It really pays to be a DJ. With the global explosion of the EDM scene, superstar DJs are suddenly turning into some of the top-earning musicians on the planet. Forbes magazine released a ranking of the genre’s cash kings and veteran Dutch spinner Tiësto, 43, came out on top with a $22 million stack earned over the past year.
He raked in that cash thanks to headlining sets at this year’s Coachella Festival, a 175-date global tour (on which he reportedly grosses an average of $250,000 a night), as well as an exclusive residency at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas.
One of the fastest-rising EDM stars, Skrillex, 24, who is nominated for the first-ever Best Electronic Dance Music Video award at the upcoming MTV 2012 Video Music Awards, is #2 on the list with earnings of $15 million. Like the others on the list, his haul was calculated by looking at grosses from live shows, music sales, endorsements and merchandise sales.
The soon-to-retire trio in Swedish House Mafia (Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell) were third on the list ($14 million), followed by David Guetta (#4, $13.5 million), hard touring veteran Steve Aoki (#5, $12 million) and deadmau5, who scored the #6 spot thanks to $11.5 million in earnings.
MTV’s own DJ Pauly D
of “Jersey Shore” cracked the list at #7 with earnings of $11 million over the past year. Kaskade came in at #8 ($10 million), followed by Afrojack (#9, $9 million) and Avicii (#19, $7 million).
Over the past 12 months,the 10 highest-paid DJs — many of whom take in more than $100,000 a night — earned $125 million, or more than the entire Los Angeles Lakers payroll.