These Are The Highest-Paid DJs Of 2018

Forbes has released their list of highest-paid DJs for 2018 along with salaries and the numbers are honestly staggering. While many DJs and musicians out there are “starving artists” working multiple jobs in order to finance their lifestyles, these lucrative incomes suggest that once you make it big… You can make it really big.

How is it determined who makes the list? Forbes says that the process includes:

“[ranking] electronic acts around the globe using their pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018, before deducting 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.”

The top 10 DJs on the list have made over a quarter of a billion dollars between them, but their combined $260 million is actually $38 million lower than last year. This can be attributed to several factors, including the plateauing of live electronic music and lesser involvement from Skrillex, who is usually on the list but cut back on projects this year. (Don’t worry–he still made millions this year even though he didn’t crack the top 15.)

Hearing all of this might make you want to quit your nine to five in pursuit of a magical DJ career, but don’t quit your day job just yet; these artists are certainly not the norm when it comes to earning a living as a DJ. In fact, the median annual wage fell at just $26,850 this year, with 10% making less than $16,590.

Even the majority of the most successful DJs don’t even hit one million, let alone tens of millions. Even if you are lucky enough make more than 90% of DJs, you’re still only earning $72,500. This is certainly a good salary, but nowhere near the numbers on this list, so lower your expectations a tad if you were planning to pursue this full time and subsequently buy five beach houses.

Here is the complete list of top 15 highest-paid DJs in the world for 2018.


1. Calvin Harris – $48 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkeiKbqa02g

This is the sixth year in a row that Calvin Harris has filled that coveted number one spot. He has collaborated with some well-known artists, including Rihanna (“We Found Love”) and Florence and the Machine (“Sweet Nothing”). Take a look at “One Kiss” if you want to see something recent and realize why Harris is on the top of the list.


2. The Chainsmokers – $45.5 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM7MFYoylVs

The Chainsmokers are just behind Calvin Harris at $45.5 million. Some of their best songs include “Something Just Like This”–a collaboration with Coldplay–and “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya.


3. Tiësto – $33 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DaL-Z4dwzI

Listen to “Jackie Chan” featuring Preme & Post Malone or put on “Red Lights” if you want a taste of Tïesto.


4. Steve Aoki – $28 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGN3kfEk_P4

“Azukita” is a must-hear if you’re a Steve Aoki fan, or if you want something a little bit older, listen to his “Pursuit of Happiness” remix.


5. Marshmello – $23 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALZHF5UqnU4

Marshmello comes in fifth place with $23 million. Some of his best songs are “Alone” and “Fly” featuring Leah Culver.


6. Zedd – $22 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-gyZ35074k

You’ll probably recognize Zedd from his hit “Stay The Night” featuring Hayley Williams. If you want to listen to his new stuff, look up “The Middle.”


7. Diplo – $20 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQqX3bUqtY

Diplo, along with Justin Bieber and Skrillex, was the mastermind behind “Where Are Ü Now” and has come out with some awesome songs in 2018, including “Get It Right” featuring Mø.


8. David Guetta – $15 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHGbmaDEHd4

Honestly, my favorite David Guetta song is always going to be “Titanium” featuring Sia. If you like that, you’ll love their 2018 collaboration “Flames.”


9. Kaskade – $13.5 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovsjkYytGOU

Kaskade has so many great songs that it’s hard to choose just one. Some fan favorites are “4am” and “Eyes” featuring Mindy Gledhill.


10. Martin Garrix – $13 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfPu9Jrcpuk

Martin Garrix rounds out the top 10 DJs with $13 million. One cool piece is “Like I Do” by Garrix, David Guetta (again!) and Brooks. “Ocean” featuring Khalid is great, too.


11. Axwell & Ingrosso – $12 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbXgHAzUWB0

Some of our top picks for Axwell & Ingrosso are “Sun Is Shining” and “This Time.”


Kygo – $11.5 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sc-ir2UwGU

Kygo has some awesome songs. One is “Firestone” featuring Conrad Sewell and another is “Remind Me to Forget.”


13. DJ Snake – $11 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euCqAq6BRa4

From “Let Me Love You” featuring Justin Bieber to “Turn Down For What,” is there anyone who hasn’t listened to DJ Snake? Doubtful.


14. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike – $10.5 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIll0-AyMa0

To hear some great songs by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, listen to “Hey Baby” featuring Deb’s Daughter and “Higher Place” featuring Ne-Yo.


15. Afrojack – $10 Million

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axy6rvUPPYo

Last but not least is Afrojack in spot number 15. He may not be making as much as Calvin Harris, but I’d say that $10 million is still pretty damn good. I don’t know about you, but I’d be more than okay with $10 million as my annual salary. You may know Afrojack from his song “Take Over Control” featuring Eva Simons and you should listen to “One More Day.”

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