The Dance Music Renaissance: It’s All About The Superstar DJ

by (@kat_george)

NME is calling it “The Second Coming,” and we don’t want to deify DJs too much, but that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s the dance music renaissance, a redux that last year led us back into the midst of heady 90s euro-trash club anthems, and earned DJs respectable names as musicians, on the charts and indeed financially. Of the 90s Superstar DJ, NME says, “DJs traveled to gigs by helicopter, and bought million-pound homes (like Paul Oakenfold’s mansion, on the same street as Tony Blair’s). Of course, that bubble soon burst – the popularity of dance music waned as we entered the new millennium, going back underground.” And according to NME, the charts, and our playlists, the DJ is back with a vengeance; “Fast forward to the present day and dance music is once again on the rise, ushering in a new era of ‘pop star DJs’… the money is just as good as it was in the superclub era, if not better.”

Naming David Guetta at the top of the revolution is a no-brainer, as his work, including “Turn Me On” with Nicki Minaj, “Who’s That Chick?” with Rihanna and “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland, amongst a myriad of others, made Guetta the God Father of the Ibiza-anthem in 2011, and probably will probably lead him to see out 2012 out in the same fashion. And here’s the clanger — Guetta is making bank as a DJ. Reportedly able to demand upward of £100,000 per appearance and maintaining a private jet, Guetta’s success as a performer is astounding.

Take away the production of music in collaboration with high profile pop stars, and the appeal of a DJ is difficult to place. Indeed, many of us head out over the weekend to dance to tracks spun by anonymous guys in booths the world over. Which makes Guetta’s earning capacity for a gig all the more mind-boggling — as opposed to popstar counter parts who create spectacle with costume, story and dance, a DJ is someone who essentially stands behind some decks and changes tracks. And while we don’t dispute there’s a great deal of skill and canny involved in mixing music or pleasing a crowd, it’s still hard to fathom when the inconspicuous guy with the headphones becomes God-like, and in Guetta’s case, amassing a net worth of around £20 million.

NME reports that Guetta isn’t the only DJ making sweet, sweet cash performing — apparently Tiesto has been known to charge up to £250,000 for an appearance. Whatever these guys are doing, they’re doing it right, and as much as we pontificate over what makes a performance by a DJ so appealing, the numbers speak for themselves, with the above mentioned having the power to sell out venues with capacities in the tens of thousands. However, we’re guessing the dance craze won’t last much longer — genre seems to be somewhat cyclical and reactionary, and we’ve already talked about how we see a revolt to club-tunes on its way with the advent of “realwave.” While we’re sure we haven’t seen the end of euro-dance quite yet, we have a feeling the tide will pull out again as it did post-90s, and yes, it will probably inevitably roll back in again.

The Second Coming Of The Superstar DJ [NME]

[Photos: Getty Images]

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