Big-Name DJs Spin Big Profits

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The electronic dance music scene has been growing steadily in recent years, and the top performers have the paycheques to prove it. Forbes magazine has released its list of the highest-paid DJs in the business, and the numbers may be a bit of a surprise. Overall, the top ten earned a collective $268M over the past 12 months, an increase of 11% from last year’s list.

Calvin Harris took the top spot for the second year running. The guy behind the hit song “Summer” raked in a cool $66M as his earnings surged from $44M a year ago. The secret of Harris’ financial success may be the sheer volume of appearances. Forbes notes he’s performed at over 50 music festivals and nightclubs this year.
Perhaps more impressive than Harris’ earnings is how he stacks up to other entertainment juggernauts. In the music biz, Harris crushes the competition. Billboard lists Taylor Swift as the highest-paid musician, earning a paltry $40M compared to Harris’ $66M. And, if he was an actor, he’d be number two behind Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., who earned $75M in the most recent Forbes calculation.
The performers behind Harris make a pretty decent buck, too. The second most profitable DJ is David Guetta, who is pulling in $30M this year. And behind Guetta is Tiesto ($28M), Avicii ($28M) and Steve Aoki ($23M). To put that into perspective in the broader entertainment business, number five on the DJ list earns just a few thousand bucks less than the number six musician on Billboard’s list, Beyonce.

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