in 2013. That’s more than double the dough earned by the No. 2 DJ, David Guetta, who’s no slouch in the financial portfolio department with $30 million.
Despite having to deal with a serious illness and two high-profile concerts marred by dozens of attendees being rushed to the hospital with drug and alcohol related illnesses, Avicii still managed to generate $28 million to land in the No. 3 position, which he shares with Tiesto, who had his own physical maladies to manage after bashing his head open at a show in San Jose, CA.
Rounding out the top 5 is cake master general Steve Aoki, who crowd-surfed his way to a cool $23 million, thanks to radio hits like “Delirious” featuring rapper Kid Ink endorsement deals with Bud Light and Guitar Center.
The rest of the Top 10 is populated by more of the biggest names in the EDM game, including Afrojack (No. 6, $22 million), Zedd (No. 7, $21 million), Kaskade (No. 8, $17 million), Skrillex (No. 9, $16.5 million) and Deadmau5 (No. 10, $16 million).
The world’s No. 1 DJ (according to DJ Mag, anyway), Hardwell, cruised to the No. 11 position with $13 million, while Armin Van Buuren and former Swedish House Mafia member, Steve Angello, share the No. 12 slot with $12 million.
“It’s just grown gigantically because it’s such a great business,” Steve Angello told Forbes of the still-booming global market for EDM. “And it’s a great business model because you have all these kids that want to go to all these events, and that’s a great way of making a business stand very fast.”