In 2012 ‘Celebrity Net Worth‘ published the first ever earnings list for the worlds top DJs, and we have to admit at the time we were somewhat taken a back by how much some of these guys were worth. Well 2013 is no different with the top earner being worth a massive $75 million (£50 million), which when you consider these guys mostly play other people’s music is outrageous, is it not?
Before we delve any further into this subject we should just confirm the Top 10 for you, if you want the complete Top 50 head over to ‘The Richest Electronic DJs In The World 2013 – Celebrity Net Worth‘.
Top Ten Richest Electronic DJs in the World
01. Tiesto – $75 million
02. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk) – $60 million
03. Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk) – $60 million
04. Paul Oakenfold – $58 million
05. Paul van Dyk – $52 million
06. John Digweed – $45 million
07. Armin Van Buuren – $40 million
08. Judge Jules – $42 million
09. Sasha – $40 million
10. Pete Tong – $32 million
Other notables: 12. David Guetta – $30 m / 15. Chemical Brothers – $20m / 17. Deadmau5 – $17m /
18. Carl Cox – $18m / 19. Skrillex – $16m
So are these Electronic DJs, as Celebrity Net Worth like to call them, worth their amassed fortunes. Short answer is probably NO, however you have to look at it from the context of the market they operate in, and therefore for us there are three key considerations, the artist, the promoter and the ticket buying public.
Firstly from an artist perspective you look at the above list and there are some very clear observations that can be immediately drawn. Like the DJ Mag Top 100 there still seems to be this confusion between DJ who is a producer and Electronic Musician, suggesting they are one in the same. Which to be honest gets a little irritating, is this list about Electronic Musicians or Electronic DJs who write club tracks. The reason I raise this is that if it is about electronic music then we are in the main discussing electronic musicians, and therefore assessing their fortunes based on their musical output, which is very different from a DJ who in the main makes their living from playing other peoples records. Therefore for the purposes of this discussion we have discounted the following artists – Daft Punk / David Guetta / Fatboy Slim / Chemical Brothers / Calvin Harris / Moby all of which mostly write electronic music as apposed to club tracks, naturally some of their music gets played in clubs, but they arent purely writing within the standard club track parameters. Second conclusion to draw is that the artists towards the top of the list are some of our most prominent DJ forefathers, all of which have played a key role in spreading electronic music across the globe.
Secondly as a promoter you have to consider the relative cost of an artist to the capacity of the venue and the required ticket price to make a profit. As promoters ourselves this is never an exact science, and making a big loss is every bit as possible as making a huge profit. However promoters have been around since the early 50’s and they are still every bit as prevalent in 2013, which suggests there is much money still to be made, and therefore artists will naturally charge accordingly.
Thirdly we need to consider the audience buying public, are they still paying the premium entry fee’s and seeing their favourite DJs play? In the main I would say yes, especially when you look at the recent EDM explosion in the states and the massive audiences it’s pulling. However if the level we operate at is anything to go by Id suggest that the ticket buying public are being much more selective in the shows they attend, we are in a period of austerity and while people still want to party they seem to be doing it less frequently.
So are DJs paid too much? I think the answer depends on what perspective you are coming from, remember we are discounting the electronic musicians mentioned above. If your standpoint is music, then your answer is probably YES, if you are a promoter who just lost a load of money your answer is probably YES, however this is a very limited view. The guys at the top of this list draw massive audiences, have played key roles in proliferating electronic music globally, attract huge additional endorsements, whilst we buy tickets and promoters skim the cream off the top, so really the answer is NO. As Celebrity Net Worth states, DJs are the new Rockstars in a world where the traditional guitar wielding long haired rebels are in short supply. Whilst some of the musical output and DJ dexterity could be called into question it doesnt change the fact that large numbers of people are paying to see these guys strut their stuff.
God gave us Rock N Roll and it would seem is also a DJ.