Resident DJs provide more than a simple party hierarchy in top nightlife meccas like Ibiza and Las Vegas -- they are the economic engines that drive those dance scenes. With Vegas clubs clamoring to give the world's top resident DJs six-figure fees, while house and techno hotspots draw swelling crowds to Ibiza, the industry has reached a high watermark. Billboard takes a look back at some of the most significant and sensational residencies in modern dance music. You won’t find seminal '90s residencies at institutions like Twilo and Be Yourself here; this list focuses solely on the past five years. From setting trends to big spending, here are some of the resident DJs who have made the biggest waves since the American dance boom.
The dance industry did a collective double take when Paris Hilton announced her Foam and Diamonds residency at Amnesia Ibiza in 2013. While dance doomsayers’ prophecies proved exaggerated and the memes that emerged proved hilarious, the residency did help validate the celebrity DJ model by bringing in enough revenue to ensure her return the following year.
9. Richie Hawtin’s ENTER Blossoms on Ibiza
Having already conquered Detroit and Berlin, it’s little surprise the Windsor native had Ibiza in his sights. Three years after its incipiency, ENTER at Amnesia Ibiza has risen to the top of the White Isle crop and helped boost the careers of Hawtin’s Minus labelmates and guests like Maceo Plex. The party has also featured cutting-edge technologies and Japanese sake brewers, reflecting the eccentricities of its forward-thinking founder.
8. Jamie Jones Finds Paradise
For the past three years, Jamie Jones’s Paradise party at Ibiza’s DC-10 has showcased some of the most noteworthy acts within the U.K. deep house sound that is now en vogue. Boasting the well-known likes of Disclosure, Maya Jane Coles and Cajmere, the weekly residency has also been instrumental in launching rising talents like Patrick Topping and Richy Ahmed. Last year, Jones had to open a second room to accommodate the sizable crowds that have kept his residency a hot ticket on the White Isle.
7. Marco Carola Brings Music On to Ibiza, NYC and Miami
Since 2012, Marco Carola’s Music On party at Amnesia Ibiza has emerged as one of Ibiza’s top draws. Many artists would be content with simply conquering the White Isle, but the Italian techno institution brought the party brand to New York’s Marquee in 2013 and Miami’s Story last year. Its successful arrival on American shores proved that quality techno could cater to U.S. bottle service crowds. It’s also indicative of the rising popularity of underground dance music in the States.
6. LIGHT Pairs Skrillex With Cirque du Soleil
When Mandalay Bay’s new club opened in 2013, it sought to create a splash by combining Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic performances with top-tier resident talent. Despite the competitive climate, it succeeded in landing the Grammy winner in order to create an engaging and immersive musical environment in the new nightlife space. Skrillex's residency helped establish it as a serious and innovative player in Vegas nightlife. In December, Hakkasan bought a $36 million controlling interest in The Light Group, adding a roster that now features the likes of Alesso, Axwell, and Ingrosso to its consolidated interests.
5. Kaskade Returns to Wynn
When Kaskade came to Vegas in 2010, Wynn’s Encore Beach Club was the first club to book him for an exclusive set of shows. The San Francisco native subsequently signed with Marquee, where he remained until he began a winter residency at XS late last year. The move proved indicative of his intentions. XS managing partner Jesse Waits told Billboard that Kaskade “came to us directly and we offered him the highest rate possible.” Fresh off signing his first major label deal with Warner Bros. Records, Kaskade announced a multi-year exclusive residency with Wynn’s XS and Encore venues that will see him play approximately 50 shows through January 2017.
4. Hakkasan Ties up Tiësto
The $100 million club launched the opening salvo in a new era of Vegas bidding wars with its marquee 2013 acquisitions, which included the veteran Dutch DJ. The Breda native is an outspoken Sin City supporter, and he happily re-signed with the Hakkasan Group through 2015 recently. Hakkasan contractual obligations also prompted Tiësto to end his former residency in Ibiza, which illustrates a trend that has contributed to mainstream EDM’s shift in focus towards Vegas.
3. Deadmau5 Goes From XS to Hakkasan and Back Again
In 2013, Hakkasan lured Deadmau5 away from Wynn’s XS by reportedly offering him a two-year Vegas residency that was the highest paying of its time. The alleged $20 million contract set a steep new benchmark for DJ fees. While the Canadian producer unveiled a new live show with automated mau5-bots that June, by November he disappeared from the schedule and resurfaced back at XS performing an impromptu opening set for Wolfgang Gartner. When Avicii was forced to cancel his April 2014 gigs at XS, Deadmau5 replaced him and went on to play further dates at his former home that summer.
2. Avicii Wins Big Wynn Payday
After achieving crossover success with his 2013 debut True, Avicii was poised to take his rightful place atop Vegas last year. But a series of health issues forced the Swedish superstar to cancel his Wynn residencies at XS and Encore Beach Club for the month of April and from September through the year’s end. After recuperating in Stockholm, Avicii recently announced his first Vegas residency dates since the cancellations. Reportedly, Avicii will be the highest-paid resident DJ on the Strip this year. With $10 million of production renovations going into XS this season, Avicii’s residency homecoming should be a high-octane affair.
1. Hakkasan Hands the Keys to Calvin Harris
The Scottish superstar was one of Hakkasan’s marquee acquisitions in 2013, leaving Wynn to sign an exclusive 20-month residency with MGM Grand’s deep-pocketed mega club. The Hakkasan Group caused a stir recently by signing dance music’s top earner to a comprehensive music consultancy, in addition to a three-year residency re-up at Hakkasan Nightclub, Wet Republic and the soon-to-open Omnia at a reported rate of $400,000 a night. DJs have long acted as brand ambassadors, but the role of brand architect could be game-changing depending on how far Harris’ influence will extend.