In the past couple of decades, music has evolved tremendously. Gone are the days where you could categorize anything into the standard musical genres; pop, rock, country. The millennial generation has shown a huge appreciation for electronic dance music, or EDM, which has led to the rise in popularity of DJ's.
From the mainstream to the underground, almost every country has a trademark DJ, and the competition is ever-growing. Those who have made it big as reputed DJ's bring in millions of dollars per year, and in some cases, have even won a few Grammy's! These are the absolute top in the industry, household names in the world of EDM.
Skrillex, also known as Sonny John Moore, is an American record-producer, DJ, singer and songwriter. At just 31 years old, he holds the record number of eight Grammy Awards for a DJ. After having performed in post-hardcore band From First To Last for several years, he released his first solo EP, titled Gypsyhook.
This opened the door to a successful award-winning solo career. To date, he has released 1 full length album, 6 EP's and has at least 40 singles. A well respected and universally well-known DJ, Skrillex takes home at least $20 million a year.
9 Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris (born Adam Richard Wiles) is actually not just Taylor Swift's ex-boyfriend, he's a supremely successful DJ. After releasing a debut album in 2007, Harris began working on collaborations and mixes. Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, and Dizzee Rascal are among the artists he has worked with.
His mixes have gained commercial popularity, as well. He has attracted endorsements and collaborations from companies such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kia Motors, Apple, and Emporio Armani. Calvin Harris has a net worth of about $240 million, which increases by at least $38.5 million per year.
Tijs Michiel Verwest, known by his performance name, Tiesto, is a Dutch DJ who is regarded as one of the best in the industry. At 50 years old, he has years more experience than some of the younger DJ's, and has spent more than have of his life performing.
When he isn't DJing, he keeps busy with album production and philanthropic ventures. He won a Grammy Award in 2015 for the remixing of John Legend's hit, All of Me. With an average annual income of $24 million, Tiesto has amassed a fortune of over $150 million.
7 The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers are an American DJ and song-writing duo who rose to fame in 2014 when their hit song #selfie hit the waves. They have since collaborated with mainstream artists like Halsey, Bebe Rexha, and Coldplay. Alexander Pall and Andrew Taggart rose to the top spot on the Forbes' Highest Paid DJ's list in 2019, surpassing Calvin Harris, who had held the reigns for 6 consecutive years.
As relative newcomers to the scene, The Chainsmokers are doing quite well with their estimated yearly income of $46 million. They are definitely the hottest DJ duo at the moment, with plenty of touring happening this season.
6 Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki is considered as one of the pioneering American DJ's, having been active in the scene since 1996. The king of dance, he has worked with dozens of artists, including Afrojack, LMFAO, wil.i.am, and Fall Out Boy.
In 2012, when his career was at its highest, he was named the top grossing dance artist in North America in the Pollstar Top 100 list. Universally recognized for his music, as well as his many film appearances, Steve Aoki is one of the top paid DJ's in the industry, with an average yearly salary of $30 million.
5 David Guetta
French DJ David Guetta was arguably the most famous DJ of all time...up until 2014 or so. He rose to fame with his debut album, Just A Little More Love, which was released in 2002. His 2009 synth-pop hit When Love Takes Over, featuring Kelly Rowland, was coined the number one collaboration in the dance/pop genre by Billboard Magazine.
Though his heyday is behind him, Guetta is still hugely respected as a DJ, and still pulls in about $18 million a year from touring, record sales, and endorsements.
American golden boy Diplo has established himself as one of the leading DJ's, music producers, and performers in the industry. Hailing from Los Angeles, he is the co-creator of musical project Major Lazer, a member of LSD, and the founder of the Mad Decent record label.
His hard work and multitude of projects have certainly paid off. In 2019, he came in as the 5th highest paid DJ in the world, with an annual salary of $25 million. He has worked with superstars of the industry, including Justin Bieber, Shakira, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé.
Zedd is one of the youngest DJ's in the industry, but that hasn't interfered with his success. The Russian-German DJ is also a record producer, singer, and songwriter. His progressive style has become very popular amongst house music fans.
In 2015, his collaboration with Selena Gomez on the hit song 'I Want You To Know' gained him worldwide recognition. At just 29 years old, Zedd, born Anton Zaslavski, takes home an average of $17 million a year. His song with Maren Morris, 'The Middle', hit number one on the charts in 2018.
Kaskade, born Ryan Gary Raddon, is an American DJ hailing from Chicago, IL. As a record producer and remixer, he has gained notoriety and fame for his collaborations with deadmau5.
In 2013, he received two Grammy Award nominations for the song 'Atmosphere', and the record of the same name. Despite a slow-down in his popularity in 2014, he is still one of the top-earning DJ's, with an annual income of $14 million.
At $40 million dollars a year, Marshmello was named the second highest earning DJ, after The Chainsmokers, in 2019. He is renowned for releasing remixes of already famous songs, and for being a successful electronic music producer.
He is perhaps best known for his collaboration on the song 'Happier' with Bastille, released in the summer of 2018. He is known for wearing a smiley face marshmallow mask while DJing. At 27 years old, he is one of the youngest DJ's to achieve success in such a short timeframe.