Music is what makes the world go round, and the popular music scene now seems to be dominated by the DJs. These professionals create the most appealing versions of music which are loved more than the original scores by the artists. No wonder then that most popular singers collaborate with the top DJs to release their originals or popular remix versions. What at one time was an offshoot or subsidiary of the original music industry, has now become mainstream. No wonder, these DJs are as much respected as the original artists, musicians and are now raking up money by the millions.
Here is a list of top wealthiest DJs, many of whom have worked for decades and a few who are young upshots who made it to the top within a few years. Enjoy this list of the top 10 richest DJs in the world in 2018-2019.
#10. Martin Garrix (Net Worth – $45 Million)
Martin Garrix is a Dutch DJ, musician and record producer who was ranked #1 by DJ Mag for the last two years and has been ranked by Forbes in the top 10 amongst world’s highest paid DJs in 2018. His real name is Martijn Gerard Garritsen, and he was born on 14 May 1996 in the Netherlands. In 2004, at the age of 8, he was inspired to become DJ after watching DJ Tiesto perform at the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in Athens. He also considers DJ Calvin Harris as his mentor. In 2012 he released “Error 404”, under the label Spinnin’ Records, and in 2013 he co-released “Torrent” with Sidney Samson on Tiësto’s Musical Freedom label. His release “Animals” became a hit to make him the youngest person to reach No. 1 on Beatport. Later he a remix of “Project T” which climbed to #1 on the Beatport charts. “Wizard” was his next release. He debuted at #40 in the DJ Magazine’s top 100 DJs list.
In 2014 Martin Garrix’s collaboration with Firebeatz, “Helicopter”, became #1 on the Beatport Top 100 charts. That year he also released the Sensation 2014 anthem “Tremor”, his debut EP Gold Skies, which had his first vocal track; and collaborated with several top artists including Afrojack. He climbed to #4 spot on DJ Magazine’s top 100 DJs list.
In 2015 released the track “Forbidden Voices” on Facebook as a gift for 10 million likes on his He also released the single “Don’t Look Down” featuring Usher which peaked at #3 Billboard Dance Club Songs. The track “Rewind Repeat It” was a collaboration with multi-Grammy winner Ed Sheeran. He released a track with Tiësto, called “The Only Way Is Up” and an EP Break through the Silence. His last track of the year was “Bouncybob”.
In 2016, Garrix launched his record label called Stmpd Rcrds, and released his single “Now That I’ve Found You”. Later he released his second single “Lions in the Wild”. In July, he signed a contract with Sony Music. He later released the track “In the Name of Love”. In October he released seven songs for seven days and uploaded them on his YouTube channel. DJ Mag’s annual Top 100 DJs poll voted Garrix as the world’s top DJ, the youngest ever at 20, and the trophy was presented by his mentor and four-time winner of the award Tiësto. He also won the “Best Electronic Act” and “Best World Stage Performance” awards at the MTV European Music Awards 2016. In November 2016, Garrix had his India tour with a charity show in Mumbai to help educate 10,000 Indian children.
In 2017, Garrix released singles like “Scared to Be Lonely” and Byte. He got a residency for the 2017 season at Hï Ibiza. He also became a model, for the face of Armani Exchange. Garrix premiered the song “So Far Away”, a collaboration with David Guetta, and his solo track “Pizza at the Tomorrowland 2017 festival. Garrix, with earnings of $19.5 million, was listed in Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid DJs 2017 ranking. He closed the year with the song “Boomerang”, and “So Far Away” with David Guetta.
In 2018, Garrix released his collaboration with David Guetta and with Brooks on the song “Like I Do”. He performed in the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Game in South Korea. Later in the year, he released his collaboration with Loopers, “Game Over”, a collaboration with American R&B singer Khalid, “Ocean”, and the single “High On Life”, a collaboration with singer Bonn. He became a resident DJ at Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel and at other venues later. In August 2018, he released a new song, “X’s”; and in September released “Burn Out”. To his credit, he has bagged a top ten ranking in the Forbes’ List of Highest Paid DJs in 2018.
#9. Marshmello (Net Worth – $50 Million)
Marshmello is now a top American DJ and producer of EDM. Initially, Marshmello has kept his identity a secret. His stage name Marshmello is derived from marshmallow and he hides his face in a custom made helmet. In June 2017, Marshmello featured in Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid DJs with earnings of $21 million. It was later confirmed by Forbes in November 2017 that he is Chris Comstock, aka Dotcom.
