How much do DJs make today in comparison to what Woodstock performers took home in ’69?
In 1969, Jimi Hendrix donned a white fringe leather jacket, stood in front of 400,000 people, and made music history as possibly the world’s first iconic festival headliner. If it was possible to bring Hendrix back to the stage in today’s day and age (non-hologram style), event producers around the world would undoubtedly clamor to pay thousands to have the legend perform one last time.
But back in the ’60s, things were different. Though Hendrix was paid for his ‘priceless’ performance, what he took home for the show was a meager $18,000, which when translated to the current dollar, still only equates to just over $114,500. Other iconic acts like Janis Joplin and The Who were only paid $7,500 and $6,200 respectively, both landing well under $50,000 in the 2015 dollar. The Grateful Dead didn’t even fair so well — the group took home $2,500, or just under $16,000 in today’s cash payout.
For entertainment sake, we thought we’d compare what these rock and music legends took home to the daily wages of our beloved dance music stars of today. How does Jimi fair against the likes of Calvin Harris and David Guetta? Below are the estimated salaries of today’s DJ rockstars in comparison to an adjusted 2015 wage of those who performed at Woodstock back in ’69.
Oliver Heldens: $10,000 – $30,000
This 20 year-old Dutch producer is already earning well over what The Grateful Dead made from Woodstock ($16,000), as well as Ten Years After ($20,696), Johnny Winter ($23,880) and The Incredible String Band ($14,328).
Afrojack and Armin van Buuren: $50,000 – $100,000
Both of these Dutch talents leave The Who ($39,482) in the dust, when it comes to payment. Janis Joplin is close to being able to compare to the two at $47,760, but only Creedence Clearwater Revival and Joan Baez are actually able to reach above $50,000 ($63,680 each).
Martin Garrix and Hardwell: $100,000 and up
Blood, Sweat, and Tears is just shy of being comparable to Garrix and Hardwell at $95,520 (which is only $15,000 in 1969), and only Jimi Hendrix ($114,625) is able to match these Dutch producers’ asking price.
David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Tiësto are all estimated to earn over $350,000 per booking, a price tag that is incomparably high to any of the Woodstock performers that set the precedent of festival performance decades ago. Though inflation must be considered, as well as the swell in demand and interest in live performers which has increased tenfold since 1969, the comparison is shocking to say the least.
Find the full chart below thanks to Variety to see how much each Woodstock performer made what.