Deadmau5 rubbishes Forbes DJ Rich List

Back in August, U.S. business magazine Forbes turned its number-crunching nous towards the world of ‘EDM’ to come up with ‘The World’s Highest-Paid DJs’ list. Apparently calling on sources like Pollstar, RIAA, promoters, managers, lawyers and some of the artists themselves, the article’s author Zack O’Malley came out with a top ten headed by Dutch kingpin Tiesto with an estimated $22 million haul over 12 months. As the magazine put it: “Often toting nothing more than a USB stick and a pair of Pioneer CDJs, their production costs are often negligible, unlike rockers and pop stars who typically take home just one-third of gross ticket sales.”

Joel Zimmerman, who came in at #6 with the figure of $11.5 million beside his other name Deadmau5, this week presented a counter-argument in an interview with Reuters. As he puts it, the article’s research is speculative at best. “If I was making $11 million, do you think I’d be fucking sitting right here, right now? No fucking way,” Zimmerman said. “You’re putting the whole industry on one article written by one dude, who does not have access to any of our accounts.”

It’s a point the producer also made in an entertaining chat with this month. Production costs on a Deadmau5 tour, he argues, are far from ‘negligible’. “It’s bullshit,” he told Spin. “I had to call my manager and say, ‘Yo! Where’s the other 10?’ Sure, we’ve seen $20 million in the past two years, but that’s gone back into the studio, into tours – they cost up to $10 million alone. It’s money in, money out for all of us, but the list makes us look like a bunch of overpaid dicks.

“The cool thing about it, though, is that it says, ‘Invest in this shit because it’s hot,’ to the idiots with more money than all of us put together. It’s a self-propelling stupidity that’s now influxing big industry money into the previously small EDM market.”