Who knew spinning records was such a lucrative profession?! According to Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid DJs in 2013, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris earned a whopping $46 million between July 2012 and July 2013 — more than Jay Z, Katy Perry, or any actress in Hollywood over a similar time period.
(Angelina Jolie — No. 1 on Forbes' Highest-Paid Actresses list for 2013 — reportedly earned $33 million between June 2012 and June 2013, while No. 2 finisher Jennifer Lawrence collected $24 million. Twilight star Kristen Stewart, meanwhile, is said to have racked up $22 million, less than half of Harris' pull.)
Harris isn't the exception to the rule, either. In second place on the "Electronic Cash Kings" list is Tijs "Tiesto" Verwest, who made $32 million over the last 12 months. Jersey Shore's DJ Pauly D got in on the action, too, earning $13 million and the No. 12 spot. (He tied with with Diplow.)
The numbers are surprising, to say the least, but Yoni Goldberg, a partner at DGI Management who represents Rev Run and DJ Ruckus, tells Us Weekly that they're not unusual. "The people on this list are defined as DJs because of the style of their performances, but they are, at their core, record producers," Goldberg explains. "The fees they're garnering are the result of world-class skill."
Those fees, by the way, can be monstrous. Goldberg notes that many DJs frequently get "six-figure fees for their performances" — but that's hardly the ceiling. "Some are able to draw upwards of $1 million for New Year's Eve," he reveals. "It's difficult to project how much the fees can continue to grow, but the DJ and EDM [Electronic Dance Music] marketplace continues to expand, so there should be optimism for continued growth."
Harris, in particular, is poised for success. "Calvin Harris earnings rise above his peers because of his ability to write top 40 style records," Goldberg tells Us. "While other artists' earnings are primarily from touring, he's sold over 25 million singles, and a substantial portion of his income comes from sales, radio, and a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. "
(In fact, Harris has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Cheryl Cole, and Rihanna, to name a few; he wrote, produced, and was featured on the latter's hit song "We Found Love." He's also behind the smash singles "I Need Your Love," featuring Ellie Goulding, and "Sweet Nothing," featuring Florence Welch.)
Harris himself is more modest about his accomplishments."The rise of dance music has been astronomical in the last three years," he told Forbes. "I happened to be in the right place at the right time."