Top 10 Best Paid DJs In The World
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Top 10 Best Paid DJs In The World

Top 10 Best Paid DJs In The World

It’s evident that modern day spinning equals minting tons of cash for the best-paid DJs on the planet. In the most recent list released in August 2014 by Forbes magazine, the top 10 best paid DJs grossed combined earnings of over $268 million in 2014, up from $241 million in the previous year. Impressive is the fact that the top 10 DJs bag such enormous hauls primarily by playing other people’s music. Most of their earnings come from live shows, endorsements, other non-music ventures, sales from recorded music, and merchandise sales. Read further to discover which DJs are currently reigning in the top 10 list of best earners, and how much they made in the 12-month Forbes scoring period (June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014)

10.Deadmau5 ($16 million)


He performs with a mouse-head costume on, but his comics do not come in the way of his outstanding performance. He didn’t even play a tenth of the amount of shows done by other higher-ranking DJs on the list, but still made a whopping $16 million in the 12-month scoring period. Most of his earnings came from performing in lucrative gigs that paid him up to $500,000 per night. He also has a successful merchandise business that contributes handsomely to his overall earnings.

9.Skrillex ($16.5 million)


Skrillex was out-earned by his protégé, Zedd (7th on the list), but earned a decent figure of $16.5 million in 2014. March 2014 saw the six-time Grammy winner release his latest album, Recess. In the first week following the Album’s release, he sold 48,000 copies. The Album did not perform as good as his 2010 hit, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, but his electrifying live shows did well to compensate in 2014. He also earned big by landing films such as Wreck-It Ralph, and has his own label, OWSLA.

8.Kaskade ($17 million)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 27:  DJ Kaskade performs at Staples Center on July 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)

Earning $17 million last year, Ryan Raddon, popularly known as Kaskade, released his tenth album named Atmosphere in 2013. It also earned him a nomination in the Grammy awards for Best Dance/Electronica Album. He is also a proud father of three who in addition to fulfilling his parenting roles, played over 120 shows within the 12-month period, which included 30 gigs in Las Vegas. He is quite visible on twitter and occasionally lashes out at his former record label and the EDM culture.

7.Zedd ($21 million)


The irony of this spot is that it was earned by 24-year-old Zedd, who out-earned his mentor, Skrillex (9th on the list) in the 12-month scoring period. A huge chunk of Zedd’s $17 million in earnings came from a gigantic leap in his nightly DJ fee, which rose from $20,000 to a six-figure sum, in 2014. His instrumental role in producing pop stars such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber also contributed to his immense earnings. He also launched his album, Clarity¸ whose singe (of the same name) rose to Platinum.

6.Afrojack ($22 million)

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 07:  DJ Afrojack performs during the "Unmasking" grand opening of Mizumi Restaurant at Wynn Las Vegas on June 7, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Mizumi)

Also known as Afrojack, Nick van de Wall made $22 million last year, and also released his long-awaited debut album, Forget The World, in May 2014. Afrojack, despite telling Forbes the he had declined lucrative offers from Las Vegas and decided to stick in Wynn, later jumped at a residency offering at Hakkasan. Afrojack played over 150 shows within the scoring period. He also reaped massive pay cheques from the Nike and G-Star Raw endorsements, where he owns a clothing collection.

5.Steve Aoki ($23 million)


If there’s one DJ who has rightfully earned his spot on the list, it’s Steve Aoki. In the 12-month scoring period, Steve played over 277 shows. That’s twice as many shows as Calvin Harris played. Steve sometimes played three shows in one day. Aoki claims to have mastered the art of power napping and he only has to sleep for 2-3 hours between gigs. His endorsements with Bud Light, Guitar Center, and Scion, also boosted his overall earnings. He also made money from his minority shareholding at Sol Republic, a leading headphone company.

4.Tiësto ($28 million)

Tiesto performs during 20th Rock Oz'Arenes Avenches  Switzerland-31/07/2011/Credit:JOFFET EMMANUEL/SIPA/1108020847 (Newscom TagID: sipaphotosthree249373.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

The 46-year-old Dutch veteran lost his number two spot to Guetta, but still made a decent figure in 2014 by bagging $28 million. His success in the 12-month-period may be attributed to that fact he switched camp from Ibiza to Las Vegas, where he is enjoying performing at the Hakkasan megaclub for his residency. In the same period, he played over 100 shows. This year could amount to much more if he continues shining in Las Vegas.

3.Avicii ($28 million)


He tied at position three with Tiësto, both earning a decent $28 million. Don’t be quick to dismiss Avicii because he didn’t earn half as much as the pack’s leader, Harris. Avicii is making his millions at only 24 years of age. That’s almost half as young as Tiësto, who is 46. The Swedish DJ’s career has been on a steady rise and 2014 was his best year after his album, True, became a huge success. “Wake Me Up” was one of the songs that propelled Avicii to greatness, ultimately earning him the third spot in the list of top earners. The song moved a staggering 4 million units in the United States.

2.David Guetta ($30 million)

1401x788-David Guetta - 3 - credit Ellen Von Unwerth [web]

Even though the other European on the list, David Guetta, jumped over Tiësto to claim the second spot by earning $30 million, he (David) still made slightly below half of what Harris earned within the same 12-month period. The former Paris club manager earned much of his $30 million by touring with Rihanna and featuring in some of Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears’ tracks, from their latest albums. He is still loyal to his European roots by maintaining his Ibiza residency, despite performing most of his gigs in Las Vegas. In March 2015, Guetta divorced his wife of 22 years, but his record of accomplishment hasn’t suffered a single blow.

1.Calvin Harris ($66 million)

calvin harris

He was top of the list in 2013, and stuck there in 2014. Calvin Harris played in more than 125 shows to earn himself $66 million and the first position in the Forbes list of 10 best paid DJs. Who would have thought that the former grocery store stocker would be the highest paid DJ in the world? His earning actually increased by over $20 million within 12 months. A lot of his success comes from his deep roots in the pop culture, and the fact that he works with world famous pop stars such as Rihanna and Kesha. The artists have helped Calving land some high profile electronic dance music (EDM) gigs, and other non-EDM ones such as Coachella. Currently, Harris works and performs at the Hakkasan nightclub in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of a long-term residency deal.

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