Christopher Comstock was born on May 19, 1992. He started his career in 2015 with his first original song “Wavez” and posted it on his SoundCloud page. He became famous in 2016 after releasing his debut studio album Joytime which peaked at #5 on the US Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The same year he released Alone for record label Monstercat, which made it to the US Billboard Hot 100, and went on to be certified platinum. The music video for Alone in his YouTube channel got over 910 million views.
In 2016, Marshmello, in his Ritual Tour on Twitter, performed in several countries including China, South Korea, India, and Paraguay. He also debuted on Skrillex’s OWSLA label with a single titled Ritual. He also started his own record label Joytime Collective. Marshmello collaborated with Ookay for Chasing Colors which had vocals by Noah Cyrus; he collaborated with Slushii for Twinbow.
His third single Moving On was released in May 2017. In 2017, he collaborated with Khalid in Silence and with Selena Gomez in Wolves. He also released his single You & Me through his own label Joytime Collective. The official video on his YouTube channel got more than 35 million views.
In 2018, he released Friends with Anne-Marie, and his second studio album, Joytime II. He also released Spotlight – a collaboration he had with deceased rapper Lil Peep. He collaborated with Slushii for There ×2, with rapper Logic for Everyday, with rapper Juicy J in You Can Cry and with British pop band Bastille for Happier.
#8. Diplo (Net Worth – $75 Million)
Diplo is one of the top American DJ and music composer, who wears many hats. He owns the record label Mad Decent, and also owns a studio in Philadelphia, called The Mausoleum. He was a part of the Major Lazer with Switch and was also one of electronic duo Jack Ü with DJ Skrillex. There are hardly any popular artistes left with who he has not worked. He has produced mixtape projects with Madonna, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shakira, Beyonce and many more.
Diplo was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on November 10, 1978. His real name is Thomas Wesley Pentz. He gave himself the nick name Diplo, from a friendly dinosaurs breed called Diplodocus. While still studying in Philadelphia he worked as DJ for parties. In 2003, he released his mix-tapes under the name Hooked on Hollertronix, which reached the top of the charts. In 2004, he collaborated with the rapper M.I.A. and also became her tour DJ. In 2005 he worked with DJ Switch to create Paper Planes which peaked at #4 position in the Billboard 100 and was nominated for a Grammy.
Diplo became a producer and collaborated with top artists like Shakira, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg, and several more. He brought the favela music, and dance-funk group Bonde do Rolê from Brazil to the US. In 2015, Diplo released his single Be Right There, which was streamed over a million times on Spotify. The same year his third album from Major Lazer, had a single Lean On, which became the Most Streamed Song of All Time with over 800 million streams on Spotify and the YouTube video had more than 2 billion views. In 2016, Diplo had produced two tracks, in Beyonce’s album Lemonade which became the #1 album on US Billboard. Same year Jack Ü, with DJ Skrillex won two Grammy Awards for Best Dance Album. In 2018 his album titled Music is the Weapon is awaiting release.
#7. The Chainsmokers (Net Worth – $90 Million)
The Chainsmokers is a team of two DJs Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart. The Chainsmokers were initially comprised of Pall and former DJ Rhett Bixler. The latter left the group and Taggart joined in 2012. Alexander “Alex” Pall, 33, was born on May 16, 1985, in New York; while Andrew “Drew” Taggart, 28, was born on December 31, 1989, in Maine. They started with making remixes and that year they collaborated with Indian actress and artist Priyanka Chopra on the single “Erase”. This was followed in 2013 with “The Rookie”.
They became famous with their 2014 single #Selfie, charted internationally and peaked on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart. In 2015 they released their debut EP, Bouquet, which featured the single “Roses” which became a commercial success and was certified multiplatinum in several countries while reaching the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Another single “Don’t Let Me Down” reached the Top Five and won the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. In 2016, their single “Closer” became the #1 on the charts. The duo also released their second EP, Collage. They also released a single “Don’t Let Me Down”, and then another single, “Inside Out”.
In 2017, the duo released “Paris” which went on to be certified gold in Canada and US and was streamed 270 million on Spotify. The same year they also released their studio album, Memories…Do Not Open, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, and went on to be certified platinum. In 2017, The Chainsmokers with earnings of $38 million, took the third rank on Forbes’ World’s Highest Paid DJs list.
