The rise of DJ’s in the music industry is something that has taken many by surprise. Today, many DJ’s have become so popular that they make even more money than the wealthiest singers, musicians, and bands in the world.
To give you an idea of just how much modern DJ’s make, let’s take a look at the top eight richest DJ’s in the world:
#1 – Calvin Harris – $65+ Million Per Year
Calvin Harris has a bit of a rags to riches story, having risen from being a grocery bagger to now being the richest DJ the world has ever seen. Harris has developed a reputation for being an extremely hard worker and generally plays more than 125 gigs every year.
In addition, Harris has gained even further popularity by teaming up to produce top hits with artists like Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, and Kesha. He is also currently dating Taylor Swift, which comes with its own set of perks.
#2 – David Guetta – $30+ Million Per Year
David Guetta, at 48, is one of the oldest and most experienced DJ’s on this list. While he has been an active DJ since the mid-1980s, it wasn’t until 2009 that Guetta began to see mainstream success. Since then, he has sold more than nine million albums worldwide.
His One Love album, which was produced in 2009, was the one that really turned the corner for his career and led him to his place of prominence today. In it, he worked with popular US artists like Kelly Rowland, Akon, Kid Cudi, and LMFAO.
#3 – Tiesto – $28+ Million Per Year
Tiesto, at 47, is another one of the few elder statesmen on this list. His career as a DJ began in 1994, but it was not until he released his first album in 2001, titled In My Memory, that he became a worldwide sensation. Following the album release, Tiesto went on to be voted the top DJ in the world by DJ Magazine for three consecutive years between 2002 and 2004.
#4 – Avicii – $25+ Million Per Year
Avicii is a self-taught DJ from Sweden that has generated quite the buzz in the past 5-6 years. His single Levels, which he released in 2011, has been viewed over 200 million times on Youtube and was his first true hit. Since then, Avicii has risen to further popularity by playing several gigs per year and creating even more hits, such as Wake Me Up, which has more than 870 million views on Youtube.
#5 – Steve Aoki – $23+ Million Per Year
While Calvin Harris may be one of the hardest workers on this list, there is little debating that Steve Aoki is the hardest worker in the industry. He has a yearly schedule that includes 250+ gigs annually and will sometimes do three shows in a day. Aoki has continued to build his worldwide popularity by collaborating with artists such as will.i.am, LMFAO, Iggy Azalea, and Lil Jon.
#6 – Afrojack – $22+ Million Per Year
Afrojack, whose real name is Nick van de Wall, was born and raised in the Netherlands. He began his DJ’ing career in 2003, at the age of 14, and began his rise to worldwide prominence after releasing his first single In Your Face. Two of the more famous worldwide hits that he has contributed to include Pitbull’s Give Me Everything and Beyonce’s Run the World.
#7 – Zedd – $21+ Million Per Year
Zedd, who was actually mentored by Skrillex, is now at a point where he is earning more than his mentor. Born in Germany, his rise as a DJ has been in large part due to his ability to create top rated albums. Clarity, which he released in 2014, sold over 2 million copies and had several songs singles which became Billboard hits. Zedd then went on to release his second album in 2015, True Colors, which ended up peaking at number one on Billboard.
#8 – Skrillex – $16+ Million Per Year
Skrillex has one of the more interesting paths to becoming a DJ of anyone on this list, as he started as a lead singer in a heavy metal band. It was not until 2009 that Sonny Moore, which is his real name, changed his performing name to Skrillex and began his quest as a DJ. Since then, he has become a DJ’ing legend on the west coast of the US playing hundreds of shows from Los Angeles to San Francisco.