Forbes’ annual list of the “World’s Highest-Paid DJs” has been revealed for 2018, with some marked changes from the previous year’s rankings. Although money isn’t everything, the list provides a window into seeing where dance music is at currently and how it’s being consumed by EDM fans.
Once again, Calvin Harris tops the list for his sixth consecutive year, pulling in earnings of $48 million — a half million dollar dip since last year, and only $2.5 million higher than The Chainsmokers, who jumped Dutch legend Tiësto for the number two spot. Tiësto’s reported earnings dropped a considerable $6 million, while The Chainsmokers’ total yearly salary jumped from $38 million last year to a reported $45.5 million in 2018.
Skrillex, who raked in $30 million last year for the number four spot, has fallen off the list entirely due to little to no live club/festival appearances. This comes as no surprise since Sonny Moore has been working quietly behind the scenes to produce other artist’s albums in every category from rock and pop to rap/hip-hop.
Coming in fourth on this year’s list, Steve Aoki is laughing all the way to the bank this year with a handsome $28 million. The cake-hurling producer is in the midst of opening his LA-based Pizza shop, Pizzaoki. To round out the top five, Marshmello is sitting comfortably at fifth with a cool $23 million in the bank.
What makes the Forbes list of EDM’s larger-than-life bank rollers so significant, indeed weighty, is how it is indicative of a larger economic trend in dance music. As Forbes explains: “All in all, the top 10’s $260 million haul fell a bit short of last year’s $298 million, partly due to the maturation – and, some would say, plateauing – of the live electronic music market. Other factors, such as Skrillex’s decision to have a quiet year by his standards after earning $30 million in 2017, impacted the total tally.”
Here are the Top 15 highest paid DJs in the world:
- Calvin Harris – $48 Million
- The Chainsmokers – $45.5 Million
- Tiësto – $33 Million
- Steve Aoki – $28 Million
- Marshmello – $23 Million
- Zedd – $22 Million
- Diplo – $20 Million
- David Guetta – $15 Million
- Kaskade – $13.5 Million
- Martin Garrix – $13 Million
- Axwell Λ Ingrosso – $12 Million
- Kygo – $11.5 Million
- DJ Snake – $11 Million
- Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – $10.5 Million
- Afrojack – $10 million