How Much Do DJs Get Paid

How Much Do DJs Get Paid

You’re here today because you want to know how much do Djs get paid?

Looking back in my days as a DJ, I can tell you, I had some crazy times. From wild drunken nights to stale boring events where no one showed up…lol

In this article, I will cover how much you should expect to get paid as a DJ as well as give you some tips when starting your journey. We’ll also look at some of the top DJs earnings for inspiration.

By nature, I’m a music producer first and foremost. So if you’re like me, then most likely you have a deep passion for music in general more than the money. As I always say… “Getting paid to have fun is living the dream”

Music these days have evolved into different categories and genres. From metal, R&B, ballad, now evolves KPop and techno music. Check out my article on the best Dj equipment packages for beginners if you’re starting out.

Most music that tops the charts these days come from the hottest artists collaborating with DJs (Disc Jockey). Like Calvin Harris, Chainsmokers, and Skrillex, these artists are making a huge amount of success from biggest hits. Much electronic dance music is used in famous events like Grammys.

Life of a DJ is fantastic. They travel around the world and give inducing beats out of big speakers that make the crowd go crazy dancing on the floor. With technology boosting in its own way, almost anyone can become a DJ.

The internet makes all types of music accessible, software is very cheap, and social media allows branding to be created even in the convenience at home. The best thing about DJing is that it makes anyone be creative in learning the ways of the music.

When it comes to being a professional DJ, you have to learn how to network, get clients, and market/promote yourself as a “service provider”. Most DJs in this era are also creating their own beats for remixing and transitioning between songs as well. But that’s a topic for another day…

How to Become a Dj?

A DJ is someone who gives the soundtrack to parties. They usually are the main event. DJs who want to become at the top must be competitive enough to work on their craft and produce their own brand of music to lift up their names.

They must develop a deep love and in-depth knowledge of their chosen genre in order to get the crowd like them and support them on the dance floor.

Most DJs work with bookers, talent buyers, promoters or even personal managers. There are no formal training or education meant for aspiring DJs. Most of them are self-taught and practice as in an integral part of honing their skills. They study different types of technology, applications, mixing software.

Becoming a successful DJ does not happen overnight. Most beginner DJs work for free. No talent fee, just free drinks, and compliments. Since competition is fierce in this industry, most DJs work through networking and build fan base and reputation.

They offer free plays in order to build connections and get to know people as fans. When they already established a name, DJs get paid per performance.

Some who produce their own tracks get money from royalty. Income of DJs may vary depending on the area where they perform.

For DJs who get to play in major cities, money can be great. There are certain types of music that gets the crowd bigger.

Now before we get into how much you can “realistically” make as an average DJ, let’s look at some of the tops earners out there right now.

DJ Khaled

Forbes reports that this mega hip hop DJ earns roughly six-figures per night and earned an estimated $24 million in 2017 working on hits like Rihanna’s single “Wild Thoughts”.


Skrillex is an eight-time Grammy winner who’s worked on hits like Justin Bieber’s “Where Are U Now” and brought in an estimated $30 million in 2017 and makes around $200,000 per gig.

DJ Marshmello

In 2017. DJ Marshmello earned more than $22 million and charges around $200,000 per gig.

Calvin Harris

For five years in a row, Calvin Harris has hit the number one spot as the highest paid DJ. In 2017, he earned an estimated $48.5 million and charges roughly $400,000 per show. If that doesn’t make you want to get get your hustle on, then I don’t know what will…

Here are a few more of the highest paid DJs:

David Guetta- $30 Million

This former Parisian club manager is one of the top paid DJs in this generation.

Avicii – $28 Million

He’s one of the youngest successful DJs in the industry.

Tiesto – $28 Million

He is a veteran Dutch DJ who plays an average of 100 gigs per year.

Steve Aoki – $23 Million

Steve has recently ranked top 5 with more than 277 shows in a period.

Afrojack – $22 Million

Zedd – $21 Million

Zedd is known to be a protégé of Skrillex. Just 24 years old but he has already reached success and has collaborated with famous artists like Arianna Grande

Kaskade – $ 17 Million

He has been nominated in Grammy’s for Best Dance/Electronica album.

Deadmau5 – $16 Million

Most DJs do not have formal organizations but they do form networks which are very important. DJs who create their own tracks often belong to music publishing organization such as BMI.

Most of these DJs use social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to keep their fans update on their latest news and connect with fans and followers.

I could go on an on with more examples (and maybe I will add more to the list later). But I want to get to the nitty gritty…

How Much Do DJs Get Paid?

DJs get paid per gig. Average plays of DJ can be counted around 2 to 3 per week.

Beginner DJ:

$100 x 50 set/year = $5,000

Expenses: Some DJs may have expenses including buying own drinks, transportation costs, and downloadable.

$25 per weekend on drinks/taxis

$25 per week on downloads

If you are a beginner DJ, there is no management or producers cut at this time.

Annual income = $2500

National Talent/Famous DJ:

Income from gigs may vary depending on DJ’s profile, crowd size, area, and frequency of gig. Average earning for a famous DJ Is around $250-$2500

$50,000 + /year

Expenses usually do not occur here since promoters take care most of the things like drinks, accommodation, and transportation.

$50 / week

Management cut: Most agents take 15-20% for their services in boosting a DJ’s profile


Extras: Labels or tracks may be sold and DJs get paid for these.


Annual income = $42,500 to $120,000.

The Three Types of Djs

Club DJs

Your mission as a club DJ is to keep everyone “Turnt Up” and dancing all night. You may also MC a little depending on the gig and provide backing for rap performances as well.

Club DJ Salary Per Night

You can expect to charge up to $300-$500 per gig when starting out and increase your prices as your popularity grows.

Mobile DJs

If you’re into weddings, parties, or any other social event as a mobile DJ. Then most likely you’ll have your own sound system, lighting…etc… And you’re most likely setting everything up yourself.

Mobile DJ Salary Per Gig

If you’re starting out then you can charge around $100-$200 per event. And as you gain more traction, you can charge upwards to $1000 since you’re providing the sound equipment as well.

Radio DJs

Radio DJs are a little different than the other two above as it’s more about entertaining through conversations, skits, comedy…etc… And for the most part, you’ll be dealing with a playlist of music.

Radio DJ Salary Per Year

On the low end, $25,000 is the starting salary for a new radio DJ. As you gain experience, you can make over $100,000 annually. The average radio DJ brings home $40,000-$60,000 a year depending on location.

DJ Tips| How to DJ for Beginners

The world of DJing can be very competitive. For those who want to start in this career, here are some things you need to remembers:

  •     Get to know people and become friends with them
  •     Offer to do a show for free to establish your name
  •     Give demo CDS of your mixes especially online to create a fan base
  •     Download high-quality tracks from DJ sites rather than stealing from iTunes
  •     Check out mixes of your favorite DJs and study them


Aside from the payment they get in every gig, most DJs often invest in their equipment to produce more creative and unique music. Most of their profits are spent on gadgets, devices, and other equipment they use in working.

Since beginner DJs do not have much, it often takes them many years just to invest in gadgets, build names, and have extra savings on their own.

Other DJs also invest in health insurance. Since they are working late at nights, prone to smoking and drinking, health is something they always get into trouble with. There were reported DJs that experienced health-related issues because of the nature of work DJs do.

There you have it!

If you have any questions pertaining to how much do DJs get paid, let me know in the comments below… Thanks!


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