In 2018, The Chainsmokers released their single, “Sick Boy” and a month later, “You Owe Me”, and then “Everybody Hates Me” in March; while in April they released the fourth single of their monthly releases, “Somebody”. Billboard named The Chainsmokers as #1 on their 2018 ranking of dance musicians, Billboard Dance 100. In July, they released their fifth single of the year – “Side Effects”. In 2018, with earnings of $45.5 million, they captured the #2 spot on Forbes; List of World’s Highest Paid DJs in 2018.
#6. Zedd (Net Worth – $105 Million)
Zedd, is a Russo-German DJ, songwriter, music record producer, and multi-instrumentalist whose real name is Anton Zaslavski. He was born on September 2, 1989, in Russia, but grew up in Germany. He is a classically trained musician and both his parents were musicians. At the age of 14, he played for the German band Dioramic. In 2010, his first original release, “The Anthem”, ranked at 20 in the Beatport Electro house chart along with his remix of Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. He then went on to produce remixes of famous artists like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and others.
In 2011, Zedd’s remix of Lady Gaga’s track, Born This Way, appeared on the special edition of her album. In 2011, he released his single “Shave It Up”, and followed it with “Slam the Door” and “Shotgun”. In 2012, Zedd released his single – “Spectrum”, which reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs. He also produced and co-wrote for Justin Bieber‘s third studio album, Believe. In 2012, he released his debut studio album, Clarity, which had “Spectrum” as the album’s lead single. It reached the top 10 of Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum. It also earned him a Grammy for Best Dance Recording at the 56th Grammy Awards. He also had his first worldwide tour across five continents. His single “Stay the Night” reached the top 20 of Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum.
In 2014, Ariana Grande’s song with Zedd, “Break Free”, reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. In 2015, Zedd released his collaboration with Selena Gomez, “I Want You to Know” which was co-written by him. It became #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs and was in Top 20 of Billboard Hot 100, and was certified platinum. He also released his second single, “Beautiful Now” and album True Colors. The album reached #1 spot on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Albums. He also toured Asia, North America, and Europe.
In 2016, Zedd released the single “Candyman” and was featured in “Starving”. In 2017, Zedd released his single “Get Low”. In 2018, he released his single “The Middle”, which became #1 on Billboard Pop Songs and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. He was also ranked at #7 on Billboard 2018 ranking of dance musicians. In August 2018, he released his single “Happy Now”. He has been ranked sixth on the Forbes’ list of Highest Paid DJ’s of 2018.
#5. Kaskade (Net Worth – $145 Million)
Kaskade, the top DJ, remixer and record producer had been voted way back in 2011 and 2013 as America’s Best DJ. His real name is Ryan Gary Raddon, and he was born on February 25, 1971, in Chicago. Since his teenage years, he was very keen on music. While in school he had a record store and also practiced his DJ skills.
In 1995, Raddon started DJing at a local club. In 2000, he shifted base to San Francisco and began working at OM records; where in his spare time he did his DJing and creating music. He took the stage name of Kaskade. He made his third mixtape and got an offer for a three-album contract. His first was, It’s You It’s Me. This release made him famous, and he received Dance Star’s Best New Artist nomination. His singles continued to become popular, and his fourth single from the album “Everything” reached # 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play.
Love Mysterious was Kaskade’s fourth solo album released in 2006, and the first single “Be Still” peaked at # 4 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot Dance Club Play. Other singles from t6he album also reached the top ten spots. In 2008, Kaskade’s collaboration with DJ deadmau5 – Move for Me, reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart and was his fifth single to reach Top Ten. His other singles like “Angel on My Shoulder” and “Step One Two” also reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart.
In 2010, his Dynasty reached #1 on Billboard Hot Dance Airplay. In 2012, to boost his album Fire & Ice, Kaskade started the “Freaks of Nature” tour. In 2013, for his album Atmosphere, Kaskade was nominated for two Grammy Awards – Best Dance Recording and the Best Dance/Electronica Album. In 2014, Kaskade, with earnings of $17 million, was listed in the Top 10 highest paid DJ by Forbes. In 2015, his album Automatic was released which had collaboration with several famous artists. In 2017, during Christmas time, Kaskade released his album – Kaskade Christmas. Several of Kaskade’s creations have been used in video games. He featured in the Forbes’ list of Highest Paid DJs in 2018.
