Back in March, Aussie OWSLA DJ Nick Thayer wrote up a tumblr post breaking down his income, and the result wasn’t pretty. After selling more than 12,000 tracks off of his then-latest EP Like Boom (which stood at #3 on Beatport for 13 weeks) and touring the US, he claims to have walked away with about $800. As thump points out in a piece posted today, this could well be the result of poor management and a lack of business savvy, but “sleazy business skills don’t come hand in hand with your Ableton package.” It’s probably fair to say that most touring DJs aren’t exactly business majors. Add to that the day-to-day pressure artists face in an oversaturated marketplace, label pressure, and the unique travel stresses that DJs endure, and you have a situation ripe for financial mismanagement.
Meanwhile, in the superstar DJ stratosphere, it was reported last week that well-handled heiress, Paris Hilton, raked in £1.6 million (that’s almost 3 million in US dollars) for four nights of “work” DJing Ibiza’s famous club Amnesia. The four Amnesia dates are built into a 13 show tour that has her hitting clubs in Asia as well as Europe and the Americas. This just months after signing a four-gig DJ residency at Atlantic City’s Harrah worth $100K per night.
Putting to the side any opinions of Hilton as a legitimate DJ, it’s hard not to see a troubling trend in the world of dance music that largely mirrors the global economy as wealth is consolidated into fewer and fewer bank accounts. In an industry that now merits its own annual Forbes list featuring 12 DJs bringing in at least $10 million dollars in a given year, meritocracy in this dance world created by scrappy basement innovators may just be coming to an end.
Image by The Sun