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August. 19, 2014 -  Electronic Cash Kings

The World's Highest Paid DJs 2014


 
Calvin Harris is a big jumper on the 2014 FORBES' Celebrity 100 rising 47 spots, while maintaining his title as the world's top-earning DJ. A former grocery store stocker, the Scot, born Adam Richard Wiles, earned $66 million in the 12 months since June 1, 2013. He played more than 125 gigs in that period. After releasing the wildly successful album "18 Months" in 2012, Harris teased his fourth studio album with the release of "Summer" in March 2014.

Among dance music artists, he's found the most success crossing over to the realms of pop music working with the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Ellie Goulding. That type of popularity has him playing headline gigs not only at EDM-focused events like Electric Daisy Carnival, but also at festivals like Coachella. Harris continues to play regularly in Las Vegas where he has a multi-year deal at America's biggest nightclub, Hakkasan.

On the 2014 edition of FORBES Electronic Cash Kings list of the world’s highest-paid DJs,  Scotland-born Calvin Harris has topped the list with $66 million, followed by French DJ David Guetta in second ($30 million) and a third-place tie between Sweden’s Avicii and the Netherlands’ Tiësto (both at $28 million).

As usual, the reactions varied as widely as the international backgrounds of the names on the list. And many publications, even those focused on music, expressed a modicum of shock over DJ paydays, particularly in comparison to big acts in other genres.

“Surprise! There’s a DJ out there who’s making more money than Jay Z, according to Forbes,” wrote Billboard. Other outlets expressed similar sentiments. Spin dubbed the results “incredible.”

The World’s Highest-Paid DJs Of '14

When Calvin Harris topped last year’s Electronic Cash Kings list with a stunning $46 million in annual earnings, it seemed symptomatic of a bubble in the burgeoning EDM scene. But since then, the only thing that has popped is the income of the world’s highest-paid DJs.

Harris, whose total surged to $66 million for the past 12 months, is once again EDM’s Cash King. The top ten earners on our list racked up a staggering $268 million this year, 11% more than the $241 million haul of last year’s top ten. Playing more than 50 festival and nightclub gigs, Harris even out-earned the likes of Toby Keith and Jay Z.

“The rise of dance music has been astronomical in the last three years,” Harris told FORBES. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Harris is followed on the list by David Guetta at $30 million. In the past 12 months, the former Parisian club manager has spent time on tour with Rihanna and has penned songs for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga on their latest albums as well.

Guetta commands some of the top fees in Las Vegas but stays true to his European roots, maintaining a weekly residency in Ibiza. That’s increasingly uncommon, as DJs have been choosing the greener pastures of Nevada over the Mediterranean music Mecca.

“I’ve been going there for the last 10 years, it felt there was nothing special,” said third-ranked Tiësto last year, shortly after ditching his Ibiza residency. “And then I got the offer to play in Las Vegas … They made me a great proposal, not just the money but also what they’re going to do there, the biggest club in the world.” 

That club, Hakkasan, is responsible for a large chunk of Tiësto’s recent earnings: he banked $28 million over the past year. He’s tied for third on our list with 24-year-old Avicii, who had the best 12 months of his young career on the strength of debut album True. The record included “Wake Me Up,” which became the first electronic song ever to move more than 4 million units in the U.S.

Steve Aoki, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, rounds out the top five with $23 million, also the best showing of his career. His is a volume business: Aoki sometimes plays three shows in a single day, and his schedule had almost double the amount of shows of anyone on our list. He’s also boosted by endorsements with Bud Light, Guitar Center and Scion.

Plenty of other DJs are reaching new heights in terms of annual earnings, from sixth-ranked Afrojack ($22 million) to seventh-ranked Zedd ($21 million) to eleventh-ranked Hardwell ($13 million).

Even the individual members of Swedish House Mafia, which scored $25 million last year in its swan song as a group, are now earning more than they did together in 2013: Steve Angello alone pulled in $12 million, good for No. 12 on this year’s list.

“It’s just grown gigantically because it’s such a great business,” he says of electronic music. “And it’s a great business model because you have all these kids that want to go to all these events, and that’s a great way of making a business stand very fast.”

Angello’s former colleagues Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell are among this year’s near misses. Both of them earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million, as did DJ Pauly D, Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, and Daft Punk. The latter came within a disc’s breadth of making the list thanks to album Random Access Memories, and certainly would have made it if they’d played even a handful of live gigs.

Our estimates for the Electronic Cash Kings list include earnings from live shows, merchandise sales, endorsements, recorded music sales and external business ventures. Earnings totals were calculated for the 12-month period from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014. Sources include Songkick, Pollstar, RIAA, managers, lawyers and some of the people at the heart of the EDM revolution.

“I used to put the DJ on the floor and he was in the corner,” recalls Pasquale Rotella, who sold half of his Insomniac Events to Live Nation for $50 million last year. “It was tough making paper mache props leading up the event day. It’s a whole new world—the music’s different, the crowds are different, the budgets are way different.”

That’s certainly true—and nobody knows it better than this year’s crop of top-earning DJs.

Forbes Names Highest-Paid DJs in 2014

No. 1: Calvin Harris $66 million

Born Adam Richard Wiles, the former grocery store stocker earned $66 million in our scoring period, playing more than 125 gigs. He’s found great success in the pop world, working with the likes of Rihanna and Kesha, which has helped him land headline gigs not only at EDM-focused events but also at festivals like Coachella. Harris continues to play regularly in Las Vegas where he has a multi-year deal at America's biggest nightclub, Hakkasan.

