Calvin Harris is likely to knock Taylor Swift off the top spot in the albums chart on Sunday, with the follow-up to an album that produced more hit singles than Thriller. Then David Guetta reappears with a new album later this month, his last one having sold three million copies. Meanwhile, these two and their clubland peers are jetting all over the world (though notably not to London in the winter months) and coining it like premiership footballers. We’re living in a new era of superstar DJs that makes the Nineties lot look like cub scouts.
You’ll find them in Las Vegas most weeks, invariably with a firework explosion going off just behind. While the wider music biz is learning to live with lower earnings, these guys are maharajas. And yes, they are all guys for some reason. Here are 10 of the biggest DJs in the world right now, and (if you’ve got plane fare to spare) where to find them.
Real name/age/nationality: Adam Wiles/30/Scottish
Last year’s earnings: £41.2 million
Famous pals: A big chunk of his cash comes from writing the smash hit We Found Love for Rihanna. Other regular collaborators include Ellie Goulding and Dizzee Rascal, and of course there’s ex-girlfriend Rita Ora.
Moment of excess: Last week he played for Bacardi on a private Caribbean island in front of 1800 fans, including mermaids and Halloween monsters.
Typical tweet: He used to be funny, but gone are the days of videos of him opening jam jars. Now “My new album Motion is out now!!!” is as exciting as it gets for his 4.94 million followers.
Album to get: Motion is out this week but 18 Months, from 2012, is the one with nine top 10 singles on it.
Closest upcoming gig: The all-star Jingle Ball on Dec 12 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’s at his regular haunt, the Hakkasan nightclub in Las Vegas.
Real name/age/nationality: Pierre Guetta/47 today/French
Last year’s earnings: £18.7 million
Famous pals: He operates at the axis between US hip hop/R&B and dance music, connecting him to everyone from Nicki Minaj and Usher to Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne.
Moment of excess: Regularly flies directly from one residency in Las Vegas to the other in Ibiza. He’s going to lose a sizeable chunk of his wealth this year now that he’s divorcing his wife of 22 years, Cathy.
Typical tweet: He’s happy to share his glamorous life, and lots of exclamation marks, eg. “Sand Boarding in The desert of dubai!!”
Album to get: His sixth solo album, Listen, is out on Nov 21 but his Fuck Me I’m Famous series of mixes are a bit more fun.
Closest upcoming gig: The Marquee club in New York on Dec 4.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’ll be starring at an eight hour event in the Mexican resort of Cancun.
Real name/age/nationality: Nick van de Wall/27/Dutch
Last year’s earnings: £13.7 million
Famous pals: He dated and then dumped Paris Hilton in 2012, after working on her long-awaited (by some, possibly) second pop album.
Moment of excess: In Feb 2013 he bought himself a Ferrari 458, then tweeted a picture of him standing beside its smashed-up tail-end just two hours later.
Typical tweet: He got 130 retweets for the word “Toast” the other day.
Album to get: His debut, Forget the World, came out in May with a varied cast including Snoop Dogg and Sting.
Closest upcoming gig: Space in Moscow on Nov 28.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? No plans announced.
Real name/age/nationality: Joel Zimmerman/33/Canadian
Last year’s earnings: £10 million
Famous pals: In his Coffee Run YouTube series, he has taken mates including Pharrell, Tommy Lee and substance abusing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for a spin in his fancy motor.
Moment of excess: He drove from Miami to Ibiza this year in his customised “Purrari”, a Ferrari covered in cat logos, spending oceans of money on the Gumball 3000 rally.
Typical tweet: He’s usually picking a fight with someone, eg. “Dear @justinbieber, would you please grow the fuck up already? In the meantime, put a shirt on, and stay away from nightclubs”
Album to get: This summer’s while(1<2) is an ambitious epic with more contemplative moments than usual.
Closest upcoming gig: The Conrad Hotel in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Dec 29.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’s topping the bill at the Reveillon Paradise Weekend on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Real name/age/nationality: Steven Aoki/36/American
Last year’s earnings: £14.4 million
Famous pals: His dad founded the Benihana restaurant chain but Aoki is more interested in the future, hanging out with futurists such as Ray Kurzweil for his Neon Future Sessions videos.
Moment of excess: He’s known for sailing over his fans in an inflatable dinghy, before splatting one lucky attendee in the face with a big cake.
Typical tweet: His feed is mainly retweets from fans overjoyed at getting caked.
Album to get: This year’s Neon Future I is the first half of a major project featuring Fall Out Boy and will.i.am.
Closest upcoming gig: Nov 16 at the Borgata Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’ll be playing alongside Tiesto[UMLAUT ON E] at Solid NYE in Vancouver.
