DJs are the new rock stars? Maybe. (Although chefs are already the new rock stars.) Still, the big name DJs do seem to be living pretty large, what with the constant travel to exotic locations, goofily-clad fans, eager women, drugs and parties. Just swap MacBooks for guitars and it doesn't look so different from the way Zeppelin rolled in 1973.
See also: Why Is Everyone So Pissed About the EDM Reality Show?
What's missing, however, are album sales. Despite the genre's re-emergence in recent years to gargantuan crowds, you won't find most electronic artists on the mainstream charts, at least outside of the marquee names like Skrillex, Deadmau5, and Swedish House Mafia. Albums and singles are rarely certified at the gold and platinum levels. (Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites," which introduced a whole generation to dubstep, just recently passed a million in sales -- more than two years after its release!) And while streaming services like Spotify and Rdio are earning artists a few dimes here and there, much electronic music is given away for free online.
And yet, many EDM DJs are richer than God. From SF Weekly's Ian Port in his (excellent) story on Bassnectar:
Local promoters estimate the act earns around $75,000 to $100,000 per show, and Bassnectar plays about 150 shows a year. "I'm in the 1 percent, for sure," [he] says. "I pay a fucking sickening amount of taxes - sickening."More »