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Calvin Harris’ $46M Year Makes Him 2013’s ‘Electronic Cash King’

Scottish DJ outdid Tiësto's 2012 high by more than double, says Forbes list

picture-18547-1390524318Kyle McGovern // August 15, 2013

Calvin Harris has been crowned the new “Electronic Cash King” which, no, is not a reference to his ATM withdrawal prowess. Forbes dropped its annual list of the highest-paid DJs in the world on Wednesday (August 14), and the Scottish superstar came out on top, reportedly earning $46 million per year with nightly fees exceeding $200,000. The financial mag attributes Harris’ liquidity to chart-dominating singles he wrote for Rihanna (most notably “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been”), as well as a sizable publishing advance. 

“The rise of dance music has been astronomical in the last three years,” said Harris, who also ranked among the 10 Top-Earning Celebrities Under 30. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time.” 

Not only did the 18 Months star rake in more dosh than non-EDM titans like Jay Z and Katy Perry this year, but his impressive total is more than double what last year’s list-topper scored. As SPIN noted last August, Tiësto out-earned every other DJ with a $22 million income in 2012. This time around, the Dutch-born producer finished second, but still trounced his previous plateau with a $32 million salary. So this is what it looks like before a bubble bursts

The rest of the top five reads as such: David Guetta came in third with $30 million, besting his 2012 figure of $13.5 million via lucrative live shows and collaborations with the Black Eyed Peas and Usher; Swedish House Mafia’s farewell tour helped the now-defunct trio hit the $25 million mark, a dramatic increase over last year’s $14 million; and industry curmudgeon Deadmau5 placed fifth with $21 million, up from $11.5 million.

Forbes rounded out the countdown with respectable totals from Avicii ($20 million), Afrojack ($18 million), Armin van Buuren ($17 million), Skrillex ($16 million), Kaskade ($16 million), Steve Aoki ($14 million), the Jersey Shore’s DJ Pauly D ($13 million), and Diplo ($13 million). Find the full list below.

Forbes’ 12 Highest-Paids DJs in 2013: 

1. Calvin Harris, $46 million 
2. Tiësto, $32 million 
3. David Guetta, $30 million 
4. Swedish House Mafia, $25 million 
5. Deadmau5, $21 million 
6. Avicii, $20 million 
7. Afrojack, $18 million 
8. Armin van Buuren, $17 million 
9. Skrillex, $16 million (tie) 
9. Kaskade, $16 million (tie) 
11. Steve Aoki, $14 million 
12. DJ Pauly D, $13 million (tie)
12. Diplo, $13 million (tie)