Forbes highest earning DJs in the world: Calvin Harris tops list dominated by men

Another top-earners list highlights pay disparity between men and women

Heather Saul
Tuesday 23 August 2016 08:52
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Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris

Like many of the highest paid lists compiled for some of the world’s most coveted jobs, one thing is distinctly lacking from the top 10 list of DJs: women.

Forbes has released its annual Electronic Cash Kings list of the top-earning EDM artists who earned a combined total of $250 million this year thanks to their music, gigs and lucrative brand endorsements.

Leading the list of the top-earning DJs are familiar names including Calvin Harris at number one, followed by Tiesto and David Guetta.

The top 10 and their individual earnings are listed in the gallery below. Spoiler: none of them are female.

The highest earning female DJ group, Nervo, fell well short of the top 10 with total earnings of $10m. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike came in at number 10 after earning a third more than their female counterparts.

Nervo co-wrote David Guetta’s 2009 Grammy-winning hit, "When Love Takes Over".

Ryan Mac, who helped compile the list for Forbes, told the Independent: “We’ve never had a woman actually crack the rankings ever and I think this is the fifth time we have compiled it.

“The actual list measures earning over 12 month period. There is nothing really subjective about it; it’s really just who pulled in the most money from a 12 month period - 1 June 2015 to 1 June 2016. We do take a look at a lot of female DJs and groups - Nervo was one example. They earned more than 10m this year, but it’s just not enough to crack the top, and they are the highest earning.

“I’m not doing to the bookings so I really couldn't say, but if you look at where earnings are being given it's often at things like a Las Vegas residency where guys can get paid $200,000 per night and they do three or four shows a month. There are not a lot of women who have those residencies - Nervo, Krewella, but most are usually given to male DJs. If you look at festivals, a lot of female DJs aren't headlining or toplining. This year it was big that Anna Lunoe was the first solo women to headline Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Alison Wonderland played the mainstage. It’s 2016 and it’s the first time that has happened. That’s bizarre to me.”

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