These Are the World’s Best Paid DJs…

The ranking is based on earnings calculations by Forbes over the past year (ending June 1st, 2013), and includes everything from live shows, endorsements, merchandise sales, recorded music sales, and related business ventures.

  • Save

19 Responses


    night shift & poor work conditions: low lighting, sweating the whole time, always in a hurry to that next flight and also having to work on the weekends while everyone else is out partying :)

    • Visitor

      No shit. That’s probably why the headline says “highest paid DJ’s. No dentists on the list either.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        It’s the button-pusher argument about EDM. I’m not sure I really subscribe: deadmau5 pushes a button, sure, but he’s also concocting the costume, stage design, and pushing the button on a track he produced.

        There’s also the criticism against the musical ability these guys, which I think is way off. Take grunge: those guys were playing guitars and performing in the traditional sense, but c’mon, their musicality and ability isn’t close to what many of these DJs can pull off.

        And don’t get me started on early punk, rap, etc.

        • monkeynuts

          Sorry – soundscapes and textures are great if your high and dancing in a club. I doubt that future generations will be marveling at the medodies, messages, transcriptions or scores of electronic dance music. A very ephemeral art form.

          • GGG

            “soundscapes and textures are great if your high and dancing in a club.”

            Right, but that’s why they exist. If I’m out somewhere dancing I don’t want Tom Waits or Debussy or Bela Fleck to come on, despite me thinking they are infinitely times better music.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            Are you really that snobbish about this music? I’m an avid classical music fan, I love virtuosic performances and musicianship to the nth degree. I deeply respect live performance and skill.

            But I can also appreciate what goes into creating a masterpiece of electronic music, it’s not easy to just whip something out (usually). Take deadmau5, one of my favorites on mine on this list: have you listened to some of his music, the incredibly superb production and skill? Maybe he’s pushing a button at the gig, but he’s pushing a button on a masterpiece!

          • Visitor

            I smell an analog snob. Go take your horse and buggy elsewere, granpa!

        • Yves Villeneuve

          I think Paul is partially trolling here. He is entitled to his personal tasted and opinions, the latter justified or not.

          • GGG

            Haha, oh man, this is great. Who are you, of all people, to make fun of the musicianship of DJs? I’ll be one of the first people to separate a musician from a DJ in a debate, but what Paul pointed out is right. There’s plenty of genres of music that don’t innately have or require advanced musicianship.

            And you, one-rhythm-Yves, should really not be attacking the musicianship of DJs.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            I wasn’t attacking DJs. However, Paul seems to be attacking bands like Alice in Chains or rappers like Will Smith.

          • GGG

            I don’t think he was attacking them, just pointing out that the difference in a DJ and say Jeff Beck is pretty much the same as Nirvana and, say, Itzhak Perlman.

          • Visitor

            A lot of these people aren’t DJs. DJs implys that they are merely manipulating existing music. These people are legit musicians.

            People need to wake up to the fact that a computer is a legit musicial instrument. You can make music, that you, in fact own 100% of the rights for with nothing but a computer.

  2. Yves Villeneuve

    Speaking of dance songs, I think Gaga just released a ton of YouTube audios featuring other superstars in what appears to be a desperate attempt to create interest and support from their respective fans.

    Definitely not Fame Monster quality songs. “Applause” appears so far to be the best song on the new album though its lyrics are very “needy”, an obvious reflection of the performer’s psyche.

  3. David

    How reliable are any of these figures? Estimates of artists’ and entertainers income and wealth (e.g. the Sunday Times Rich List) are often little more than guesswork. Of the people on this list, I recall that Deadmau5 ridiculed some estimates of his income, saying if they were right he would be asking his lawyers what happened to the missing 90%.

    • GGG

      I think all these numbers are usually based on public numbers, and grosses at that. Like when Pollstar/Billboard post highest tours, it’s basically just tix sold x avg ticket price. Most acts don’t divulge a lot of their financials, so they are very arbitrary.


    Man, that’s alot of money. Congratulations. People say music doesn’t pay. That is wrong; these guys are making a futune. I live in Las Vegas. The billboards are everywhere, the crowds. It’s the real deal, these cats are freakin’ rich.

  5. LeeM

    They’re brands/businesses that blend together production and dj’ing talent with business smarts. To hit that list, you’ve got to have all three.