DJing isn’t just a hobby or even a job. It’s a lifestyle, an art form, and sometimes an obsession. For some of the best DJs in the world, it’s also a lucrative one. While many people think of DJs as starving artists making ends meet while they work on their craft, that couldn’t be further from the truth for these 20 lucky—or talented—individuals. These are the richest DJs in the world today:
1. Calvin Harris – $300 million
Calvin Harris is a Scottish DJ, record producer, and musician. He was born in Dumfries, Scotland. He is best known for his single “This Is What You Came For”. He has won 3 Grammy Awards so far.
He started producing music under the alias “Stripes” which he later changed to “Calvin Harris” after being told by a friend that he looked like Calvin Klein model Mark Wahlberg when he wore a suit at an event hosted by Radio 1Xtra at The Hospital Club in London.
2. Gianluca Vacchi – $200 million
In the early 2000s, Gianluca Vacchi is said to have started DJing at clubs in his hometown of Rome, Italy. Since then, he has become one of the most influential DJs in Europe.
Vacchi’s net worth is estimated to be $200 million. He has released several singles and albums as well as collaborated with other artists such as Rita Ora, who performed at his wedding.
3. Tiësto – $170million
Born in Breda, Netherlands, Tiësto is a Dutch DJ and producer known for his remixes of popular tracks. He has won 5 Grammy Awards and sold over 10 million albums to date. Tiesto also has over 10 million followers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—which isn’t surprising considering he’s been referred to as “the world’s most famous DJ.” On top of all that, he has over 3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel!
4. Steve Aoki – $95 million
Born on November 30, 1977, in Miami, Florida, Aoki is a popular American DJ and producer who has collaborated with the likes of Afrojack, Linkin Park, and LMFAO. The son of restaurant owners from Japan, he attended the University of California Irvine where he studied business management before dropping out to pursue a career in music. In 2008 he founded Dim Mak Records with partner Jon Turner which has signed artists such as Kid Cudi and The Chainsmokers. Aoki is also a member of the band Dim Mak which released its first studio album “Kill the Noise” in 2006 followed by “Carnival Youth” four years later
5. David Guetta – $75 Million
David Guetta is a French DJ, record producer, remixer, songwriter, and musician. He has sold over nine million albums and thirty million singles worldwide. He is known for his collaborations with artists such as Akon, Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, Usher, and Nicki Minaj. David Guetta is also the founder of Gum Productions and Tune Records. In 2011 he was voted by DJ Magazine as #1 in their annual Top 100 list of DJs.
6. Deadmau5 – $75 million
Deadmau5 (Joel Thomas Zimmerman) is a Canadian progressive house producer and performer. His name is an anagram for “ghosts among us”. He owns his own music label called Mau5trap Recordings. The net worth of Deadmau5 is estimated to be $75 million, which makes him the 12th richest DJ in the world.
In addition to being a successful DJ, Deadmau5 also works as a record producer, composer, musician, and singer among other things. He has released five studio albums so far: Get Scraped (2005), Vexillology (2006), Random Album Title (2008), For Lack of a Better Name (2009), and 4×4=12 (2010). He also produces remixes for other artists like Lady Gaga and Rob Swire’s band Pendulum which are available on his SoundCloud page.
In 2013 he founded his own record label entitled Mau5trap Recordings through which he releases electronic dance music albums by other artists such as Kaskade & Dada Life etcetera.
7. Andrew Taggart – $70 million
Andrew Taggart is a Canadian DJ and producer best known for his work with his partner Alex Pall, as The Chainsmokers. He has also worked as a solo artist, releasing singles like “Wake Up Alone” and “Good Intentions.”
Taggart additionally assisted in the production of several of The Chainsmokers’ songs, including “Sick Boy” and “This Feeling.”
In 2019 Andrew Taggart launched his own label called Sunset Recordings, which will feature his own music as well as other artists he is involved with through various projects like Sunset Park Records (a collaboration between him and Jayceeoh) or Free School Records (an imprint founded by himself along with Red Bull Sound Select).
8. Skrillex – $70 Million
The DJ and producer known as Skrillex have been a pioneer in popularizing the EDM genre, most notably dubstep. He has sold over 10 million albums and 38 million singles and received five Grammy Awards. In 2011, he won two awards at the MTV Video Music Awards and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the International Dance Music Awards. By 2014, he had earned an estimated $15 million from his music career alone; Forbes reported that he also made up to $30 million through endorsements (his own headphones), tours, merchandise, and his record label OWSLA.
9. Afrojack – $60 million
Nick van de Wall, better known as Afrojack, is a Dutch DJ and record producer who was born in Spijkenisse, the Netherlands on January 18th, 1988. He has released several singles and remixes in his career as well as collaborated with artists such as Pitbull, NERVO, and Jennifer Lopez.
His biggest break came when he produced a song called “No Beef” for rapper Pitbull that reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. He also had a number 1 hit with “Take Over Control” which featured R3hab and Eva Simons.
10. Paul van Dyk – $60 million
Paul van Dyk (real name Paul Leopold) is a DJ, record producer, trance, and techno musician. He was born in East Berlin on 30 January 1971. He began to play the piano at the age of 5, then moved to drums at 7-8 years old. At 13 he started to play guitar and bass guitar as well as sing in his school choir. At 18 he became interested in electronic music after hearing Kraftwerk’s The Mix album for children on cassette tape (this album was never released on CD or vinyl). Van Dyk began producing music with his Commodore 64 computer before moving into MIDI sequencing software and samplers when they came out around 1990-1991.