No. 2: David Guetta $30 million

The former Parisian club manager commands some of the top fees in Las Vegas but stays true to his European roots, maintaining his weekly F**k Me I’m Famous residency in Ibiza. In the past 12 months, he’s spent time on tour with Rihanna and has penned songs for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga on their latest albums. In March, he divorced Cathy Guetta, his wife of 22 years and long-time business partner.

No. 3 (TIE): Avicii $28 million

Just 24 years old, the Swedish DJ notched the best year of his career on the strength of his debut album True. The record included "Wake Me Up," which became the first electronic song ever to move more than 4 million units in the United States. He continues to clean up on the road, taking home six-figure sums every time he spins at a club, which he did 80 times during our scoring period alone.

No. 3 (TIE): Tiesto $28 million

In recent years, the veteran Dutch DJ has shifted his focus from Ibiza to Las Vegas, where he now has a massively lucrative residency with megaclub Hakkasan. Playing over 100 shows yet another year in a row, Tiesto has pulled in $60 million over the past 24 months, a total topped only by Calvin Harris.

No. 5: Steve Aoki $23 million

For the first time, Aoki cracks the top five after playing 277 shows in our scoring period. He sometimes plays three shows in a day, and his schedule had almost double the amount of shows of anyone on our list (Aoki tells FORBES he’s mastered the art of the power nap, sleeping in two or three hour bursts while traveling between gigs). He’s also boosted by endorsements with Bud Light, Guitar Center and Scion, and holds a minority stake in headphone company Sol Republic.

No. 6: Afrojack $22 million

Nick van de Wall, better known as Afrojack, released his long-anticipated first studio album, Forget The World in May. After telling FORBES he turned down higher offers in Las Vegas to stay at the Wynn, he quickly bolted for a residency at Hakkasan. Afrojack played nearly 150 shows in our scoring period; earnings include endorsements from Nike and G-Star RAW, where he has his own clothing collection.

No. 7: Zedd $21 million

The 24-year-old protégé of Skrillex is now out-earning his mentor, thanks to a nightly DJ fee that has soared from $20,000 last year into the low six figures. Zedd’s rise has been fueled by his production for pop stars like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, as well as his own album, Clarity, which spawned a platinum single of the same name.

No. 8: Kaskade $17 million

Born Ryan Raddon, the DJ’s tenth album,Atmosphere, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronica Album. The father of three played more than 120 dates during our scoring period, including about 30 shows in Las Vegas. Outspoken on Twitter, he’s taken to the microblogging service to bash his former record label and critics of EDM culture.

No. 9: Skrillex $16.5 million

In March the six-time Grammy winner released his latest album, Recess, to opening week sales of 48,000. The LP has a long way to go to catch his 2010 smash, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, but he doesn’t need record sales to pad his coffers: Skrillex earns big from live shows, scoring films likeWreck-It Ralph, and from his OWSLA label.

No. 10: Deadmau5 $16 million

The mouse-head costume-wearing DJ barely played one-tenth the amount of shows that some of the higher-ranked names on this list did, but he made them count, playing mostly lucrative festival gigs that can earn him in the neighborhood of half a million dollars for a night’s work. A booming merchandise business also pads his bottom line.

No. 11: Hardwell $13 million

Voted the No. 1 electronic dance music artist in the world by fans in the annual DJ Magazine Top 100 poll, Hardwell debuts on FORBES’ list of top earners. His debut album expected to come out in the next year. Like fellow Dutch DJs Tiesto and Armin van Buuren, Hardwell operates his own record label, Revealed Recordings, which he founded in 2010. His I Am Hardwell tour comes to the U.S. in the fall and will conclude with a November show at Madison Square Garden.

 No. 12 (TIE): Armin van Buuren

The Dutch DJ spent a great deal of the last year playing dates in support of his album, Intense, released in May 2013. His tour included dates in 21 cities and featured six-hour performances from the 37-yr-old trance king. He cofounded dance label Armada Music in 2003, & still helps run the business; last year, he received a best dance recording Grammy nomination for “This Is What It Feels Like.”

No. 12 (TIE): Steve Angello $12 million

Swedish House Mafia pulled in $25 million last yr. in its swan song as a group, & now its members are earning even more: Steve Angello alone pulled in $12 million. By himself, he still commands six-figure fees for club gigs; he’ll release a new solo album this fall. Will there be a reunion? “Uh, no,” he says.

Near Misses

Steve Angello’s former Swedish House Mafia colleagues Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell are among the near misses for this year’s EDM cash kings list. Joining them: DJ Pauly D, Diplo, Paul Oakenfold, and Daft Punk. The latter came within a disc’s breadth of making the list thanks to new album Random Access Memories, and certainly would have—if they’d played even a handful of live gigs.

Methodology

Our estimates for the Electronic Cash Kings list include earnings from live shows, merchandise sales, endorsements, recorded music sales and external business ventures. Sources include Songkick, Pollstar, RIAA, managers, promoters, lawyers and some of the artists themselves. Earnings totals were calculated for the 12-month period from June 1, 2013 to June 1, 2014.

Source: Zack O'Malley Greenburg - 8/19/2014

Find more @  http://forbes.com

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