KLAhm is a pop culture fanatic who has been writing about music online for over two years.
The best DJs in the world continue to spin profits bigger than ever. This year, the top fifteen acts all earned $10 million or more, banking more than a quarter billion dollars in all. They've earned huge profits and maintained their reputations by consistently turning out new tracks and performing numerous high-energy shows.
Top 10 Highest Paid DJs in the World (2018)
- Calvin Harris
- The Chainsmokers
- DJ Tiesto
- Steve Aoki
- David Guetta
- Martin Garrix
1. Calvin Harris ($48 million)
Calvin Harris, electronic music’s king, continues to pull in healthy six-figure checks for his sets in Las Vegas—and well into the seven figures for headlining festival performances. He tours frequently, covering the globe from Japan to Croatia. His new single "One Kiss" topped the charts in his native U.K. and across Europe
2. The Chainsmokers ($45.5 million)
The DJ-producers behind "Closer" and "Something Just Like This" are in the final stretch of an exclusive thee-year residency deal with Wynn Nightlife. They collect nightly checks in the mid six-figures. They've performed more than 100 shows during our scoring period.
3. DJ Tiesto ($33 million)
The 49-year-old Dutch DJ continues to work harder than DJs half his age, performing some 150 gigs during our scoring period. He stays relevant with collaborations like “Jackie Chan”, his new single with Post Malone. He recently extended his residency with Hakkasan through 2020. He was named "the Greatest DJ of All Time" by Mix magazine in a poll voted on by the fans. In 2013, he was voted by DJ Magazine readers as the "best DJ of the last 20 years." He is also regarded as the "Godfather of EDM" by many sources.
4. Steve Aoki ($28 million)
Nobody in the electronic business works harder than Aoki. He has played 200 shows in our scoring period (sometimes two in a single day). He pads his coffers by shilling for the likes of Dropbox, Zumba, and the airline ANA. Aoki also signed on with Diesel watches in May. During his career, he has worked alongside acts like BTS, Lous Tomlinson, Linkin Park, and even Iggy Azalea.
5. Marshmello ($23 million)
He may not be the highest-paid DJ, but Marshmello is certainly the top-earning snack on our list. In addition to his nightly fees, he’s puffed up his social presence with the YouTube series “Cooking With Marshmello”. He was first recognized internationally when he remixed songs by Jack U and Zedd. His first single, "Alone", reached #9 on on Billboard's top 100 of 2017. During his career, he has collaborated with acts like Selena Gomez, DJ Khalid, Anne-Marie, and Logic.
6. Zedd ($22 million)
The Russia-born, German-raised, musician doesn’t even consider himself a DJ. He told Forbes last year, “I see myself as an artist who presents a show." His philosophy has been quite lucrative (considering he gets six-figure fees for those shows, and plays more than 100 of them per year).
7. Diplo ($20 million)
A maestro of the side hustle, Diplo is an investor in MatchaBar and shills for Bacardi through his “Sound of Rum” creative partnership. The DJ’s varied empire has even reached the small screen—he’s a producer on the tongue-in-cheek Viceland series “What Would Diplo Do?”
8. David Guetta ($15 million)
The veteran DJ continues to draw crowds and healthy fees for his sets in locales ranging from the Encore Beach Club in Las Vegas to Pacha on Ibiza in his native Europe. Last year’s single, “Dirty Sexy Money”, with Afrojack and Charli XCX ranked high on the charts in more than a dozen countries.
9. Kaskade ($13.5 million)
Kaskade, one of the best-known veterans of EDM, makes bank by constantly touring—including a few shows with his own twist. Kaskade started throwing his Sun Soaked beach parties in 2017, drawing 30,000 people to the sold-out ragers. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards for best dance recording and best dance/electronica album.
10. Martin Garrix ($13 million)
At just 22, the Dutch DJ is one of the youngest in the game. Last year, he became one of the faces of Armani Exchange. Of his 90-plus gigs during our scoring period, his biggest gig was headlining the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. According to the DJ Mag Awards, he was the #1 DJ in the world two years in a row (2016 and 2017).