Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Avicii: Who is the World’s Highest Paid DJ?

By Scott T. Sterling

Fact: superstar DJs make a lot of money.

For the world’s most popular DJs, those massive piles of cash are just getting bigger, with the third annual Forbes’ list of the “Electronic Cash Kings” revealing that the scene’s biggest stars are raking in even more money than they did last year.

Last year’s No. 1 DJ, Calvin Harris, is still sitting pretty atop the list, generating a bank-breaking $66 million, a full $20 million more than he pulled in 2013. That’s more than double the dough earned by the No. 2 DJ, David Guetta, who’s no slouch in the financial portfolio department with $30 million.

Related: David Guetta Had Quite a Moment at Tomorrowland: Watch Him Stare Into the Abyss

Despite having to deal with a serious illness and two high-profile concerts marred by dozens of attendees being rushed to the hospital with drug and alcohol related illnesses, Avicii still managed to generate $28 million to land in the No. 3 position, which he shares with Tiesto, who had his own physical maladies to manage after bashing his head open at a show in San Jose, CA.

Related: Deadmau5 Lashes Out at Trey Songz for Alleged Calvin Harris Rip-Off

Rounding out the top 5 is cake master general Steve Aoki, who crowd-surfed his way to a cool $23 million, thanks to radio hits like “Delirious” featuring rapper Kid Ink endorsement deals with Bud Light and Guitar Center.

The rest of the Top 10 is populated by more of the biggest names in the EDM game, including Afrojack (No. 6, $22 million), Zedd (No. 7, $21 million), Kaskade (No. 8, $17 million), Skrillex (No. 9, $16.5 million) and Deadmau5 (No. 10, $16 million).

Related: 15 Most PLURNT Experiences at HARD Summer 2014

The world’s No. 1 DJ (according to DJ Mag, anyway), Hardwell, cruised to the No. 11 position with $13 million, while Armin Van Buuren and former Swedish House Mafia member, Steve Angello, share the No. 12 slot with $12 million.

Some of the big-name artists who just missed the cut include Diplo, Daft Punk and Paul Oakenfold, although it’s still safe to say that none of them will be hurting financially anytime soon.

“It’s just grown gigantically because it’s such a great business,” Steve Angello told Forbes of the still-booming global market for EDM. “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.”


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