The Major Lazer mastermind, 40, launched two supergroups in 2018: His Silk City project with Mark Ronson landed a best dance recording Grammy in February for the Dua Lipa track “Electricity,” and LSD, his trio with Labrinth and Sia, has amassed hundreds of millions of streams ahead of its debut LP’s April release. On the touring front, Diplo knocked out a whopping 50 shows at Wynn properties XS, Encore Beach Club and Intrigue, and he recently embarked on tours across Asia and Africa.
Top Gig of 2018: He and Ronson debuted Silk City at the 2018 Governors Ball in New York.
Notable Stat: Also last year, he completed his quest to perform in all 50 states with shows in North and South Dakota, Montana and New Hampshire.
Outlook: “I’d rather work with somebody amazing that’s unproven than be a sit-at-home producer and just wait for my manager to set up a session.” (Esquire, 2018)
6. Martin Garrix
The Dutch producer, 22, made his fifth appearance on the Hot 100 in 2018 with the Khalid-assisted “Ocean,” which peaked at No. 78. He has continued to make waves in fashion, too, serving as the face of Armani Exchange’s fall campaign and partnering with men’s grooming brand AXE to launch its AXE Music platform and Garrix’s own limited-edition body spray.
Top Gig of 2018: He performed at the closing ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Notable Stat: During Amsterdam Dance Event in 2018, Garrix released five tracks in five days, played two sold-out shows to a total of 25,000 people and released his first photo book, LIFE=CRAZY.
Outlook: “I try to stay away from thinking in boxes when working... I think when creativity has no limits or boundaries, you come to the point where new sounds arise.” (Billboard, 2018)
The Norwegian producer, 27, earned two Hot 100 hits in 2018: “Born to Be Yours” with Imagine Dragons and “Remind Me to Forget” with Miguel, the latter of which came from Kygo’s 2017 Kids in Love LP. He also made executive moves: Amid a sprawling world tour, Kygo and his manager, Myles Shear, launched Palm Tree Records in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment with the goal of fostering new talent in electronic music.
Top Gig of 2018: The Kids in Love arena tour — 39 concerts in 20 countries — was his largest trek to date.
Notable Stat: He garnered 1 billion Spotify streams across 65 countries in 2018.
Outlook: “There is a lot of interesting stuff happening [in dance music]. It is great to be a part of helping create that new sound. As artists, we don’t have to feel limited by genre. We can do whatever we are feeling.” (PAPER, 2018)
The dance-pop hitmaker, 29, followed his Alessia Cara collaboration, “Stay,” with another certified smash: “The Middle” with Maren Morris and Grey, which peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100 and earned three Grammy nods. His musical matchmaking continued with “Happy Now,” which spotlights rising singer Elley Duhé, and “365,” a collaboration with Katy Perry that the pair wrote after a joint tour of Australia.
Top Gig of 2018: His sold-out Zedd in the Park event attracted 16,000 fans to Los Angeles last July, while his Zedd on the Rocks show at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre in June will feature an all-new stage production.
Notable Stat: “The Middle” spent a record-setting 33 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
Outlook: “I’ve hated how people have put me in boxes my whole career. I’m a musician who enjoys making music.” (Billboard, 2018)
3. The Chainsmokers
Last year’s Billboard Dance 100 No. 1 artists, Andrew Taggart, 29, and Alex Pall, 33, scored six top 10 singles on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart including “This Feeling” with country star Kelsea Ballerini (No. 4) and “Hope” with Swedish pop singer Winona Oak (No. 7). The duo’s World War Joy arena tour with 5 Seconds of Summer will hit 41 cities across North America in the fall.
Top Gig of 2018: Headlined Ultra Music Festivals in multiple countries while holding down a club residency with Wynn Nightlife in Las Vegas.
Notable Stat: Their 2017 Coldplay collaboration, “Something Just Like This,” set a new record for most weeks atop Hot Dance/Electronic Songs: 79.
Outlook: “We want to keep putting out tons of music. We love the process of everything — even if we could slow down [on touring], we wouldn’t.” (Taggart, Billboard, 2018)
2. Calvin Harris
After the crossover success of his 2017 disco-tinged LP, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, the 35-year-old aced his return to house-inspired singles with two Hot 100 hits: the Dua Lipa team-up “One Kiss,” which shot to No. 26, and “Promises,” which features Sam Smith and peaked at No. 65. The latter earned him two BRIT Awards in February, for best British producer and British single — his first wins after over a dozen nominations. Now laser-focused on studio time and Vegas shows, Harris will play a few festivals this summer, including the United Kingdom’s Creamfields.
Top Gig of 2018: Hakkasan Group’s biggest DJ asset, Harris plays Vegas most Fridays at OMNIA Nightclub. His exclusive contract runs through 2020.
Notable Stat: “One Kiss” and “Promises” helped him tie Rihanna for most Dance Club Songs No. 1s in the chart’s history (12).
Outlook: “I’m very slow now. I used to spend my whole life in the studio, I used to churn them out real quick, but now I want to make everything perfect in my eyes. It takes a long time. Sometimes I’ll just go in the studio and listen to the song all day, not do anything and leave. I just think. And the next week I’ll think, ‘Yeah, maybe I needed to change the kick.’ ” (WWPW [Power 96.1] Atlanta, 2018)
The 26-year-old DJ-producer, still never seen without his signature white helmet, followed his second studio album, 2018’s Joytime II — his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart — with the blockbuster Bastille collaboration, “Happier,” which has spent 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 2. Ever prolific and genre-savvy, Marshmello began 2019 with the Hindi-language “BIBA,” featuring Indian stars Pritam and Shirley Setia. His latest win: signing an exclusive two-year residency at new Las Vegas super-club KAOS for $60 million.
Top Gig of 2018: In February, the avid gamer performed the first in-game Fortnite concert for his “Mellogang,” drawing over 10 million virtual attendees.
Notable Stat: Within a year of releasing Joytime II, his Apple Music exclusive Marshmello: Fortnite Extended Set became his second No. 1 on Top Dance/Electronic Albums.
Outlook: “It’s not every day you see something like Marshmello. You’re like, ‘Wait, what does [he] even do?’ You search and find [my] music.” (Billboard, 2018)
Contributors: David Rishty, Kat Bein, Katie Bain, Michael Sundius, Jack Tregoning, John Ochoa, Krystal Rodriguez