Monday, 29 December 2014


The World’s Highest-Paid DJs 2014

Calvin HarrisNo. 1: Calvin Harris $66 million
Born Adam Richard Wiles, the former grocery store stocker earned $66 million in our scoring period, playing more than 125 gigs. He’s found great success in the pop world, working with the likes of Rihanna and Kesha, which has helped him land headline gigs not only at EDM-focused events but also at festivals like Coachella. Harris continues to play regularly in Las Vegas where he has a multi-year deal at America’s biggest nightclub, Hakkasan.
David Guetta
No. 2: David Guetta $30 million
 The former Parisian club manager commands some of the top fees in Las Vegas but stays true to his European roots, maintaining his weekly F**k Me I’m Famous residency in Ibiza. In the past 12 months, he’s spent time on tour with Rihanna and has penned songs for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga on their latest albums. In March, he divorced Cathy Guetta, his wife of 22 years and long-time business partner.
Untitled
No. 3 (TIE): Avicii $28 million
Just 24 years old, the Swedish DJ notched the best year of his career on the strength of his debut album True. The record included “Wake Me Up,” which became the first electronic song ever to move more than 4 million units in the United States. He continues to clean up on the road, taking home six-figure sums every time he spins at a club, which he did 80 times during our scoring period alone.
Tiesto
No. 3 (TIE): Tiesto $28 million
In recent years, the veteran Dutch DJ has shifted his focus from Ibiza to Las Vegas, where he now has a massively lucrative residency with megaclub Hakkasan. Playing over 100 shows yet another year in a row, Tiesto has pulled in $60 million over the past 24 months, a total topped only by Calvin Harris.
Steve Aoki
No. 5: Steve Aoki $23 million
For the first time, Aoki cracks the top five after playing 277 shows in our scoring period. He sometimes plays three shows in a day, and his schedule had almost double the amount of shows of anyone on our list (Aoki tells FORBES he’s mastered the art of the power nap, sleeping in two or three hour bursts while traveling between gigs). He’s also boosted by endorsements with Bud Light, Guitar Center and Scion, and holds a minority stake in headphone company Sol Republic.
Afrojack
No. 6: Afrojack $22 million
Nick van de Wall, better known as Afrojack, released his long-anticipated first studio album Forget The World in May. After telling FORBES he turned down higher offers in Las Vegas to stay at the Wynn, he quickly bolted for a residency at Hakkasan. Afrojack played nearly 150 shows in our scoring period; earnings include endorsements from Nike and G-Star RAW, where he has his own clothing collection.
ZeddFestival-Ultra-2013No. 7: Zedd $21 million
The 24-year-old protégé of Skrillex is now out-earning his mentor, thanks to a nightly DJ fee that has soared from $20,000 last year into the low six figures. His production for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, as well as his own album, Clarity, which spawned a platinum single of the same name, have fueled Zedd’s rise. (For more, read “Zedd Ahead”).
Kaskade
No. 8: Kaskade $17 million
Born Ryan Raddon, the DJ’s tenth album,Atmosphere, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album. The father of three played more than 120 dates during our scoring period, including about 30 shows in Las Vegas. Outspoken on Twitter, he’s taken to the microblogging service to bash his former record label and critics of EDM culture.
Skrillex
No. 9: Skrillex $16.5 million
In March the six-time Grammy winner released his latest album, Recess, to opening week sales of 48,000. The LP has a long way to go to catch his 2010 smash, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, but he doesn’t need record sales to pad his coffers: Skrillex earns big from live shows, scoring films like Wreck-It Ralph, and from his WSLA label.
Deadmau5
No. 10: Deadmau5 $16 million
The mouse-head costume-wearing DJ barely played one-tenth the amount of shows that some of the higher-ranked names on this list did, but he made them count, playing mostly lucrative festival gigs that can earn him in the neighborhood of half a million dollars for a night’s work. A booming merch business also pads his bottom line.
Hardwell
No. 11: Hardwell $13 million
Voted the No. 1 electronic dance music artist in the world by fans in the annual DJ Magazine Top 100 poll, Hardwell debuts on FORBES’ list of top earners. His debut album expected to come out in the next year. Like fellow Dutch DJs Tiesto and Armin van Buuren, Hardwell operates his own record label, Revealed Recordings, which he founded in 2010. His I Am Hardwell tour comes to the U.S. in the fall and will conclude with a November show at Madison Square Garden. (For more, read “Hardwell Turns Number One Ranking Into Career Year”)
Armin van Buuren
No. 12 (TIE): Armin van Buuren
The Dutch DJ spent a great deal of the last year playing dates in support of his album,Intense, released in May 2013. His tour included dates in 21 cities and featured six-hour performances from the 37-year-old trance king. He cofounded dance label Armada Music in 2003, and still helps run the business; last year, he was nominated for a Grammy for best dance recording for “This Is What It Feels Like.”
Steve Angello
No. 12 (TIE): Steve Angello $12 million
Swedish House Mafia pulled in $25 million last year in its swan song as a group, and now its members are earning even more: Steve Angello alone pulled in $12 million. By himself, he still commands six-figure fees for club gigs; he’ll release a new solo album this fall. Will there be a reunion? “Uh, no,” he says. (For more, read “Witness Protection: Steve Angello’s Life After Swedish House Mafia”).
Near Misses
No. 14 Near Misses
Steve Angello’s former Swedish House Mafia colleagues Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell are among the near misses for this year’s EDM cash kings list. Joining them: DJ Pauly D, Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, and Daft Punk. The latter came within a disc’s breadth of making the list thanks to new album Random Access Memories, and certainly would have—if they’d played even a handful of live gigs.
Methodology
No. 15 Methodology
Our estimates for the Electronic Cash Kings list include earnings from live shows, merchandise sales, endorsements, recorded music sales and external business ventures. Sources include Songkick, Pollstar, RIAA, managers, promoters, lawyers and some of the artists themselves. Earnings totals were calculated for the 12-month period from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014.

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