EDM Cash Kings. DJs Who Made The Most Money in 2016.

edm cash kings

EDM Cash Kings 2016

Typically, the world around us doesn’t demonstrate the high degree of stability. 

Natural disasters strike when you don’t expect them, stock and real estate markets fluctuate, ISIS is taking over new regions in Iraq, Donald Trump wins the Republican party nomination, etc.
However, based on the experience and observation of the past, there is one thing that doesn’t really change from year to year – 10 names on the Forbes’ annual list of highest paid DJs.
Without getting too deep into the conversation about where EDM is going to quality-wise, the dollar quantity growth curve is relatively flat. In the last 12 months top 10 DJs made $270 million which is $4 million less than they earned in 2015 (a sign of the upcoming recession?)
Check out the video and our editorials for each artists on the list below. Let us know what you think about the list and how it is possible that Armin Van Buuren didn’t make it on the list again. Same question regarding Hardwell and Dimitry Vegas & Like Mike. Apparently, being #1 DJ on the DJ Mag’s doesn’t automatically makes you the highest earning artist.

One name that dropped of the list is Avicii. The DJ announced that he is planning to retire from his career as a tourist artist this year. He has cancelled more shows than he played which caused him to  drop out of the top 10.

#1 Calvin Harris – $63 Million

Calvin Harris remains the EDM Cash King. He made $63 million this year which, although 2 million down from the last year, is still more than any of his colleagues earned in the last 12 months. Even though it wasn’t the best year for Calvin because of his recent break up with Taylor, he can always cheer himself up by looking at his bank account statement. The dude is making $400k every time he plays a set in Vegas which by the way happens on a weekly basis if not more often. His production skills, musical talent, and hardwork allow him to stay in the number 1 position. At this point, it doesn’t seem like he should fear that there will be a serious contender next year who may dethrone the king.

#2 Tiesto – $38 million

The Godfather of EDM, Tiesto, is the second highest-paid EDM act on list again. Tiesto is remaining very hardworking and productive. In the last 12 months, he kept touring the world while keeping his residency in Vegas, played at big festivals such as EDC and Ultra, created an original track and video for one of the world’s biggest EDM festival (Tomorrowland) together with the brewing giant AB InBev and his fellow producer Jauz, started a new deep house label called AFTR:HRS, and worked on many other projects. Thus Tijs Michiel Verwest better known as Tiesto definitely deserves to be on the list again.

#3 David Guetta – $28 million

Mr. Guetta is having another eventful year which allowed him to be the third highest-paid with $28 million earned over the last 12 months. This summer David Guetta played at the opening and closing ceremonies of Euro 2016 (one of the most watched sporting events on the planet). According to Google, soccer has 3.5 billion fans which nearly a half of the population of Earth. So, you can imagine how many people watched him play live at the soccer event and by how much it improved his name I.D. David Guetta was back to Tomorroland 2016, he played at Ultra and EDC NY. In early august, there were disturbing news about an unstable person who broke into Guetta’s mansion in Ibiza, but fortunatelly the perpetrator was arrested by the local police and is no longer a threat to Guetta and his girlfriend Jessica Ledon.

#4 ZEDD – $24.5 million

Anton Zaslavski, better known by his stage name Zedd, is a Russian-German Grammy Award winning record producer who became an EDM sensation in 2012 with his single ‘Clarity’ and in 2013 with his number two hit ‘Stay the Night’ with Hayley Williams. Anton is continuing his ascend to the top of the list with $24.5 million reported by Forbes this year. Zedd has won Billboard’s award in the Top Dance/Electronic Album category for his second studio album, True Colors. He held his second tour from August to November 2015 in Asia, North America and Europe and headlined multiple festivals including Spring Awakening and Counterpoint Music and Arts Festival.  Zedd was also included in the line-up for Coachella 2016.

#5 Steve Aoki – $23.5 million

Although Steve Aoki moved down one place letting young EDM prodigy ahead of him, he is also finishing strong this year. He made it back on the list with nearly the same amount of money earned in the last 12 months ($23.5 million in 2016 vs $24 million in 2015). Steve’s name appears in the news headlines pretty often days because of a couple of reasons.

First of all, he just reached a confidential settlement with Brittany Hickman who was suing Steve Aoki for breaking her neck and nearly making her paralyzed as the result of setting up an inflatable life raft in the audience and jumped 20 feet down onto the raft and proceeded to crowdsurf. It has to be noted that this is something Steve Aoki does at almost all of his shows. Stage diving, crowd rafting, and birthday cake throwing at the fans are elements of his standard performance.

It is unfortunate that it resulted in his fan’s injury at one of the shows. In any case, the settlement has been reached and Steve Aoki got a chance to apologize for what have happened that night. According to Billboard Dance, Aoki’s who provided the following statement:“Steve would never want anyone to get hurt at one of his shows and is sorry Ms. Hickman did. After they reached a confidential settlement, they had the chance to speak, and Steve got the chance to apologize. The favorable verdict for his co-defendant, Hard Rock Hotel, brings welcome closure to all parties.”

Additionally, Netflix just released an inspiring documentary about Steve Aoki called I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead in which Steve talks about his rise to being the world’s biggest EDM act. Steve reveal facts about himself that weren’t very well known not only to the general public but also to his close friends. For example in this documentary, he discusses his relationships with his father the great Rocky Aoki (Benihana restaurateur). According to Steve he and his father have never been close and didn’t spend much time with each other, so it doesn’t seem like his father had a significant influence on the EDM super-star. You can watch full movie on Netflix; it’s been available since Friday, August 19.


Lower Half of The List:

#6 Diplo – $23 million
#7 Skrillex – $20 million
#8 Kaskade – $19 million
#9 Martin Garrix – $16 million
#10 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – $15.5 million