Over the past year electronic dance music has exploded into mainstream media. David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia are household names, kids are explaining what that noise called dubstep is to their parents, and the dance music influence is being seen in music by superstars like Justin Beiber, Flo Rida, and Britney Spears.
DJs are the new rock stars!
This was even evident at the GRAMMYs, with dubstep king Skrillex winning in every category he was nominated. With little production costs and heavy touring schedules, it is no surprise that these artists earn so much. Below is Forbes list of the top earners in the industry.
1. Tiesto : This dutch dance music veteran tops the list of highest earning DJs, earning over $22 million last year. This isn’t surprising considering he reportedly pulls in over $250,000 a show.
2. Skrillex: Former From First to Last front man is credited with putting dub-step on the map and he has 5 GRAMMYs to prove it. In 2011 alone he played over 322 live shows, making him the second highest paid DJ cashing in at $15 million.
3. Swedish House Mafia: Radio hits like “Save the World” and “Don’t You Worry Child” catapulted this trio to fame. The Scandinavian group made history by becoming the first electronic group to headline and sell out Madison Square Garden. SHM announced this year that they would be retiring after playing their last show at Ultra Music Festival in Miami this upcoming March. They earned $15 million last year.
4. David Guetta: Frenchman Guetta transitioned into mainstream with his hit album ‘Nothing But the Beat’ which included tracks like “Turn Me On” featuring Nicki Minaj and”Without You” featuring Usher. For the past 6 years he has been named one of the top 10 DJs in the world earning $13.5 million.
5. Steve Aoki: This ball of energy likes to throw cake and champagne at concert goers during shows, as well as crowd surf in rafts. He plays over 200 shows a year, earning him a nice $12 million paycheck.
6. Deadmau5: Famous for his twitter rants and his on stage get up, as well as recently getting engaged to tattoo artist Kat Von Dee, the mau5 is one of EDM’s biggest names. Publicly criticizing the industry did not hinder this artist, he still earned $11.5 million.
7. DJ Pauly D: Although he may not be known for his DJ skills, the Jersey Shore star is fist pumping all the way to the bank; he earned over $11 million last year.
8. Kaskade: One of only three Americans on the list, his most recent album ‘Fire and Ice’ was nominated for a Best Dance/Electronica Album at the GRAMMYs. Although he is not yet a household name, he is featured on Neon Tree’s latest single “Lessons in Love” and earned $10 million last year.
9. Afrojack: Dutchman Nick van de Wall goes by Afrojack on stage, dates Paris Hilton whenever he feels like it, and earned $9 million last year. He is featured on Pitbull‘s hit “Give Me Everything” and has producing credits on Beyonce‘s single “Run the World (Girls)”.
10. Avicii: This Swedish powerhouse made history by being the first DJ to headline Radio City Music Hall in New York City. He sold out both shows he was playing, with one selling out in under a minute. He rounds out the list, earning $7 million.