World’s Highest Paid DJs Turn Celebrities Into Rock Star Portfolio
Mbefore igniting a crowd of 12,000 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, DJ duo Alex Pall and Drew Taggart known as Chainsmokers tick off the last items on their to-do list: chorus preview from the first song, tequila shots, instructions for Pall’s golden retriever nearby. “Mooshu,” he yells at the dog, “take care of the house! ”
With it, the duo head to the tunnel and onto the stage for an explosive 90-minute set featuring Kelsea Ballerini and 5 Seconds of Summer, a trio of motorcycles zooming around a metal globe and more tequila shots. . The show is the latest career start for Pall, 34, and Taggart, 29, a 2017 30 Under 30 alum – ending their most lucrative year of all time with a recently expanded roster of more intimate shows at Wynn’s XS Nightclub in Las Vegas. The performance was art. The hits were business: the Chainsmokers are the largest non-founding shareholders of a small spirits brand, JaJa Tequila.
“You want the product to stand on its own, and I think long term,” says Taggart. “That’s what we’re in here for.”
Investing in tequila is one of many pre-IPO stock positions that they have accumulated through cash investments or as performance compensation. And for now, neither is missing. The Chainsmokers have cashed in $ 130 million over the past three years, defying a plateau for DJ income and dethroning Calvin Harris as the highest paid number of electronic music. They account $ 46 million pre-tax in the past year alone, which puts them at No.24 out of the Forbes list of the highest paid musicians.
“[They] have an incredible grasp of pop culture and aim to run a successful business, so they understand what it takes, ”says Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks whom Pall and Taggart met in Las Vegas. “It makes perfect sense for them to bring their expertise and reputation in the area of equity. ”
Pall and Taggart met about ten years ago through their manager Adam Alpert. Taggart had just graduated from college and began commuting from his home in Maine each week via Bolt Bus to create leads with Pall before moving to New York. After years of working in small clubs and frat parties, they landed a coveted concert at Liv in Miami in 2013 and celebrated with the song “#Selfie”, which they released as a free download and released it. on South Florida blogs hoping to drive the crowds to the show. It quickly went viral, helped by a carefully orchestrated social media surge. The official video has since attracted more … than half a billion views.
“#Selfie” and their sarcastic take on millennial club culture gave the duo much needed boost, but a breakthrough required a more user-friendly fare, which led them to experiment with the mix of alternative music and dance elements. They released their first multi-platinum single, “Roses”, the following year and quickly followed it up with “Don’t Let Me Down”, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2016. “Closer,” a duet that featured Halsey and under-30 alumni, trying their hand at vocals for the first time, was released that same year, awarding them their first hit No. 1.
A residency in Las Vegas followed, but so did the media reaction, most of it linked to the “frat-bro” ethics at the heart of their act. In a 2016 Billboard cover story they boasted on drinking prowess and discussed the size of the penis; the same room ridiculed them as “technological brothers”. Squire mocked them as “the Nickelback of EDM”. Others were more direct: Stereo eraser tagged them “infinity showerbags” while Jezebel nicknamed them “some cocks. ”
To repeat the story, they posted a self-mockery to crush from their song “Paris” and “This Is How You Remind Me” by Nickelback. More recently, they’ve traded drunken bragging for a more sober analysis of JaJa’s business prospects and lewd interviews for more buddy dog talk. Mooshu has since finished second for iHeartRadio 2019 The cutest musician’s pet price.
“We’ve come a long way,” says Taggart. “It hasn’t always been perfect, but I think we’ve each worked hard to be better people.”
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And, with Alpert’s help, better businessmen. Pall points out that tequila is America’s fastest growing spirit and that the brand is a great fit for its alcohol-loving fan base. They are JaJa’s two biggest investors along with founders Maurice Tebele and his brother Elliot, better known as same machine F * ckJerry.
Other investments include Uber, Wheels and Ember, as well as Epi-Now, a startup that provides emergency allergy kits and recently raised $ 9.2 million. They received WeWork shares in return for a performance and recently launched Kick The Habit, a production company whose first offering will be a “Paris” based movie. Coming up: a venture capital fund called Mantis. The idea arose out of their investment in YellowHeart, a blockchain-based ticketing company that they hope will put the brakes on the $ 15 billion scalping industry.
In an attempt to maintain the pay-for-all profits of music, Taggart has taken hundreds of singing lessons while Pall plays the piano for several hours a day. They added a drummer who shares their affinity for pyrotechnics, sporting flaming wands in the middle of a song in Nashville. They now have their sights set on their first tour of the stadium.
“When ‘Roses’ exploded, we still didn’t know what would happen,” says Pall. “We know our fans still want us to keep releasing songs every month, so we’re going to keep doing that. “