#4. David Guetta (Net Worth – $165 Million)
David Guetta was one of the first DJ to get into the EDM scene and is known as the Grandfather of EDM. He is a French DJ, songwriter, remixer and record producer. His full name is Pierre David Guetta, and he was born on born 7 November 1967 in Paris. Guetta began his career as DJ in 1984 at the Broad Club in Paris. In 1988 he began hosting his own club nights. In 1990, he released the hip-hop collaboration – Nation Rap. In 1994 Guetta’s second single, Up & Away was released. In 2001, Guetta co-founded Gum Productions, and in the same year, Guetta’s first hit single was released. In 2002 he released his debut album – Just a Little More Love. In 2004, he released Guetta Blaster.
In 2007, Guetta’s third album Pop Life was released which sold 530,000 copies worldwide. The lead single “Love Is Gone” reached Number 1 on the American Dance Chart. Guetta became famous worldwide with his 2009 album One Love which included the hit singles which reached #1 in the UK. In 2011, Guetta’s fifth studio album, Nothing but the Beat was released. The album featured hit singles with Snoop Dogg and Nicki Minaj. It was a big success. There was a re-release called Nothing but the Beat 2.0 in 2012. Guetta also wrote, produced, and featured on Rihanna’s seventh studio album. He also created a new record label known as Jack Back Records. Guetta co-wrote and produced for Lady Gaga’s third studio album Artpop, and Britney Spears’ eighth studio album Britney Jean.
In 2014, Guetta released a remix of Avicii’s track- Addicted to You; his remix of Afrojack’s single “Ten Feet Tall”, and many more singles in collaboration with several artists. He also released his sixth studio album – Listen, which had his collaborations with Sia, Afrojack, Nicki Minaj and many more. In 2015, Guetta re-released Listen as Listen Again with new singles. In 2016, Guetta released a single titled “No Worries” and later an extended mix of his song “Pelican”. He also released a new single – Would I Lie to You – on his Jack Back Records label. That year he collaborated with German DJ Robin Schulz on “Shed a Light” which went on to become Gold and Platinum.
In 2017, in his fourth collaboration with Nicki Minaj, he released his single – Light My Body Up. Then came his collaboration with Dutch DJ Afrojack – Another Life. Later his single “2U” featuring Justin Bieber was released, which turned into Gold and Multi-Platinum. Guetta also released a remix version of “Versace on the Floor” by Bruno Mars. Later in 2017, Guetta and Afrojack released their single “Dirty Sexy Money”, which was a single from Guetta’s seventh studio album. Guetta then released his long-awaited single “So Far Away”.
In 2018 Guetta and Sia’s sixth collaboration, a remix version of Sia’s Helium along with Afrojack was released. He also released his new song “Mad Love”, then his second collaboration with Martin Garrix and Dutch DJ Brooks – Like I Do; and later his seventh collaboration with Sia – Flames; was released. His seventh album, called 7, is also due for release which will feature his hit singles and several collaborations with top artists like Nicki Minaj and Sia. Despite being the seniormost DJ, Guetta is very much active, far more than his younger counterparts.
#3. Steve Aoki (Net Worth – $185 million)
Steve Aoki is one of the top award winning and most awarded DJ and also an EDM producer. He has his own label, Dim Mak Records. Aoki uses certain trademark crowd stunts on the dance floor such as throwing cakes, spraying champagne and riding rafts. He performs an average of 250 shows in a year with several artists. Several of his tracks have been used in films, documentaries, video games, festivals and events, and in commercials.
Steve Aoki’s full name is Steven Hiroyuki Aoki, and he was born on November 30, 1977, in Miami. He grew up in California and did a double major from the University of California. He started his indie label Dim Mak in 1996 and produced several CDs of his music. Aoki’s debut mix album, Pillowface, and His Airplane Chronicles was released in January 2008. Aoki has made remixed for several top artists like Eminem, The Jackson 5, Kanye West, and many more. In 2009, his remix single – Forever – featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem made it to the top of the chart.
In 2012, Aoki became the highest grossing dance artist in North America. That year Aoki released his first solo album, Wonderland. It featured vocalists and musicians like LMFAO, Kid Cudi, Kay, Travis Barker, Wynter Gordon, Rivers Cuomo, Lil Jon, and many more. In December, the same year, he released his first EP. It was called It’s the End of the World As We Know It. At the 2013 55th Annual Grammy Awards, Aoki was nominated for Best Dance/Electronica Album for Wonderland.
