Forbes does the (more legit) World’s Highest-Paid DJs list
Thu 2nd Aug, 2012 News 18180 viewsin
You might remember back in June, a somewhat-dubious website called Celebrity Net Worth published a list of what it called the 30 Richest DJs In The World. With plenty of zeros thrown around and not a great deal of hard evidence, it was an article that called for a dump-truck of salt. U.S. business magazine Forbes, however, has a long history of number-crunching, with its customary lists of the richest Americans, top-earning billionaires and so on. Its motto, after all, is ‘The Capitalist Tool’. Earlier this year, Forbes gave a nod to dance music’s ever-growing Stateside cachet by including Tiesto and Skrillex in its annual The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities list, alongside names like Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and, of course, Larry the Cable Guy.
Now the magazine has published a dedicated list of ‘The World’s Highest-Paid DJs’, or as they also call them, the ‘Electronic Cash Kings’. The sources quoted include Pollstar, RIAA, promoters, managers, lawyers and some of the artists themselves. Alongside lucrative product tie-ins, Forbes writes that EDM’s top-earners do very well out of touring. “Often toting nothing more than a USB stick and a pair of Pioneer CDJs, their production costs are often negligible, unlike rockers and pop stars who typically take home just one-third of gross ticket sales,” the magazine writes.
In the #1 spot is Dutch mega-star Tiesto, who reportedly pulled in an estimated $22 million over the past 12 months. “Whenever I made money I invested in myself,” says the man otherwise known as Tijs Michiel Verwest. “I bought whatever I needed to make my career better. I never really spent money on other stuff, like buying expensive cars.” (As an interesting aside, Tiesto this week skipped over the ‘trance’ word when he told Time Out Hong Kong his sound is drawn from “electro, progressive and house music”.)
Somewhat surprisingly, chart juggernaut David Guetta is ranked behind Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia. You’ll be happy to know that your favourite selector of all, DJ Pauly D, is making a decent living. The list is rounded out by a couple of mainstage-geared DJs who’ve spent the last year touring madly – Avicii and Afrojack. See what you make of the Forbes breakdown below.
UPDATE: The article’s author, Zack O’Malley, has responded to the “where’s Armin van Buuren?” queries, writing that although Armin’s performance fee is high, he doesn’t get around as much as Aoki and co. “He did nowhere near as many gigs as most of the guys on the list,” O’Malley wrote in reply to comments. “Yes, he has a high per-show fee, but quantity is what gets you on here — Pauly D played 132 shows, and the rest were close if not more. Partially owning a label, especially an EDM-based label, doesn’t mean much in terms of annual $. My initial estimate has him closer to $5m.”