Forbes explores a different sort of DJ cashing in on EDM’s popularity
Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Avicii, and David Guetta are only a handful of the now household EDM names that have shot straight to the top. While their successes have seemingly only increased their own financial standing (as Forbes pointed out earlier this year), a new dialogue reveals that the EDM boom and its figureheads have simultaneously swung the door of opportunity wide open for fellow ‘underdog’ DJs – the open format DJs.
Forbes, in a brief DJ history lesson, explores the rise of EDM from a different perspective than most often shared. Even before “Levels,” there were DJs like DJ Ruckus who mastered the art and played open format sets, a style diverging from the usual strictly electronic or drop after drop formula we’ve become accustomed to. Instead, the floor was open to hip-hop, rock, mashups or electronic tracks all within the same set. Though the once-popular style has taken a backseat to the now EDM conscious crowd, the consequences for open format DJs have actually been more positive than negative. Ruckus explains, “The EDM boom has really helped the glorification of the DJ altogether.”
It’s no secret that Europe first nurtured dance music decades before names like Hardwell and Afrojack ever became relevant in the States. In America, open format DJs ruled dance floors until international influences began to push them out of the spotlight. “Open format had control over all of the hot nightclubs across the board, both coasts, all the way from New York to Las Vegas,” said Ruckus before adding an honest conclusion. “But the rise of the DJ [happened] because of the EDM boom.”
Admittedly, DJs similar to Ruckus may never crack the top list alongside Electronic Cash Kings, but the Los Angeles native is by no means finding himself in low demands. Already, he’s broken the million dollar barrier and has over 200 performances under his belt for the past year, and he’s not alone in his success. SKAM Artists owner Sujit Kunda – who represents the likes of Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Nick Cannon – put the booking fees of an open format DJ at 30% higher than last year and their demand as rivaling some mid-tier DJs in mid-sized rooms. So while “open format DJ boom” may never make it into the lexicon, the current crop of turntablists are doing just fine riding the wake of their EDM-only counterparts – and may prove more seaworthy if the tides eventually shift.