Forbes recently announced that Calvin Harris is easily yet again the highest paid DJ for the fourth consecutive year pulling in a cool $63 million, which is $25 million more than Tiësto who holds the #2 spot. Harris’ $3 million dip from the previous year may be due to a rough year of ending his high profile relationship with Taylor Swift and car accident. Harris gets paid more than $400,000 for his gigs in Vegas, and he told Forbes several years ago, “I want to be the number one songwriter-producer guy of all time.”
Tiësto’s $38 million paycheck is due to his estimated seven figure deal with 7-Up and playing more than 100 gigs in the past 12 months. David Guetta earned $10 million less than Tiësto holding the #3 spot at $28 million thanks to scoring the theme song for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament and his steady gig at Wynn’s Las Vegas.
This year is the first year since Forbes began tracking DJ pay in 2012 that numbers have gone down year over year. “The bubble has already burst in America,” says Steve Aoki (No. 5, $23.5 million), who played 198 times in the past year. “You can see it in Vegas’ DJ landscape.” Some of the most successful DJs on the list branched out in genres other than EDM. Skrillex (No. 7, $20 million), collaborated with Justin Bieber on 5 tracks on Bieber’s comeback album ‘Purpose’. And Avicii (No. 12, $14.5 million) is expected to retire from performing EDM altogether at the end of this summer. But there are bright spots even with the bubble burst. Newcomers Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (No. 10, $15.5 million) scored multiple six-figure festival paydays, debuting on the list in between veterans Afrojack (No. 11, $15 million) and Martin Garrix (No. 9, $16 million).
Forbes estimated earnings from outside business ventures, recorded music, endorsements, merchandise, and live shows. The figures are gross income that is calculated from June 2015 to June of this year with information from the DJs themselves, managers, promoters, RIAA, Pollstar, Bandsintown, Songkick, and Nielsen. The accuracy of the numbers depends on who you ask. Kaskade (No. 8, $19 million) says, “On my side, they’re always a bit under. Which I don’t mind and that’s fine, that’s cool. I’ve always been a sneak attack guy anyway.”
Checkout Forbes’ highest earnings DJs of 2016 video below!