Real name/age/nationality: Tim Bergling/25/Swedish
Last year’s earnings: £17.5 million
Famous pals: He was introduced at 2012’s Ultra Music Festival by Madonna, the speech in which she referred infamously to “Molly”, the slang term for ecstasy.
Moment of excess: Cancelled all future tour dates in September so “he can fully recuperate from lingering health issues”, said his management. He has previously cancelled shows due to pancreatitis, usually caused by alcohol. One of his songs is called Alcoholic. Now there’s nothing in the diary til next March.
Typical tweet: “#TRUETOUR Stockholm. Can’t wait to get back on tour again 🙂 #TBT”
Album to get: His only album so far, True, is the one with the huge hit Wake Me Up on it.
Closest upcoming gig: The Future Music Festival in Perth, Australia, March 1.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? Feet up at home by the looks of things.
Real name/age/nationality: Tijs Verwest/45/Dutch
Last year’s earnings: £17.5 million
Famous pals: Everyone else on this page. He’s the elder statesman of the EDM scene, with a residency at Vegas clubbing epicentre Hakkasan alongside Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Hardwell and Afrojack.
Moment of excess: In 2004 he became the first DJ to play an Olympics opening ceremony, watched by 5 billion people as he accompanied the athletes’ parade in Athens.
Typical tweet: He’s a relentlessly upbeat guy. “I am super excited for my gigs this weekend!! #LosAngeles #LasVegas #Seattle #HereICome #LetsGo #Party”
Album to get: His latest, A Town Called Paradise, is more song-based. Rolling Stone called it “the 4am version of Taylor Swift or Coldplay”.
Closest upcoming gig: Borgata Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, Dec 28.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? Solid NYE in Vancouver with Steve Aoki in support.
Real name/age/nationality: Robbert van de Corput/26/Dutch
Last year’s earnings: £8.1 million
Famous pals: He’s not the wildest of the pack. “Hardwell is the DJ who works hard to produce great music but Robbert is just a normal guy having fun with his friends,” he has said.
Moment of excess: The night last month when he was named DJ Mag’s top DJ for the second year running, he played in both Amsterdam and Brixton, hopping between the two by private jet.
Typical tweet: Addresses the city where he’s about to perform with an enquiry as to whether it is ready, followed by a cheery exclamation about the unrealness of the show a few hours later.
Album to get: There’s no solo album yet, but he produces an annual mix album called Hardwell Presents Revealed.
Closest upcoming gig: Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, Jan 23-24
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’s currently free, but playing the night before at Hakkasan, Las Vegas.
Real name/age/nationality: Anton Zaslavski/25/Russian-German
Last year’s earnings: £13.1 million
Famous pals: He remixed Lady Gaga’s song Born This Way and produced three songs on her album Artpop. She’s also taken him on tour.
Moment of excess: When he appeared at the SXSW Festival in Texas this year, Gaga made a surprise arrival on stage looking like something out of the Star Wars Cantina.
Typical tweet: “I just realized that this year I spent more days at @XSlasvegas than home. Not mad at it!”
Album to get: His 2012 album Clarity features the Grammy-winning hit of the same name, with Foxes on vocals.
Closest upcoming gig: The Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Dec 30.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’s at the Snowglobe Music festival in South Lake Tahoe, California.
Real name/age/nationality: Sonny Moore/26/American
Last year’s earnings: £10.3 million
Famous pals: He was one half of an electronic music power couple for a while in 2012, when he dated Ellie Goulding.
Moment of excess: He played his extreme music at Glastonbury this year from inside a sci-fi contraption straight out of Battlestar Galactica.
Typical tweet: “Chicago U kinda changed my life tonight”
Album to get: He’s a prolific producer but only has one official album to date, Recess from March this year.
Closest upcoming gig: He’s on a cruise liner, Holy Ship!, setting sail from Miami Feb 18.
How’s New Year’s Eve looking? He’s playing New York’s Madison Square Garden with his pal Diplo.
SIDEBAR – CELEBRITY DJS
While the DJs are becoming celebrities, celebrities are becoming DJs too. The Wire and Thor star is one of the busiest on the decks, playing clubs as Driis[CORRECT]. He’s just finished a series about African music on Radio 2 too.
The former Frodo Baggins DJs as Wooden Wisdom with his friend, Hollywood music supervisor Zach Cowie. He also has a record label, Simian Records, which hasn’t done a great deal.
The style guru looks appropriately fetching with headphones clamped to one ear, but doesn’t always enjoy it. “Juggling CDs at 11pm after already recording five days’ worth of television from 8am certainly felt like hard work,” she said a while back.
Named amid stiff competition in “The Top 10 Best-Dressed Female DJs” by Vanity Fair last year, the model has played at the Coachella festival as well as appearing in a video by dance producer Armand Van Helden.
Improbably, the socialite had an Ibiza residency at the Amnesia club this summer, DJing at a night called Foam and Diamonds, which just about sums up her life.