Every year, well-known magazines and financial statisticians publish lists of the most successful representatives of a professional group. In addition to many other professions, DJs have also been well-represented for several years. Every year, the highest-earning and richest DJs in the world are revealed. They sometimes collect unbelievable sums for their performances, but the DJs earn even more money through their productions.
Putting Forbes's latest findings and updated financial information of actors in this musical sector into consideration, below is an updated list of the highest-paid DJs in the world this year.
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List of the 15 richest DJs and producers worldwide
Judge Jules – $42 million
Julius O’Riordan is the name of the DJ whose stage name is Judge Jules. He is a trance DJ and producer from England. Born in 1966, he consistently dominated the top 10 of the DJ Mag Top 100 list between 1997 and 2006.
Above all, because of his radio show, which is extremely popular in England, he achieved enormous popularity in international business.
What many don't know: Judge Jules is now not only active as a DJ but is also increasingly active as a lawyer. The DJ, producer, notary, lawyer occupies a place in this ranking of the top 15 richest DJs as a real workhorse!
He is worth $42 million according to the Celebrity Net Worth and Money Inc.
John Digweed – $48 million
Many will already know this trance/house DJ who, by the way, also works as a producer. With his weekly radio show “Transitions” on Kiss100, he presents the most successful dance show in England.
With the creation of his pieces, however, he has noticeably withdrawn. This is also reflected in the wealth, which he was unable to top up for a long time. He now prefers a quieter existence.
Compared to the previous year, for example, he was unable to noticeably improve his income as a musician and DJ. But there also remains the question of whether you even have to do that with a fortune of an incredible 48 million US dollars, as estimated by Celebrity Net Worth.
Kaskade – $50 million
Kaskade is currently one of the absolute climbers in the DJ scene. With his move to Warner Music, Kaskade, or better known as Ryan Raddon, is now getting a lot of tailwind for his activities in the music business.
In 2014, he was still in 16th place with a fortune of 40million dollars. Now he was able to accumulate 10 million dollars more and is now the 13th richest DJ in the world with $50 million.
Countless remixes helped him because the artist doesn't generate much of his music, but rather remastered tracks. But his few singles as a solo are also doing well. He has never taken the step into full commerce and remains true to an independent flair of electro house. This is particularly rewarded in the USA, where he is a particularly a big star.
He is also one of the first DJs to even establish himself in Las Vegas. A place that is truly not known for electronic music.
Deadmau5 – $50 million
Born in 1981 in Canada, Joel Thomas Zimmerman is a DJ and music producer, an extremely successful one too. He is considered the enfant terrible and a true bad boy in the scene.
Some popular magazines in the scene refer to him as the rock star in electronic music. He also experiments a lot with new sounds and arrangements, newer vocals, and different styles.
Back in 2014, he was earning around $200,000 to 250,000 per gig, more than Cavin Harris. In addition to his high DJ fees, Deadmau5 earns mainly from the high merchandising sales for the “Deadmau5” brand. He is also the head of his own and very successful label: Mau5trap.
Interesting fun fact: Deadmau5 is a trained software engineer. It wasn't until 2005 that he began producing electronic music with full focus and appropriate dedication.
Armin Van Buuren – $55 million
The 37-year-old Dutchman Armin van Buuren ensures full floors at his gigs all over the world. He also played in 21 different cities as part of his Intense Tour. He released his fifth studio album in 2014 with the album of the same name, “Intense”.
The Dutchman achieved worldwide fame primarily through his radio show “A State Of Trance”.
Career highlight: In April 2013, he played a concert in the port of Amsterdam with the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands. The new King Willem-Alexander spontaneously interrupted his harbor tour and greeted the DJ and the orchestra personally on stage.
He has also been nominated for a Grammy several times. He was able to add 5 million US dollars to his fortune this year, so he comes in total assets of $55 million.
Paul Van Dyk – $60 million
Paul Van Dyk is the only German DJ in this ranking. Born as Matthias Paul in Eisenhüttenstadt, he can look back on a long and successful DJ and producer career.
His name is associated with trance, especially during the Loveparade, which was very successful at the time.
He was one of the first DJs to use the Final Scratch (Serato) technique and his innovative spirit made him money and fame. Both his radio broadcasts and his gigs enjoy great popularity and the associated audience numbers. Above all, internationally, he is a great and well-known artist.
In just one year, he increased his net worth by $4 million, from $56 million to a whopping $60 million.
Afrojack – $60 million
Even if his last album flopped in some European countries, he was able to increase his fortune. This is another certificate from an otherwise very successful career.
Afrojack started playing the piano at the age of five, and at eleven, he started working with the Fruity Loops program. He's still working with it today.
According to Afrojack, if you're aiming for a career as an internationally sought-after DJ, install Fruity Loops. Although the DJ used to perform as “Nick van der Wall”, in 2007 he became Afrojack. Many remixes and own tracks followed. In the same year, he founded his label, Wall Recordings.
He has made collaborations with artists like David Guetta, Eva Simons, and Pitbull. The remixes of his songs, which were created by internationally known artists, are legendary. He plays around 150 shows a year.
He is also a resident DJ at the Hakkasan Club in Las Vegas. He has increased the money he earned by $10 million in the past 12 months. With that high earning, you can understand why Afrojack is so cheerful and open-minded in interviews and during his public appearances.
Paul Oakenfold – $65 million
The native British Paul Oakenfold, born in London, is the trance veteran on this list. He has been active in the music business since 1987.
