Marshmello at Ultra Mexico 2018

IMS Report shows rebound for high-earning DJs across 2019

2020 may have been a bit of a shocker to say the least, but the newly released IMS Business Report 2020 shows that the industry was in a state of rebound throughout 2019, based on the earnings of the highest paid DJs, along with the sheer number of festivals touring DJs played across the year.

In terms of earnings, 2018 saw a dip after the peak of the previous year, with the top ten highest paid DJs earning $298 million in total in 2017, compared to $261 million in 2018. The trend was reversed in 2019, shooting back up to $278 million, a modest 4% year-on-year increase, but certainly a clear upwards trend and similar to earnings in 2014-15. Not surprisingly, it was the big-name mainstream American DJs who account for the lions-share, with The Chainsmokers taking home the most dough at $46 million, with masked-star Marshmello taking home $40 million, thanks largely to his reported $60 million two-year deal with Las Vegas venue Kaos.

Of course, ask any DJ and they’ll tell you its not all about the money, and most won’t be lying. It’s all about getting out there in front of the fans, and on that front the IMS report shows there have been some staggeringly punishing schedules put in by 2019’s most prolific tourers. Taking in festival data from Festicket’s “Festival Heroes” analysis, the top spot goes to Lost Frequencies, who played 49 festivals across more than 21 countries – not just a record for a DJ, it’s also more festival showings than any other live act in the Festicket data. Elsewhere, Charlotte de Witte may have gained a reputation for a busy schedule in 2018 with 24 festivals under her belt, but she made this look almost lazy in comparison to her 39 festival appearances in 2019, a full 50% increase, along with countless other club shows. Fellow techno-queen Amelie Lens wasn’t far behind either with 28 festivals, while EDM is still clearly alive and kicking as the top five also includes Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike at 28, and Martin Garrix with 26.

2020 will certainly be one to forget, but if the trend manages to pick up in 2021 where 2019 left off, it bodes well for the future. Read the full IMS Business Report here.

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