Many DJs, managers, agents, and promoters have spoken about average earnings so it is build up an exact picture of what a typical DJ might expect to earn.
1 FLEDGLING LOCAL RESIDENT
You are into the club, finally, you’ve made it out of the bedroom. Probably you are
playing and at the same time, promoting a regular night at the back of a wine bar in your hometown. You are not getting too much attention but, you’re pulling in the punters.
Gigs: Probably, making a hundred quid a night. Often playing for free to get the exposure! if you’re lucky, you will play once or twice a weekend. + £100 x 50 sets a year = £5,000
Expenses: You are still buying your own drinks and the transportation costs are negligible. Probably, spending a fair chunk on downloads/ records to make sure the setlist is up to scratch. - £25 per weekend for drinks/taxis - £25 per week on records/downloads
Management cut: What is that? Definitely, there is no point in paying someone else this early on.
Extras: It might have a second job because there’s no additional income. Any mixes will be going up on the internet for free. £0
Annual income (before tax): £2,500
2 UP-AND-COMING NATIONAL TALENT
You have started to get noticed around your country. The notice came from some serious style behind the decks or maybe fledgling productions. Probably you are getting a name for yourself in the press and online, and even killing it at other people’s parties.
Gigs: It’s time for you to break through with hard work, tunes, and luck. Depending on the size of the club and your profile, it is possible anything from £250–£2500 per gig. Definitely, playing at least twice a weekend. + £50,000 a year and upwards
Expenses: Now, promoters should be paying for your accommodation, transport, and drinks. So any money made on the night should be pure profit. You’ll be buying more new music than ever. Also, you’re getting more sent to you for free. - £50 a week
Management cut: By this point, there is a chance for you to hire a new agent to boost your profile. And, management is now taking a cut of between 15–20% for their services. - £10,000
Extras: Even if some productions might get signed up to a label, be aware that they won’t sell enough to get you far. + £5,000
Annual income (before tax) £42,500–£120,000
3 TIRELESSLY-TOURING GLOBAL FIXTURE
You are now part of the ‘DJs Complaining’ Twitter feed. Most of the weekends, you’re flying to a different club or festival. The more gigs you play, the more people want to book you. At this point, you should multiply the effort by the quality of gigs. The result of the quality is you being to the top of the earnings band.
Gigs: Should be making between £2,000– £5,000 a show at this stage. Probably playing three or four sets most weekends. + £3,000 x 150 sets a year = £450,000
Expenses: Most things are taken care of while touring Europe, but more far-flung trips may require paying your own airfares. There is the potential hassle/expense of getting temporary work visas, too. - £5,000 on flights/missed connections - £200 on visas
Management cut: Still 15-20% for each of the rapidly expanding team, now including artist management and personal assistants. - £30,000
Extras: Chances are that you’re making music – which, depending on crossover appeal could be making a fair wedge from sales but also incur studio costs. Insignificant amounts of money raked in by the odd ‘sync’ deal: getting your songs in an advert or film and radio play will also mean royalties. + £10,000 from record sales + £5,000 from car advert + £2,000 on royalties - £5,000 studio equipment and hire
Annual income (before tax) £427,000–£1.2 million
4 STADIUM-FILLING SUPERSTAR
You’ve won the game by this point. At the top of this band are EDM stars like Steve Aoki(£16m last year, according to Forbes), and global superstars who regularly appear in the pop charts, like Calvin Harris (£42m last year!)
Gigs: There are no limits. A couple of hours at a small venue would still make £10k at the very least. And, the most shows will be in enormous clubs, or more likely festival main stages, where £20k is the minimum. + £15,000 x 75 sets a year = £1.12m
Expenses: Definitely, all paid! Promoters are falling over themselves to book you, so will accept even the most extravagant requests. Regularly they are spending more on your rider than mid-range DJs may earn in a night. £0
Management cut: This fame brings hangers-on! Your entourage will be pretty extensive; social media gurus, stylists, and lighting technicians will all deem their services essential to your success and take a cut. - £100,000
Extras: You’ll have the clout to run your own label, with many artists under your wing. You can take your pick of mix CDs. You might be offered your own series of nights in Vegas or Ibiza. Also, you will be asked to play private parties for big companies and dubious dictators. All of them could send your earnings stratospheric. + £500,000 sponsorships +£250,000 for Ibiza/one-off parties + £100,000 in record sales + £20,000 mix CDs
Annual income (before tax) £1.9m–£50m