He produced many hits, including the well-known soundtrack of the movie “Collateral”, called Ready, Steady, Go. Paul Oakenfold mixed some well-known songs from internationally known artists.
The DJ recorded songs from Madonna, The Cure, U2, Ice Cube, Massive Attack, Snoop Dogg, Simply Red, and The Shamen.
Smart move: Many of these songs were then released on his label, which of course increased the profit. Every year, he releases remixes that are often up to an hour long and are eagerly awaited by his fan base. Paul Oakenfold also works as a radio DJ. So he could go over $5 million this year.
Thomas Bangalter (of Daft Punk) – $70 million
Not many people will know the name Thomas Bangalter. However, he is known as part of the Daft Punk group. In France, he enjoys a status that comes close to a kind of folk hero.
His parties in France are always filled to the brim with ardent fans. He wrote music history not only with Daft Punk but also with the Stardust project (“Music Sounds Better With You”). With it, he released world hits and popular remixes.
The French producer and DJ is considered to be the inventor of the French Filter House, which is characterized by alternating highs and lows.
Fun fact: Thomas Bangalter is considered to be totally public shy. He has gone through some kind of therapy so that he can appear in public without any problems, but always with an impressive ensemble of bodyguards. It hasn't hurt his career as he makes millions of dollars a year.
Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo – $70 million
Since we were so happy with the topic: Guy-Manuel is the other half of Daft Punk. Since he can only be seen on stage with his business colleague Thomas Bangalter, his wealth can be equated with that of his partner. Both have the same promotional deals.
By the way, Daft Punk has been around since 1993. Many hits like “Around the World”, “One More Time” or “Get Lucky” were co-produced and written by him.
The sense of business seems to run in the family's blood. His younger brother is quite successful in the international house scene.
With the impressive 70 million US dollars in his pocket, he can give his brother a hand if things change.
Avicii (deceased) – $85 million
Avicii, who passed away way too soon at the age of 29 in 2018, was one of the highest-paid DJs in the world at the time of his death. With his fortune of $85 million left, he still occupies one of the top places among the richest DJs and we will continue to have him on this list.
Almost every production by Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, became an international hit. The track “Lovers on the Sun”, which he produced for David Guetta, is just one example. He played around 80 gigs a year, for which he collected a staggering $30 million.
The native Swede was considered by many connoisseurs as the most talented producer in the world. True praise that sheds light on his incredible fortune.
David Guetta – $85 million
The incredibly successful DJ David Guetta makes around $20 million in just one year. He publishes one world hit after the other and tours across the globe.
The French DJ and now producer can also look back on an otherwise great career. He is one of the oldest DJs in the international DJ business.
In 2014, he separated from his wife, Cathy Guetta. Divorce was expensive for the DJ. David Guetta collects a fee of up to $175,000 for a performance and makes his way up in our list of the richest DJs.
Steve Aoki – $100 million
Steve Aoki is also known as the “crazy one” among the richest international DJs, or just as “The Crazy”. Born in Miami in 1977, he grew up in a millionaire family.
On average, he plays a little more than 277 gigs a year. He manages it anyway and is known for adding a new note to almost every one of his appearances.
Hardly any other DJ plays as many shows a year as Steve Aoki. The top earner is a real rampage and a tireless workhorse. His remix for “Pursuit of Happiness” made him famous a few years ago. The track is now considered a modern classic mainly because of the film “Project X”, which generally had many influences from electronic music.
According to his statements, he only sleeps 2 to 3 hours a day. He is also an entrepreneur and he owns several companies. These have nothing to do with music directly but are connected to the business of his wealthy parents. He earned more than $30 million in 2019 over 200+ shows.
TIËSTO – $170 million
Tiësto is considered the DJ veteran (alongside David Guetta and Paul Oakenfold of course) worldwide! The Dutchman is now 51 years old.
In Martin Garrix, he found his student. He trained a talented DJ and also helped him to fame. In 2015, Tiësto made about $15 million – less than Avicii. Nevertheless, it is enough for the second rank of the richest DJs because Tiësto has already amassed such an impressive fortune in his life.
Also, the DJ earned $33 million in 2018. Tiësto plays around 100 gigs a year and is a permanent resident of the Hakkasan Club in Las Vegas. Tiësto also runs his label and regularly publishes works of his own, but comparatively less than before. With assets of $170 million, he can lean back and relax more often than in previous years.
Calvin Harris – $240 million
The Scottish DJ and producer Adam Richard Wiles, born in 1984, ranks first in this ranking of the richest DJs. He is better known by his pseudonym, Calvin Harris. He plays about 125 gigs a year and has been doing so for about 17 years. He is extremely successful as a producer and as a DJ.
Calvin Harris produces and writes hits for Rihanna and other stars, for example, the track “We found love”. He also earns a huge chunk of money by remastering many well-known songs.
He is without a doubt what many aspiring DJs dream of, especially considering his comparatively young age (36). Calvin Harris is a true inspiration to many artists and an icon of electronic music.
Richest DJs In The World, Conclusion
The earnings of the top DJs have been growing for years and have skyrocketed, especially in the EDM sector (i.e. in the entertainment sector). So it's no wonder you find the highest-paid DJs from really successful styles such as EDM, trance, hip hop, or dubstep. Calvin Harris has been and remains the richest DJ on the planet as of 2020. With a gap of $70 million from his closest rival, Tiesto, we don't expect him to be shifted from that throne in years to come, considering his young age.