Indie Music

Who Are The World’s Highest Paid DJs?

Normal_fanart_50As electronic dance music (EDM) continues its reign of prominence in today’s music landscape, some of the scene’s most recognizable names are generating some serious cash. Considering that these DJs are performing on the world’s biggest stages, festival circuits, and even landing on the cover of magazines like Rolling Stone, it’s no surprise that they are among the world’s top bread earners in today’s music/entertainment industry.

According to a list compiled by Forbes, the world’s ten highest-paid DJs raked in $125 million over the past year. That’s more than the payroll of the Los Angeles Lakers. Topping the list was Tiesto with $22 million (and an average nightly gross of $250,000). Coming behind him was Skrillex with $15 million, followed by Swedish House Mafia with roughly $14 million.

While plenty of these top DJs receive their income from various avenues including music sales, endorsements and merchandise, the song remains the same in the sense that the bulk of their income stems from touring. A key difference, however, is that when these guys aren’t bringing along some sort of elaborate stage setup, their stage costs are often relatively minimal – being that all they really need is their laptop(s), a USB stick, and a set of Pioneer CDJs.

So just who is bringing in the most dough (and how much)? 

EDM’s highest-paid DJs are:

  1. Tiesto @ $22 million
  2. Skrillex @ $15 million
  3. Swedish House Mafia @ $14 million
  4. David Guetta @ $13.5 million
  5. Steve Aoki @ $12 million
  6. Deadmau5 @ $11.5 million
  7. DJ Pauly D @ $11 million
  8. Kaskade @ $10 million
  9. Afrojack @ $9 million
  10. Avicii @ $7 million

Source: Forbes

The global EDM industry is now worth an estimated $4 billion a year when recorded music, live and broadcast activity and other spin off products are taken into account. EDM was also the highest growing mainstream genre in the U.S. last year in terms of album sales according to the latest IMS business report.

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. Who gives a fuck. Djs are all a bunch of talentless cunts. And all the musicians laugh at you. Haha.

  2. this list is clearly not based on talent but on promotion and their booking agent. if it was about good music than i would not have turned down the offer to sing on 3 of these dj’s tax in the last year as they all sounded WHORable . i prefer my small following of dancers with good taste in music and no desire to pump their fist as their only dance move in a sea of people making a human smooth wave making it impossible to dance. these are djs perhaps for the “dance dance revolution” more power to them and their publicists- history always separates the cream from the crop and these dj’s are not only overpaid- but promote mediocracy and cliche. -lady Miss Kier

  3. You’re an idiot and obviously know nothing about DJing/producing. Talentless cunts?? Let me tell you, I play: bass, guitar, drums and played in many bands for over 10 years. I also DJ and am learning to produce dance music and dance musicians are just as much if not more of musicians than any other(especially pop one who don’t even write their own music) I am now learning to produce and I can say it is much much easier to write a rock song that produce a dance track. ALL musicians don’t “laugh at you” real musicians like myself see the musical genius that some of these producers are. They create new sounds out of a sine wave, its amazing, and then arrange them in a way to make a great song. Often there are as many as 100 parts going on, unlike the simple: guitar, bass, drum kit of a traditional band. I LAUGH and uninformed idiots like you who give REAL musicians like myself and these artists a bad name.

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