11. Armin van Buuren – $55 million
Armin van Buuren is a Dutch DJ and producer. He is the world’s best-selling DJ of all time, having sold over 25 million albums and singles since 2001. He won the IDMA Best Trance DJ Award six times, more than any other artist. Van Buuren has been ranked number one in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs poll a record of five times, an achievement only surpassed by David Guetta.
Armin graduated from ROC Keetmanshoop in 1994 before taking on various jobs such as managing bars and discos in Rotterdam (The Netherlands). In 1997, he started working for the largest club in The Netherlands at that time: “Oude Markt”. Armin moved his way up from being a resident to head resident within a few years. In 1999 he moved to London where he worked as an intern for Cream at the Ministry Of Sound.
12. Avicii – $50 million
Avicii was a Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer. Avicii’s debut album True debuted at number one in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Sweden, number four in the United States, and number one in Canada and Switzerland. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album as well as Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act and International Male Solo Artist. As of 2016, it has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
Avicii’s second album Stories was released on November 13th, 2015 by PRMD Music. It peaked at number 1 on the UK Albums Chart on November 21st, 2015
13. Diplo – $50 Million
Diplo is an American DJ, record producer, songwriter, and record executive. He is the co-creator and lead member of the electronic dancehall music project Major Lazer, as well as co-founder of the record label Mad Decent.
Diplo was born Thomas Wesley Pentz in Tupelo, Mississippi on November 10th, 1978. Before moving to California for college in 1995, he attended University High School in Orlando (Florida) where he started producing music with a friend named Matt Shadetek aka DJ Swivel who later became one half of Filthy Rich & Captain Jack. In 2008 Diplo along with a group of other artists from Florida created an event called Hollertronix which had its main purpose being to promote local artists and their records with parties held at various clubs around Orlando including Boardwalk Bar & Billiards and The Clubhouse Pub where they would play live shows every month or so until 2010 when it ended because everyone got busy with other things like touring or starting new projects such as Major Lazer which began recording their debut album Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do! (2009).
14. Kaskade – $50 million
Kaskade is an American DJ and producer, known for his progressive house. He’s a Grammy Award-winning artist who has released nine studio albums and sold over 5 million albums worldwide.
Kaskade rose to fame in 2007 with his single “Steppin’ Out”, which charted in several countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has since released seven other singles that charted on Billboard’s Dance/Mix Show Airplay Chart (formerly known as Hot Dance Club Play).
15. Zedd – $45 million
Zedd is a Russian-German producer and DJ who has collaborated with artists like Ariana Grande, Kesha, Selena Gomez, Hayley Williams, Justin Bieber, Liam Payne, and Hailee Steinfeld, and Alessia Cara. He’s also the owner of an estimated net worth of $45 million.
In 2011 he won two Grammy Awards for Best Dance Recording (Clarity) and Best Dance/Electronica Album (Clarity). He’s been touring extensively since 2005 when he began to perform live shows around Europe supporting other DJ acts like Skrillex or Kaskade.
16. Judge Jules – $42 million
Judge Jules is a DJ, producer, and radio presenter. He has been a DJ for over 30 years and was once voted into the Top 100 DJs in the world by DJ Magazine.
He has held residencies at Ibiza’s DC10 and Space for more than 10 years each at different times during his career. He also owns his own club night called Subliminal Sessions which he hosts every Saturday night at Pacha in Ibiza.
Judge Jules has released two albums: The Gallery (1998) and Global Underground 006: Ibiza (2001).
17. Marshmello – $40 Million
Marshmello is a DJ and producer known for wearing a white marshmallow mask. He has released several singles, including “Alone”, “Wolves” and “Silence”.
In 2016, he performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He has also worked with artists like Selena Gomez and Logic on their respective songs “Wolves”, which peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2017; Twenty One Pilots’ fifth studio album Trench (2018), which peaked at number 3; Khalid’s second studio album Free Spirit (2019); as well as R&B singer Juice Wrld’s third mixtape Goodbye & Good Riddance (2019).
18. Above & Beyond – $30 Million
Above & Beyond are a British progressive trance group from London, England. They have released a total of eight albums and twenty-nine singles to date. They also released one EP, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, in 2018.
19. Martin Garrix – $22 million
Martin Garrix is a Dutch DJ, record producer, and musician from Amstelveen, Netherlands. He is ranked number 1 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list for 2016.
He’s best known for his work in the EDM genre where he has worked with artists like David Guetta, Avicii, and Dillon Francis.
20. DJ Pauly D – $20 million
DJ Pauly D is an American DJ and television personality. He is best known for being a DJ on the American reality television series Jersey Shore.
Pauly has also released a number of songs including “I’m The One,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart in 2012, along with two other top 10 tracks on that chart: “Back To Love” (No 9) and “Dance For Me” (No. 5). Pauly’s debut album, The Album Collection was released through Ultra Music/Warner Bros Records in June 2014. His second album titled This Is How We Party was released on September 23rd, 2016 through Island Records/Ultra Music/Warner Bros Records
At the end of the day, DJing is a fun and rewarding profession that can earn some of the world’s highest salaries. But it can also have its drawbacks. It takes years to hone the skills needed to become a professional DJ, and even then, there are no guarantees that you will make enough money to support yourself. If you are looking for a career in music, consider becoming an audio engineer or producer instead.
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