2014 World’s Top 10 DJs

Coming to us thanks to Approach Mag, is an article about the top earners in the EDM world. They are

  1. Calvin Harris $66m
  2. David Guetta $30m
  3. Avicii $28m
  4. Tiesto $28m
  5. Steve Aoki $23m
  6. Afrojack $22m
  7. Zedd $21m
  8. Kaskade $17m
  9. Skrillex $16.5m (and 5 Grammy nominations)
  10. Deadmau5 $16m

[Source: Approach Mag, Forbes]

The data was published by Forbes, who sourced it from:

earnings from live shows, merchandise sales, endorsements, recorded music sales and external business ventures. Earnings totals were calculated for the 12-month period from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014. Sources include Songkick, Pollstar, RIAA, managers, lawyers and some of the people at the heart of the EDM revolution.

Calvin Harris outsold Jay-Z last year:

Scotsman Calvin Harris seems quite at home in the desert

Scotsman Calvin Harris seems quite at home in the desert

When Calvin Harris topped last year’s Electronic Cash Kings list with a stunning $46 million in annual earnings, it seemed symptomatic of a bubble in the burgeoning EDM scene. But since then, the only thing that has popped is the income of the world’s highest-paid DJs.

…Harris, whose total surged to $66 million for the past 12 months, is once again EDM’s Cash King. The top ten earners on our list racked up a staggering $268 million this year, 11% more than the $241 million haul of last year’s top ten. Playing more than 50 festival and nightclub gigs, Harris even out-earned the likes of Toby Keith and Jay Z – but not Beyonce.

That’s an average of $1.3 million per gig for young mister Harris, who is the first artist to ever reach one billion online streams. He just bought a $15 million mansion in Beverly Hills, 18,000 square feet with 11 bathrooms.

Who wants to go to Calvin Harris' pool party? The world. Image: Daily Record

Who wants to go to Calvin Harris’ pool party? The world. Image: Daily Record

Superstar DJs are choosing Nevada over Ibiza:

Guetta commands some of the top fees in Las Vegas but stays true to his European roots, maintaining a weekly residency in Ibiza. That’s increasingly uncommon, as DJs have been choosing the greener pastures of Nevada over the Mediterranean music Mecca.

“I’ve been going there for the last 10 years, it felt there was nothing special,” said third-ranked Tiësto last year, shortly after ditching his Ibiza residency. “And then I got the offer to play in Las Vegas … They made me a great proposal, not just the money but also what they’re going to do there, the biggest club in the world.”

That club, Hakkasan, is responsible for a large chunk of Tiësto’s recent earnings

Some famous Burning Man DJs made the Forbes list, but not the Top 10 like Skrillex:

Swedish House Mafia, which scored $25 million last year in its swan song as a group, are now earning more than they did together in 2013: Steve Angello alone pulled in $12 million, good for No. 12 on this year’s list.

“It’s just grown gigantically because it’s such a great business,” he says of electronic music. “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.”

daft punk trash fenceAngello’s former colleagues Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell are among this year’s near misses. Both of them earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million, as did DJ Pauly D, Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, and Daft Punk. The latter came within a disc’s breadth of making the list thanks to album Random Access Memories, and certainly would have made it if they’d played even a handful of live gigs.

Nice work if you can get it.

8 comments on “2014 World’s Top 10 DJs

  1. For anyone to say that the “new” DJ’s are talentless are really blowing it out of their a$$’s. You really have no clue how the music is made. The hours of work spent producing prior to a show to be able to do it longer because people feel jipped otherwise. It takes a lot out of you. You just can not jump behind there and press play… Quite delusional to think you can just get up there and do the same thing. I do not know how many people ask me to teach them how to dj.. It takes talent first off besides true passion. Good for them!!! Stop hating! Maybe thats why you’re not up there making millions. Negative thoughts reflect yourself…. Ciao!

    • That is a nice nice start, now keep going, you will convince yourself, sooner or later, just give it time. As I said below, PT Barnum would be proud of these guys figuring out a new way play the crowd and make a buck.

  2. I’ve never heard of Calvin Harris, but that doesn’t mean much as I’m not much of an arena EDM fan (I hate it, in fact).

    As for DJs being a thing, it absolutely takes a certain talent to cobble together an identifiable sound and to manage a 3 hour set, with all its ups and downs and drops, as well as reading the crowd. If it was so easy, you’d be doing it right now because who wouldn’t want that kind of money? It’s like someone looking at a Jackson Pollack and saying, “My kid could do that.” The answer to that is, of course, “But he didn’t.”

    • Calvin Harris is a producer. He makes hits. There are more engaging DJs to see live. It would be great to see him at Burning Man playing the latest white labels, instead of at his job in Vegas cranking out the #1 hits, which are what he gets the big bucks for. It’s $100 a ticket to see him at Hakkasan, where he just signed a 3-year residency. Probably $1000 minimum for a table. Girls get in for half price.


      Kudos to him for elevating the DJ above “rock star” to more like A-List Hollywood actor (in terms of earning potential).

  3. That little faggot, he’s a millionaire…

    But seriously, how is being a DJ even a thing? A guy stands in a booth with headphones and does the white-man’s overbite and people jacked up on E and C download his mixes on Sunday to get over the hangover? How is this even a thing?

    • But seriously, how is being a DJ even a thing?
      Good question, It is beyond me man. If someone had told me that this was the plan to make a millions 10 years ago I would not have believed. I would have asked “Where is the talent?” It used to be that to make this kind money as a “performer” one had to actually perform.

      From what I have read these goofs have their sounds (the constant oomf oomf is not really “songs”)(and rap is certainly not “music”) pre-loaded in to an ipod and they arrive on stage, push play, wave their arms around and act like they are spinning or something. Maybe they have a back up ipod or two in case someone wants something special.

      The king has no clothes on! He is naked! It is sham!
      At least change the name, because “DJ” is not the proper term for what they do.

      But I guess I should add…
      Good for them for figuring out a new way to “PT Barnum” the public out its money, Phineas Taylor would be proud and he is was alive today he would have (at least claimed to) made 67 million last year doing this scam.

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