In 2013, Aoki released his remix album, Recharged, which had a song – A Light That Never Comes – that was in collaboration with Linkin Park, which was used in the film Expendables. In 2014, Aoki’s Neon Future I was released. It reached # 32 on the Billboard 200, and No. 1 on Dance/Electronic Albums in the US. Neon Future II was released in 2015, and also featured Snoop Lion and Rivers Cuomo among others. It reached #2 spot on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The tracks were featured in the Sci-fi thriller film The Hive, for which he also created the soundtrack and was also an executive producer.
In 2017, Aoki’s fourth studio album, Steve Aoki Presents Kolony, was released. He also produced a remix of Korean group BTS’s song “Mic Drop” featuring rapper Desiigner. In 2018, Aoki released EP titled 5OKI which had five tracks; Mayhem, Pika Pika, It’s Time, Anthem and Moshi Moshi. Later in 2018 he released a new single – Pretender and Lie To Me. He also announced the release of his new album Neon Future III.
#2. Tiesto (Net Worth – $210 million)
Tiesto is considered as the Godfather of EDM and has been called the Greatest DJ of all time, the DJ of the last 20 years and more. His real name is Tijs Michiel Verwest, and he is a Dutch by birth. He was born on 17 January 1969 in Netherland. He founded his label Black Hole Recordings in 1997with Arny Bink and released CD series, the Magik and In Search of Sunrise. In 1998, he met producer Dennis Waakop Reijers and had worked with him ever since. For the next two years, under the name Gouryella, he collaborated with Ferry Corsten.
His first solo album, In My Memory, was released in 2001. This actually launched his career and was voted World No. 1 DJ from 2002 to 2004 by DJ Magazine. His second studio album was, Just Be. At the 2004 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Athens, he became the first DJ to play live on stage. In 2007, he launched his radio show Tiësto’s Club Life in the Netherlands. The same year he also released his third studio album – Elements of Life, which climbed to number one on the Billboard Top Electronic Albums in the U.S.
In 2008 he received a nomination for a Grammy Award. His next studio albums were Kaleidoscope, featuring top artists like Priscilla Ahn, Calvin Harris, Tegan & Sara and Nelly Furtado among others. His next release was – A Town Called Paradise. Tiesto won the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Tiesto has collaborated with Georgio Armani for fashion clothing. He has also been involved with several charity initiatives and philanthropic efforts. Tiesto was the first DJ to hold solo concerts. A wax statue of Tiësto is displayed at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam. Tiesto has toured extensively to several countries for his concerts including Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia, Poland, and South Africa.
#1. Calvin Harris (Net Worth – $230 million)
Calvin Harris is a Scottish DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is considered the King of Electronic Music. He has been topping the Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid DJs from 2013 to 2018. He was also in the news a few years back for dating Taylor Swift. Harris was born as Adam Richard Wiles, on 17th January 1984 in Scotland and became internationally famous in October 2012 with the release of his third studio album, 18 Months, which topped the UK charts. Harris broke the record of Michael Jackson when the ten songs from his album featured on the UK Singles Chart. His debut studio album I Created Disco was released way back in June 2007. In 2009 his second studio album, Ready for the Weekend, became number one on the UK Albums Chart.
His fourth studio album, Motion, in November 2014, opened at number five spot in the United States and became his consecutive second album to top the US Electronic Dance Music albums chart. Harris has worked with several top artists like Rihanna, with whom he was on tour; and Kylie Minogue. He owns the record label, Fly Eye Records.
Harris has been a brand ambassador for Emporio Armani, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi for a huge undisclosed amount. Calvin Harris has also supported several philanthropic causes along with fellow artists. These include children charities, shooting victims charities and for the Rohingyas in Myanmar. He continues to tour the world from Japan to Croatia, and his new single – One Kiss – topped the charts in the UK, Europe, and America. He remains the undisputed highest paid DJ in the world with his net worth exceeding $230 million.
Did you like the list? Or, are you surprised to find that many of your favorite DJs are not featured in this list? We regret that we could not include some more popular DJs like Skrillex, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Deadmau5, Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, Hardwell and a few more. True, but remember that despite the bonhomie and collaborations, it is a very competitive industry up there. Just a single deal or a new contract can change the list. Even though many DJs have had a longer career, some newer ones have given the industry a run for their money. Feel free to voice your opinion; we are listening.
Written by: Raj Kumar Hansdah