Unless you have been living under a very sound proof rock, you’d have noticed the increasing popularity of all forms of electronic dance music. House, techno, dub-step, drum and bass may just sound like words to some people, but to the world’s top DJs and producers, this industry is one lucrative cash cow. Thanks to business bible <i>Forbes</i> we now know just how lucrative electronic music has become, with the magazine chronicling the world’s highest earning DJs… assuming they are not dodging a bit of tax here and there.
Although the Forbes list catalogues the highest earners in the past year, electronic music has been making people filthy rich for some time now, with Celebrity Net Worth publishing figures of the accumulated wealth of the world's top DJs and producers. Including Moby, who has maintained a constant presence in the electronic music scene despite not strictly fitting the title of DJ or Producer; but his contribution to electronic music has seen him play sets at some of the biggest dance music festivals in the world. While his music is also sampled by some of the biggest and best. In doing so, Moby sits in the top tiers of the revenue bracket, bagging himself a net worth of around $US 28million. That’s more than enough for some Rogaine.
Another name that is synonymous with the electronic music scene is the legendary tastemaker Carl Cox. Cox boasts a residency at the world famous Space Ibiza, as well as hosting his own arena at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, where he endorses the likes of Afrojack, Armin Van Buren and Dubfire. For all his efforts, Cox is worth an estimated $US15million and has earned the respect of the EDM community worldwide.
It’s hard to think of electronic dance music without thinking of the two Frenchman who seem to have the ability to make everyone want to discover their groove. Daft Punk have been on the scene for longer than most and are still managing to affirm their position as some of the biggest earners in the game. How much do these two robots from the future hold to their name one might ask? Only a measly $US 30million… Each.
Some of the older names still manage to make their way into the list of electronic music’s filthy rich, including big beat pioneer Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim, who is comfortably worth an estimated $US 22million; ensuring he lives up to his name - by maintaining a very, very fat wallet that is.
Although he can’t hold a bar to fellow Dutchman Tiësto in the hard cash stakes, Armin Van Buren possesses around $US 40million, which means the pair are doing their best to ensure Holland continues to avoid that European debt crisis.
#10 on the Forbes highest earning DJs list and carrying the flag for Sweden following the breakup of Swedish House Mafia is Avicii, who’s 2011 smash single ‘Levels’ saw him rise to the top tiers of the electronic music spectrum and netted him $US 7million in the process. Since then Avicii has made plenty of friends in high places, and even helped Madonna launch a new single, as she crashed his set in the most cringe-worthy fashion at Ultra Music Festival earlier this year.
#9 on the Forbes highest earning DJs list and originally endorsed by megastars of the like of David Guetta and Carl Cox, Afrojack has enjoyed a steady rise into the top tiers of the electronic music scene and was even lucky enough to date Paris Hilton (a 'credible' DJ in her own right). The Dutch star accumulated $US9 million last year, by no means a minor sum but still peasant status in comparison to his hotel heiress girlfriend.
#8 on the Forbes highest earning DJs list, and alongside Deadmau5 in the American Progressive revival, is DJ Kaskade; who worked his way into the top 10 earners with his bass-line minimal style that saw a commercial resurgence in the United States in 2009. Kaskade (real name Ryan Raddon) earned $US10 million last year, making him the 8th highest earning DJ of the year.
Up until now, the Forbes high-rolling DJs list was not particularly surprising, featuring the most prominent names in the EDM scene. Enter DJ Pauly D, one of the stars of reality TV cringe-fest Jersey Shore, Pauly D used his television profile to launch a lucrative DJ career that afforded him $US11 million last year - with which he will hopefully purchase a frontal lobotomy.
#6 on the Forbes highets earning DJs list and by far the most opinionated man in electronic music, Deadmau5, is also one of the highest paid and for anyone who’s ever seen his twitter feed, somewhat outspoken. Deadmau5 earned himself $US 11.5million last year, almost all of which has certainly gone towards purchasing a more extensive assortment of flashing mouse heads. The earnings are understandable when considering the producer can charge up to $US100,000 dollars per appearance.
#5 on the Forbes highest earning DJs list is Steve Aoki. If Skrillex is the man who accumulates the most hate in the electronic music scene, Steve Aoki would have to be number two. Notorious for his raucous live shows, Aoki played over 200 performances last year alone, and in doing so netted himself a sizable $US 12million for his efforts. Aoki also managed to milk as many freebees out of his touring as possible, with a rider that includes champagne, cakes, marijuana, jeans, underpants, organic food and even an inflatable boat.
It may come as a shock that French producer David Guetta failed to crack the top three big earners coming in at #4 on the Forbes: highest earning DJs list, considering his prolific role in electronic music, particularly as he seems to be responsible for countless pop-music collaborations. Whatever it is Guetta is doing to house music, it’s certainly paying the bills, as he raked in $US 13.5million last year, good news for the shaky French economy and its high tax rates.
Third on the Forbes list are DJ trio Swedish House Mafia, who announced this year that they will be concluding their collective career after a few final dates including a residency at the notorious Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel. Regardless of what the three Swedes plan on pursuing after they wrap up performing at the end of the year, a safe bet might be retiring in their respective mansions, polishing their luxury cars, having earned a collective $US 14million last year alone!
Nobody in the music industry seems to polarise fans quite like Sonny Moore aka Skrillex. The dub-step producer, armed with nothing but a laptop and a pair of headphones, managed to net himself around $US 15million last year, receiving equal portions of critical acclaim and worldwide hate. Maybe it’s the distinctive haircut, but now Skrillex haters have another excuse to hurl some abuse, the guy is absolutely loaded.
Topping the list of highest earning DJs is none another than Tiësto. Anyone who knows anything about electronic music has heard his name. Arguably the most popular Disc Jockey in the world, the 43-year-old Dutch dance artist is also the richest. Forbes estimates he earned a whopping $US22 million in 2011 and, according to Celebrity Net Worth, the high-flying Dutchman has an accumulated $US 65million in wealth. Able to charge up to $US 250,000 for a single set - that’s right, more than most of us earn in a year.