DJ’ing may seem like a fairly elusive ‘dark art’ to most. With the age-old meme of ‘what do DJs even do?’ you may wonder just how much money does a DJ make?
Well, here’s the thing:
Like every profession, the amount of money a DJ makes wildly differs from one DJ to the next. While the amount of money that DJs make varies, it is quite possible to estimate the amount of money different types of professional DJs make based on their experience.
In this post, we will give you an insight into the amount of money a DJ makes, along with a short list of some of the highest paid DJs of all time.
DJ Earnings Per Region
In the USA, most professional DJs earn $13.27 per hour. The average yearly earnings of American DJs range from $25,000 to $26,0000 per year. The top 10% make more than $40,000 annually, while the bottom 10% makes $15,000 – $17,000 annually.
Moreover, DJs in California have the highest annual earnings compared to those in other states. California DJs earn an average of $27,000 to $28,000 per year. While the US has some well-paid DJs, Canadian DJs have a higher annual salary than US DJs. The salary ranges from $30,000 – $54,000. Apart from that, the hourly rate for DJing gigs in Canada is around $27.
Across the pond, European and UK-based DJs earn an average of around £30,000, per year (around $35,000 USD).
DJ Earnings Based on Gigs
Well, the million-dollar question is; how much do DJs make from different gigs?
Most DJs usually specialize in certain types of gigs based on their personal preferences. For instance, some DJs might prefer nightclub gigs to festivals, while others may prefer wedding gigs to corporate gigs.
But here is the thing: the hourly pay differs from one gig to another, depending on the experience of the DJ and the type of event.
Below, we have listed different types of DJs who work on different types of gigs to give you an insight into the average amount of money that a DJ makes:
How Much Do Wedding DJs Make?
A wedding DJ mixes and plays songs at a wedding to keep everyone entertained. Since most weddings are usually hosted from May to September, wedding DJs can are able to land a number of gigs throughout the wedding period.
On average, a DJ can take home around $500 – $700 per wedding gig, provided they don’t have to hire any extra equipment out of their own pocket. Wedding DJs can also be paid extra money to take on extra roles, such as being the master of the ceremony.
In some situations, wedding DJs can earn around $2000 from one wedding gig.
How Much Do Club DJs Make?
Club gigs are some of the most common and popular gigs. Due to this, many club DJs can make a lot of money, especially if they are well recognized. The amount of money a club DJ makes in an event differs from club to another. However, the figures range between $100 to $500 per gig, depending on the experience of the DJ.
Popular EDM DJs might earn more money than regular nightclub DJs. They can also attract a large audience, making it easier for event organizers to turn a profit. Well-known club DJs make about $10,000 to $20,000 per nightclub gig.
While some clubs might offer gigs to DJs regularly, other clubs prefer hiring a permanent DJ. Resident DJ salaries range from $17,000 to $77,000.
The amount of money a DJ can make from clubs also depends on the club’s location. For example, clubs in London have a high recruitment rate than smaller cities in the UK. In a single night, a DJ in London can get paid about £20 – £49.
How Much Do Mobile DJs Make?
Mobile gigs are suitable and ideal for mobile DJs. As the name hints, mobile DJs are DJs who play music at different events — they are always on the move.
Some mobile DJs often carry every piece of equipment that might be required at the venue. This includes:
- DJ speakers
- DJ controllers
- DJ mixers
- DJ lighting
- DJ tables and DJ laptop stands
Hiring mobile DJs that supply their own equipment is more expensive than hiring a DJ that doesn’t carry his/her equipment.
However, most mobile DJs are paid $100 – $5000 to play music at a certain event.
How Much Do Radio DJs Make?
While some Radio stations might invite a freelance professional DJ to play music, most radio stations prefer hiring DJs for full-time roles. That said, the annual salary of professional radio DJs ranges from $30,000 to $48,000, depending on the experience of the DJ. More popular DJs make more money because they have a huge fanbase.
Who Are The Top Paid Professional DJs Of All Time?
With a net worth of about $300 million, Calvin Harris is one of the highest-paid professional DJs in the world. Calvin Harris also produces music for other artists and writes his own songs. He makes around $40 million a year.
Calvin Harris has built a fortune out of his career thanks to multiple music income streams. As an EDM DJ who is internationally recognized, Calvin often travels from one country to another, performing in multiple concerts.
In 2013, Calvin Harris worked with the Hakkasan group, which pays $400,000 per single gig, while in Las Vegas. He continued his partnership with the Hakkasan group in the following years and remained as a resident DJ.
Calvin also earns money from music royalties. In 2011, one of his songs, “We Found Love” by Calvin Harris and Rihanna, surpassed the one million sales mark. Calvin Harris also works with various brands and endorses their campaigns at a certain fee. Most brands pay him around $4 million to participate in an endorsement campaign.
Like Calvin Harris, Tiesto is an EDM DJ who produces music tracks. He has a net worth of $170 million and rakes in $40 million per annum from different income streams. A certain percentage of his income is generated from album sales and album-related opportunities. After launching his 4th studio album, Tiesto toured the world and made $30 million from the album tour.
Club DJ residency is another example of an income stream that boosts his annual earnings. In 2021, Tiesto made around $250,000 per set after he secured a DJ residency at Resort Worlds. Brands such as Microsoft, Reebok, Audiofly, 7UP, and Skoda have partnered up with Tiesto on various endorsement campaigns.
Since Tiesto’s Youtube Channel generates more than 50 million views a month, Tiesto also brings in a lot of money from Youtube.
Also known as the grandfather of EDM, David Guetta is a talented DJ with a net worth of $140 million. He cashes in around $20-$40 million in a year. A significant percentage of his net worth is attributed to his major record deal in 2021.
Warner Music bought David’s recorded music catalog rights for $100 million in June 2021. David Guetta also performs in concerts on different continents. For example, according to Forbes, David Guetta made $25 million in 2017 after performing in Asia, Europe, Africa, and America.
Due to his influence and popularity, David Guetta has been involved in multiple endorsement campaigns launched by brands such as HP, Renault, Apple, and Mumm.
With an estimated net worth of around $120 million, Steve Aoki is one of the highest paid DJs of our time. Steve Aoki has worked with artists in different genres, such as Backstreet Boys, Lil Jon, Fall Out Boy, and Linkin Park. In a single year, Steve Aoki participates in around 200 shows, which generate significant income from ticket sales and other deals.
While Steve Aoki is a DJ, he is also an entrepreneur with different businesses. Aoki has a clothing line company — The Dim Mak Collection — that makes it easier for him to earn an extra buck, and he is also actively participating in the NFT collectors space.