Who Is the World’s Highest Paid DJ?

The Chainsmokers and Marshmello break into Forbes' Top 10 list, joining Calvin Harris, Diplo, and Skrillex.

Patrick Greenby Patrick Green
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Rhianna may have clowned Diplo by calling one of his tracks an “airport reggae song”, but the Mad Decent DJ is the one laughing all the way to the bank, having pulled in $28.5 million in 2017.

Forbes has released its annual list of the top 10 highest paid DJs, who earned a collective (gasp) $298 million this year, up from $270.5 million in 2016. 

Also: James Van Der Beek To Star As Diplo In New Viceland Comedy Series

Much of that bump can be attributed to two newcomers to the Forbes list, who also happen to be two of EDM’s most beloved and hated figures, Marshmello, a dude in a puffy white Marshmallow mask made $21 million dollars last year, while the dynamic douche duo, the Chainsmokers racked up $38 million. 

For the fifth consecutive year, Calvin Harris is at the top of the list, despite his earnings dropping from nearly $15 million (he earned $63 million in 2016).

Harris has set the standard for superstar DJs, setting up lucrative Las Vegas performance residencies, headlining music festivals, and producing songs like his current mega hit, “Feels,” featuring Pharrell Williams, Big Sean and Katy Perry.

Last note. To no one’s surprise the Forbes list lacks diversity — all of the top 10 earning DJs are white guys, outside of Steve Aoki, who is half-Japanese. Go to Forbes to read the full article. 

Top 10 Highest Paid DJs of 2017

1. Calvin Harris ($48,500,000)
2. Tiesto ($39,000,000)
3. The Chainsmokers ($38,000,000)
4. Skrillex ($30,000,000)
5. Steve Aoki ($29,500,000)
6. Diplo ($28,500,000)
7. David Guetta ($25,000,000)
8. Marshmello ($21,000,000)
9. Martin Garrix ($19,500,000)
10. Zedd ($19,000,000)


Patrick Green is Crave’s music editor. Follow the LA-based writer/director’s tales, lies, and exaggerations @ByPatrickGreen on TwitterVimeoInstagram