Late last month, Forbes published its list of the world’s top-earning D.J.s. Calvin Harris, 31, who less than a decade ago was stocking groceries in a Scottish supermarket, came in first place, earning $66 million over a 12-month period beginning in June last year through club fees, endorsement deals and music royalties. That’s more than what Jay Z ($56 million) or Kim Kardashian ($52.5 million) grossed in the same period, and it’s one of many recent indications that EDM, or electronic dance music — once the commercially marginal soundtrack to underground parties — has reached an impressive new level of mainstream success.Let's have a look/listen to Mr. Harris:
Obviously quite different from what Deadmau5 is/was doing, but we can hear the genealogy I think. How is this different from any other singer/songwriter? Here's this guy wandering around, singing a song. Well, sort-of. It's not quite a song. It is a small fragment of a song, repeated a couple of times, with long stretches of a dreary synthesized lick in between. It's the fantasized visuals that are selling this: car racing in the desert followed by a night at the dance club with chicks, chicks, chicks. It is as if Calvin looked at the music scene and decided that the main problem was that a lot of the product (the "music" or "songs") was just too complicated and confusing for the average listener so he decided to trim it down to just the essentials: two or three lines of lyrics, the simplest, most repetitive soundtrack and lots and lots of pictures of hot babes in short shorts. This video is a bit like a Fast and Furious movie but without the complex character development (and the joke there is that I'm NOT being sarcastic). Voilà, success and $66 million yearly income.
Here's an odd socio-economic note: all these D.J.s are male but all the big pop soloists these days seem to be female: Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, Rihanna and so on.