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Forbes Announces The World’s Highest-Paid DJ’s of 2019

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Forbes just announced their Electronic Cash Kings 2019, the annual list for the highest-paid DJ’s of 2019 and after six consecutive rows in a year, Calvin Harris has been dethroned by none other than The Chainsmokers.

Still in the top half of the list, after a long period, Harris has dropped to the third position on the list, making way for top gunners The Chainsmokers and Marshmello who has almost doubled his earnings in a single year.


The Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid DJs ranks electronic acts around the globe using pretax earnings from June 1, 2018, through June 1, 2019; without deducting any fees for lawyers, agents and managers. Estimates are based on numbers from Nielsen, Pollstar, Bandsintown, and Songkick, as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves.

At the top position, this year are The Chainsmokers who many may argue are not even DJ’s any longer after having transformed to more of a pop act for all practical purposes. They are still however very much on the electronic music scene constantly collaborating and churning out new music and also headlining some of the biggest stages in the world, including closing out the mainstage at Tomorrowland on Day 1 of both weekends! In addition to their tours and festival stops, the duo also had a three-year residency with Wynn Nightlife which was set to end in 2019 but was promptly extended till 2021 just recently adding in a big way to their earnings. Charging a hefty six-figure sum per night, the duo clocked in a hefty $46 Million in pretax income.

In some of the most drastic growth from last years list, Marshmello almost doubled his earnings to end up at the second position with an annual income of $40 Million. While most of this can be accounted towards his Las Vegas residency at Kaos Dayclub and Nightclub at the Palms Casino Resort worth a whopping $60 Million, the masked DJ has worked hard and marketed his work harder to make it work for him.

Following below are unsurprising names returning to the list like, the dethroned king since the list started Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki who is one of the most hard-working names on the list having played over 200 shows in the year and Diplo who churns out new music and collaborations at a faster pace than any of his industry comrades.

As reported by Forbes, the top 15 acts clocked $358 million in pretax earnings over the past 12 months, $272 million of that coming from the top ten, up a tick from last year’s collective $260 million. The top three also made it onto The Celebrity 100: The World’s Highest-paid Entertainers of 2019 list.

As is clearly visible from the toppers on the list, Vegas-based residencies are playing a major role in pumping up the earnings of the front runners. While it’s getting harder for the rising EDM stars to garner a hold of playing on the strip in the sin city consistently, top tier acts are bagging extensive long-term residencies.

One constant however remains, the lack of any women making their presence felt on the list. In fact, there have been no women who have featured on the list since Forbes began tracking it in 2012. While a few have come close, there have been none to join the ranks just yet.

World’s Highest-Paid DJ’s 2019: The Full List

1. The Chainsmokers ($46 million)
2. Marshmello ($40 million)
3. Calvin Harris ($38.5 million)
4. Steve Aoki ($30 million)
5. Diplo ($25 million)
6. Tiësto ($24 million)
7. Martin Garrix ($19 million)
8. David Guetta ($18 million)
9. Zedd ($17 million)
10. Armin van Buuren ($15 million)
11. Kaskade ($14 million)
12. Skrillex ($13 million)
13. Alesso ($12.5 million)
14. Afrojack ($12 million)
15. DJ Snake ($11.5 million, tie)
15. DJ Pauly D ($11.5 million, tie)
15. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike ($11.5 million, tie)

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Melody Siganporia

Content Writer | EDM News & Editorials at T.H.E - Music Essentials
Techie by day, rager by night. Full-time Expert at Apple and part-time writer with multiple EDM publications based in the Big Apple. My interest in the dance music scene began about 10 years ago and there was no looking back from there. I got involved with it on a professional level in 2013-2014 when I joined the core team for a leading music festival in India. Managing the entire Digital Marketing piece for them in addition to the Public Relations aspect, helped me gain insights into the industry. Upon moving to NYC a few years after, I decided to combine my passion for the music along with my flare with words and began contributing to EDM publications as a freelance writer.
Melody Siganporia
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