Calvin Harris and Tiësto find themselves ranked by Forbes… again. Both forces currently occupy the top spots of this year’s highest paid DJs list while Calvin, who owned number one, had also been named one of the top-earning celebrities under 30. Now the fat-pocketed EDM stars land on a list surrounded by the biggest names in music.
Forbes “World’s Highest Paid Musicians 2013″ has Madonna at the helm with yearly earnings of $125 million (due to a ruling that makes Michael Jackson and his $160 million ineligible), Lady Gaga fills the two spot with $80 million, and Bon Jovi ranks a close third at $79 million. Legends such as Elton John and Coldplay along with pop and rock stars make up the majority of the list while other genres have only a few figures ranked.
Country has four representatives including the likes of Toby Keith and Taylor Swift, hip-hop holds place with three ranked moguls in Diddy, Jay Z, and Dr. Dre… and then there’s dance music. With two iconic DJs, dance’s presence is fortified by Calvin Harris at 14 with $46 million and Tiësto at 26 with $32 million.
To put dance music’s place on Forbes world’s highest paid musicians of 2013 list into better perspective: the genre is only one member short of matching an international triumvirate such as hip-hop’s, Calvin Harris ranked higher than Jay Z in a year that had the rapper-gone-businessman emerge as a full-on tycoon, and Tiësto tied Pink to extend the list after a year of arena-shaking and album-dropping.
We often speak of the state of EDM in Las Vegas, but it is not as often that we are able to hear the state of the Vegas from some of its biggest proponents. Showing just how integral dance music is to corporate interests, Forbes has released a series of short interviews with Steve Angello, Armin van Buuren, Steve Aoki, and Angel Management Group (of Hakkasan)’s CEO, Neil Moffitt, and several others. They talk about everything from “how it used to be,” to why they love the way Vegas is now, to its future and plans for expansion outside of Nevada.
Speculations around how much money DJs make aren’t uncommon, but they are often misleading. While Forbes dance music related coverage hasn’t always been accurate, their financial figures are more trustworthy. In one of their many celebrity lists the magazine has revealed Calvin Harris as their fourth top-earning celebrity under 30 with a cool $46 million. Harris is in good company, coming in just after three of the biggest household music names in the world: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. This number could also serve as a barometer for guesstimating the annual incomes of other big names in the dance music industry.
Last August, Forbes released a list of The World’s Highest-Paid DJs, which you can see here.
Calvin Harris has been on a tear in 2013, amidst a Las Vegas residency and breaking records previously held by the likes of Michael Jackson, Calvin also sat down with Forbes to open up about the years leading up to attaining his superstar status. Speaking from Hakkasan where he was moments away from headlining one of the many summer parties, he touched upon leaving school and working at supermarkets before finding his passion for music. Saving up money and experimenting with sound, the now-superstar connected with his future manager on MySpace and immediately signed a record deal. Calvin also touches upon his musical transition, going from singing on his records early on to focusing on productions moving into 2011. He goes on to speak in depth about his reinvention and how it was made possible in America.
You can always count on the mau5-masked crusader for insightful and honest commentary. In a candid interview with the editorial director of Billboard, Deadmau5 discusses the state of EDM, DJ Sneak, his mom, Forbes’ highest-paid DJs list, and more. When asked whether he feels protective of the genre he said,
“Scenes don’t evolve. There is no electronic music scene that has just kind of done this and done all that. Otherwise…DJ Sneak would be doing really cool shit right now. [He] came in today, 2o years laters, and says, ‘Yo. Fuck all this shit. This isn’t real house music.’ Yes, we know it was a 909 and a this and an old sample, great. That was a scene and that had a scene but you can’t drag that on and superimpose that onto what’s been moved and changed. What do you go down to a fucking river and beat your clothes on a rock and you’re gonna hate on me because I use a washing machine. Scenes aren’t too important to me.”
Deadmau5 reminds us in this interview that while he may sometimes make inflammatory statements, he usually has a point.
“I have some thoughts on that.” – Deadmau5
Click past the break for part two of the interview.
Forbes is the latest major publication to weigh in on the house music phenomenon, and according to them, it is “here to stay and profitable.” They discuss the evolution of the genre from 1980s Chicago clubs to the mainstream crossover, which they accredit to a previous affinity for “hip-hop music with loud bass” — and call house music a “natural progression.” They astutely point out that “technology has had a profound impact” on EDM, including the advent of cheaper production software and social media. Forbes has even compiled its own list of “the world’s greatest DJs,” but they have wisely decided not to dish out formal rankings. It’s an interesting mix of talent new and old, including Tiesto at number four and Fatboy Slim — seriously — at nine. (If you’re looking for an EDM ranking list, we’ve got you covered, obviously.)
The rest of the article is full of generalized statements without much substance, but the fact that a magazine like Forbes is finally weighing in on the crazy is a major sign of the times. It joins the ranks of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and even the Huffington Post that have all written stories about the meteoric rise of this new industry in the past few years. Of course, we’re thrilled that mainstream media is finally appreciating what we’ve been raving about for years, but we’re also here to reassure you that Dancing Astronaut isn’t going anywhere any time soon.