If you’re inclined to believe rap videos and Forbes lists, then emcees may be the most financially well-off musicians in the world. But whereas Dr. Dre stands as the lone hip-hop billionaire (perhaps until Jay Z’s soda line hits shelves nationwide), there’s another musical force that’s a fiscal heavyweight in its own right: EDM. With countless EDM and electronic music festivals taking place across the globe, DJs achieving massive popularity both on the charts and streaming services, and deadmau5 driving tricked-out Ferrari’s, it’s fairly easy to see that EDM is both a cultural and economic juggernaut. But just how much power and influence does the scene have exactly? Try $6.2 billion worth.
According to a recent report issued by the International Music Summit (via Billboard), thatstaggering amount is how much the entire global EDM industry is valued at. That includes revenue generated from festivals ($1.03 billion); worldwide club dates ($2.4 billion); streaming/video services ($600 million); Soundcloud streams ($140 million); and the sale of DJ software and hardware ($360 million). The IMS report also indicates that EDM was the only musical genre to post year-over-year sales gains in 2013. In addition, the top 10 DJs on Forbes’ 2013 Electronic Cash Kings list pulled in a combined $225 million, effectively doubling the earnings posted back in 2010. (Check out a more detailed breakdown below.)
So, the question begs: how do EDM’s counterparts fair? Well, for comparison, last year’s 10 highest-earning musicians pulled in a combined $216,569,875, $10 million less than EDM’s top 10. That means that acts like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and Roger Waters were out-earned by the Aviici’s, Zedd’s, and David Guetta’s of the world. No doubt helping the EDM community is a reliance on revenue streams outside the norm. Whereas EDM earned a collective $140 million from Soundcloud, YouTube phenomenon PSY earned just $870,000 from his 1 billion hits. Oh, and if you were wondering, the five wealthiest rappers are valued at a collective $2.07 billion. As impressive as the $6.2 billion price tag is, some industry insiders think that figure is slightly conservative. During last week’s annual EDMbiz conference in Las Vegas, Kraig Fox, a senior managing partner at the Guggenheim Partners investment firm, said EDM’s advertising potential is vastly unexplored. “The $6.2 billion may be what’s spent on tickets or clubs or drinking, but I view it as the millennial industry in general, and advertising toward that audience. You add that to that $6.2 billion and it’s something much bigger that you’re playing for.”
Of course, so much of the revenue-generating power lies in the makeup of the industry’s core audience. According to EDMbiz, EDM fans are “predominantly millennial, under-25-year-olds who are 50% more likely to buy energy drinks and over-index in their ability to set trends than any other age group.” In addition, they live outside rural areas like New York and Miami; for instance, the sixth largest EDM market is in Asheville, NC, which is a higher index than even Chicago and Los Angeles. The top five is rounded out by Boston, the Bay Area, San Diego, and Denver.