How Much Do DJs Make?

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There are many types and levels of DJ, from Mobile DJ and Club DJ to Radio DJ and DJ Producers. But how much do DJs make?

As you can imagine, it varies greatly, but in this article, we will give you an overview of how much money DJs make per gig.

The average DJ will make $50 to $100 an hour (US). The average gig/show is around 4 to 5 hours, so a DJ can make between $200 to $500 a night. This can vary, depending on the event, venue and whether it is a small town or big city location.

There will also be a variation between specialist DJs. For example, someone considered as a Mobile DJ could specialise in Weddings, Birthday Parties, Proms, House Parties, Theme Nights and many more.

We’ll have a look at some of these areas below;

House Party DJ

How much do DJs make? Typically, a DJ that plays a private house party would earn a lesser amount than the others in the list. A regular client asking for a DJ to play at their house will probably (but not always) have a limited budget. This may be the reason they have chosen not to hire a hall or other venue.

It is not uncommon for a House Party DJ to earn as little as $50 to $300 per gig. Though this could be a good place to start your DJ career and get some experience.

They still have to take their equipment to the house, which could prove more challenging than at a venue due to access and space restrictions. They may have to set up in a marquee or other temporary structure in the back yard.

Wedding DJ

Wedding DJ

How much do DJs make? – With Wedding DJs, it can vary a lot! If we assume that a Mobile DJ that plays a Wedding Reception event can be classified a Wedding DJ, they could earn their ‘standard’ fee of $50 to $100 per hour ($250 – $500 per gig), which is a reasonable amount.

Depending on the calibre of the DJ, the type of venue, the number of guests, the price could increase.

It is also common for Wedding DJs to offer additional services, such as; Ceremony Music,  All-Day Service, Dance-floor, Casino-style Tables, ‘LOVE’, ‘MR & MRS’ or other Large Letters, Mood-Lighting/Uplighting, Master of Ceremonies, Additional Lighting and many more, all of which can increase the price into the thousands ($1,000+).

They will still need to bring their equipment: Controller/CDJs, Mixer, Speakers, Lights, DJ Booth, Stands. They will normally transport this is a large car or van. These are just some of the expenses that will be taken into account, and come off the fee.

Club DJ

Club DJ

How much do DJs make? A Club DJ’s fee can be similar to that of a Mobile DJ ($50 – $100 per hour), to more than a Wedding DJ ($1000+). It is dependant on the type of club, whether they are in a small town or major city centre.

The better known they are, the higher the fee they could attract. For example, a Club DJ that is used as a warm-up to the main DJ, or a DJ that plays generic music for the night might not earn that much. Whereas a DJ that has a large following could earn much more. Similarly, a guest DJ might only play an hour or two, but due to their high profile might charge in excess of $500 per hour.

Highest Paid DJs

What we have covered so far is the general DJ you can probably book yourself for a private event (birthday party, wedding, club night).

There are some better-known DJs who the likes of you and I would not be able to book, at least not without a huge budget. They are world-renowned. The ones who have also released tracks in the charts. They will usually also play at large events, major clubs across the globe and festivals. They often get hired by celebrities and the wealthy, the same way we might hire a local, $250-a-night Mobile DJ.

So, how much money do top DJs make?

We are talking tens of thousands of dollars for one show. Their annual earnings can top $5 million to $10 million a year. Some even more than that. In fact, the 15 highest paid DJs in the world all earned well over $10m between June 2018 and June 2019, according to Forbes;

  1. The Chainsmokers – $46 million
  2. Marshmello – $40 million
  3. Calvin Harris – $38.5 million
  4. Steve Aoki – $30 million
  5. Diplo – $25 million
  6. Tiësto – $24 million
  7. Martin Garrix – $19 million
  8. David Guetta – $18 million
  9. Zedd – $17 million
  10. Armin van Buuren – $15 million
  11. Kaskade – $14 million
  12. Skrillex – $13 million
  13. Alesso – $12.5 million
  14. Afrojack – $12 million
  15. DJ Snake – $11.5 million

Those earnings are impressive to say the least! But they certainly work hard for their money. Steve Aoki (No.4), the US electronic dance musician and producer, performed at over 200 shows in that year.

Topping the list were The Chainsmokers, American electronic DJ and production duo consisting of Alexander “Alex” Pall and Andrew “Drew” Taggart, bringing in a staggering $46 million.

Second, the infamous Christopher Comstock, better known as Marshmello to you and I, earned a healthy $40 million.

He was closely followed by the Scottish DJ, record producer, singer, and songwriter, Calvin Harris who banked $38.5 million from his popular music releases and live performances.

How much does DJ Khaled make a year? US-based DJ/Producer DJ Khaled (real name Khaled Mohamed Khaled) was one of the world’s top earning musicians in 2019, with around $40 million from his ventures.

The Chainsmokers - $46M

The Chainsmokers
Image Credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Marshmello - $40M

Marshmello
Image Credit: Rukes.com

DJ Khaled - $40M

DJ Khaled
Image Credit: Photo by Gustavo Caballero/South Beach Photo/REX/Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. According to Forbes, the following is a list of the highest-paid DJs between 2018 - 2019;
  2.  
  3. The Chainsmokers – $46 million
  4. Marshmello – $40 million
  5. Calvin Harris – $38.5 million
  6. Steve Aoki – $30 million
  7. Diplo – $25 million
  8. Tiësto – $24 million
  9. Martin Garrix – $19 million
  10. David Guetta – $18 million
  11. Zedd – $17 million
  12. Armin van Buuren – $15 million

Being a DJ is a great career. It's a job like no other. If you are lucky enough to be a full-time DJ you can enjoy playing music to huge crowds. If you love music you will love being a DJ.

Whether you are a Mobile DJ or a Club DJ, it is possible to make a good amount of money once you are established. Expect to earn anything upwards of $50-100 per hour. If you are more sought after, and get to play in large clubs or events, you can earn considerably more.

The hourly rate of a DJ can vary and is different for a Mobile DJ then a Club DJ. 

A Mobile DJ should be looking for around £50 per hour, whereas a Bar or Club DJ may earn a little less.

DJs can earn much more if they are well-known and get booked for their name and skills.

The world's highest-paid DJ, according to Forbes is The Chainsmokers, with an annual, pre-tax income of $46m

Conclusion

If you are a DJ, or thinking about starting your career, hopefully this article on ‘How much do DJs make?’ gives you an idea of what you can or should be working towards. If you have been working for some time and earn less than the averages we have mentioned, it may be worth looking into ways to improve your status.

You should be looking to sell yourself as a whole package, not just a DJ. Make sure you have active and regularly updated social media profiles, such as Instagram and Facebook. Upload your best DJ mixes online, and consider performing live mixes.

Mike is a Mobile DJ company owner, providing entertainment services for Weddings, Birthdays and other events for over a decade.

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