DJ Culture Shock

Back in the day, when a singer or band provided fans with new material in the form of a single or an album, DJs were there, spinning the tunes and championing the next big thing. That same culture still exists today, but during the last 40+ years, a new breed of DJs has emerged.

This new school started in warehouses, basements, lofts and clubs in the ’70s and ’80s. The ’90s and 2000s brought with it huge raves, festivals and global tours. Fast forward to today, DJs have now, slowly, but surely, risen the ranks and, in some cases, eclipse the very artists they play on a nightly basis.

DJs are now holding court in front of up to 200,000+ people at a time. Proof of how huge this new culture has become comes with DJ Kaskade’s set at Coachella. It’s hard to say exactly how many people watched him spin, but the aerial photograph below helps you to understand the enormity of his audience.


This together with the enormous amounts of money made by top DJs, make the culture shift quite staggering.

Check out this list of The World’s Highest Paid DJs 2014.

  1. Calvin Harris ($66 million)
  2. David Guetta ($30 million)
  3. Avicii ($28 million)
  4. Tiesto ($28 million)
  5. Steve Aoki ($23 million)
  6. Afrojack ($22 million)
  7. Zedd ($21 million)
  8. Kaskade ($17 million)
  9. Skrillex ($16.5 million)
  10. Deadmau5 ($16 million)

DJ superstars now grace the front covers of music magazines, go on tour regularly (with huge production values), and have social media followings like those of rock and movie stars.

The top earner, Calvin Harris, has now made the switch from just spinning songs to making the songs that DJs spin. Harris holds the record for the most top 10 hits from one studio album on the UK Singles Chart with nine, even surpassing the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He also became the first British solo artist to reach more than one billion streams on Spotify.

Extraordinary to say the least.

As Bob Dylan said, “The Times They Are A Changing.”

Photos: Getty. Misha Vladimirskiy

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