It’s no secret that superstar DJs are earning ridiculous amounts of money these days
The DJ's has become one of the most aspirational lifestyles for a whole generation of electronic music fans. But do you actually know quite how much some of them make? The numbers are utterly ridiculous, especially when you compare it to how much headlining festival artists of the past made.
I mean there’s no doubt that the DJ lifestyle can be taxing in a way – long journeys, no sleep, little time at home. They definitely work hard. But on the other hand; partying every night, sick riders, first class flights… It’s tough to feel too sorry for them. And when you consider the superstars pretty much put on the same show every night – unlike smaller DJs who mix it up and play different sets – it’s harder still to feel much sympathy.
And if you really want to feel no sympathy at all, have a look at these numbers from Martin Garrix and Calvin Harris:
Martijn Garritsen – Martin Garrix – is a teenager from a small city in the Netherlands. He was born in 1996.
Give him a couple of turntables, a MacBook Pro, a mixer, a microphone, a light show and two hours and he’ll expect a minimum of £65,000 and anywhere up to £170,000 to put them to use. This isn’t meant as a diss to Martin Garrix in any way, but ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY. THOUSAND. For two hours work. Think of all the things you could buy with £170,000. The person who sets up his light show is probably getting about £25,000 a year. Garrix makes that in 20 minutes. Even if Garrix earned a relatively measly £65,000 a night for a year it would take that same light technician over 900 years to make the same amount of money. And he is 19 years old.
This is a lot of numbers, I know, but to really demonstrate the crazy amounts of money we’re discussing here it’s hard not to.
Ah, what to say about Calvin Harris? A bonny lad from a Scottish market town with a population of just over 40,000. Electro house indie kid to EDM megastar in a matter of years. A real rags to riches story. And when I say riches I mean in excess of £40,000,000 a year.
Harris is slightly different to Garrix inasmuch as, as well as all the DJ shows he does, he also produces for some of the biggest pop stars in the world. However, even aside from all his production stuff, Calvin can pull in £250,000 for a 2 hour set. It’s difficult to get your head around numbers like that.
The aforementioned Dancing Astronaut piece reckoned Jimi Hendrix earned the equivalent of £92,400 for his legendary headlining spot at Woodstock in 1969. Given the historical impact of that set, compared to a random forgettable Las Vegas show from Calvin Harris, the amount that DJ fees have spun out of control is clear. But I’m writing this bitterly as someone writing about how much they earn – I’m just jealous really... Aren’t we all?