Calvin Harris is the undisputed King of EDM, according to Forbes’ latest report on electronic music’s big earners.
The Scottish producer and disc jockey earned $66 million last year to lead Forbes’ Electronic Cash Kings list for a second successive year, pulling in nearly double the next-highest earner, Frenchman David Guetta ($37 million).
Harris has clubland at his feet. He’s enjoyed unparalleled success with his own artist albums and singles (his set 18 Months made history when in 2013 it clocked up an eighth U.K. top 10 song), he earns a fortune for his DJ sets, has seven-figure endorsements with the likes of Giorgio Armani and he’s dating one of the world’s biggest pop stars, Taylor Swift.
“The rise of dance music has been astronomical… I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Harris told Forbes.
The list illustrates the enormous pulling power DJs have at the top of the EDM pile. The top ten DJs raked in $274 million over the past 12 months, more than double the $116 million total for the top ten in 2012. Though the pace isn’t as fast as it once was. Following a 108% increase from 2012 to 2013, the figure grew 11% from 2013 to 2014, and only 2.5% from 2014 to 2015.
Part of the reason for this slowdown, notes Forbes, is as the market for EDM acts “become more saturated, fees aren’t rising at the rate they were a few years ago. And many DJs are engaging in a costly arms race to pack their shows with visual effects to distinguish themselves from their rivals. That means the genre whose practitioners need little more than a USB drive and a pair of CDJs now often put 30-40% of their fees toward production.”
Earlier, Harris and Swift topped Forbes’ Highest-Paid Celebrity Couples ranking, pulling in $146 million between them last year.