Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin [Getty Images]
Mammas don’t let your boys grow up to be cowboys… because being a DJ pays so much more. Forbes has released their annual list of “World’s Highest-Paid DJs” because, well, that’s the sort of world we live in.
Calvin Harris again tops the list for the sixth consecutive year, taking home $48 million, thanks in large part to his Las Vegas residency, which pulls in six-figure checks for every set. The Chainsmokers leapfrogged Tiësto ($33 million) for 2nd place with $45.5 million, while Steve Aoki ($28 million), and Marshmello ($23 million) round out the top five.
The two big EDM names missing from the 2018 list are Skrillex and the late great Avicii who died tragically in April. Skrillex (#4 last year with $30 million) has been on hiatus, getting some much-needed R&R. Running on empty is the one downside to earning all this crazy cash (and the the glitter dry cleaning bill). DJ’s jet set lifestyle of models and bottles might look fun on their Instagram, but they’re constantly “working” — Aoki played over 200 shows last year alone.
While this kind of money sounds like fake news. Forbes list is totally legit, using the artists’ pretax earnings from June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018, before deducting fees for lawyers, agents and managers. Estimates are based on numbers from Nielsen, Pollstar, Bandsintown and Songkick, as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves. You can check out the full “World’s Highest-Paid DJs” list below.
1. Calvin Harris – $48 Million
2. The Chainsmokers – $45.5 Million
3. Tiësto – $33 Million
4. Steve Aoki – $28 Million
5. Marshmello – $23 Million
6. Zedd – $22 Million
7. Diplo – $20 Million
8. David Guetta – $15 Million
9. Kaskade – $13.5 Million
10. Martin Garrix – $13 Million
11. Axwell Λ Ingrosso – $12 Million
12. Kygo – $11.5 Million
13. DJ Snake – $11 Million
14. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – $10.5 Million
15. Afrojack – $10 million