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Chris works from BRW's Sydney newsroom. He has previously written and edited in print and online for titles including The Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

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Money spinners: meet the world’s richest DJs for 2013

Published 23 August 2013 10:36, Updated 28 August 2013 16:45

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Money spinners: meet the world’s richest DJs for 2013

Calvin Harris takes home an impressive $US46 million a year.

For some it’s a hobby or a musical passion. But there’s an elite group of international DJs making very serious money filling dance floors around the world.

In the US, Forbes has posted a list of world’s dozen richest DJs, topped by Scottish producer, DJ and singer Calvin Harris, whom Forbes estimates takes home an impressive $US46 million ($51 million) a year.

Together, the top five performers on the Forbes DJ list combined earn more than $US150 million. The full list is an all-male affair, with no women featuring among dance music’s top earners.

Where rock’s wealthy elite like the Rolling Stones and AC/DC continue touring well after picking up their pension cards, DJing’s top earners are much younger. Of the top five, only two performers are over 40, with most in their early 30s.

Which is perhaps just as well, as top DJs play hundreds of nights a year.

Harris’s earnings are more than double that of Australia’s highest-paid entertainer last year, actor Russell Crowe, who topped the 2012 BRW Top 50 Entertainers list with earnings of $17.71 million.

Born Adam Wiles in Dumfries in 1984, Harris earns more, at current exchange rates, in a year than the total individual fortunes of Harry Kewell, Carolyn Creswell, Vaughan Bowen and Matt Barrie and would place him at No.38 on the 2012 BRW Young Rich list.

Here are Forbes’ Top Five Richest DJs for 2013

1. Calvin Harris – $US46 million

Harris makes his money in a variety of musical fields, but is still very much a performing turntable artist. In February he signed a deal with Las Vegas superclub Hakkasan to play 70 dates over two years. With over 75,00 square feet of floor space, Hakkasan is often touted as the biggest club in the world.

“The rise of dance music has been astronomical in the last three years,” Harris tells Forbes. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

2.Tiësto – $US32 million

Like Harris, Tiësto has a long-term gig at Hakkasan and also works producing other artists. Fifteen years older than the Scot, Dutch Tiësto was born Tijs Michiel Verwest and has notable gigs including the opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

3. David Guetta – $US30 million

45-year-old French DJ Guetta has worked with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Forbes reports he played more than 120 shows over the past year, including a weekly slot at Pacha on Ibiza. He’s sold over 6 million albums worldwide. Guetta has been the subject of several online death report hoaxes.

4. Swedish House Mafia – $US25 million

Frequently mentioned alongside TV shows like The Killing as part of the current global interest in all things Scandinavian and incredibly popular in their own right, the Swedish trio of Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello called it a day in March. Members of the group are now pursuing solo projects.

5. Deadmau5 – $US21 million

Another Hakkasan regular, Deadmau5 plays half as many shows as his contemporaries, Forbes reports. Born Joel Zimmerman, Toronto’s Deadmau5 still commands fees of more than $US200,000 per gig, some of which goes to pay for the assortment of mouse headgear that is his trademark.

Read the full list at Forbes.com

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