Chainsmokers: Why The World’s Highest-Paid DJs Are Building An Investment Portfolio | Forbes

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Published on 30 Jan 2020, 21:00
Pall, 34, and Taggart, 29—a 2017 30 Under 30 alum—met about a decade ago through their manager Adam Alpert. Taggart was fresh out of college and began commuting from his home in Maine every week via Bolt Bus to craft tracks with Pall before moving to New York. After years working small clubs and frat parties they landed a coveted gig at Liv in Miami in 2013 and celebrated with the song “#Selfie,” which they released as a free download and spread it around to South Florida blogs in hopes of driving crowds to the show. It quickly went viral, helped by a carefully orchestrated social media push. The official video has since attracted more than half a billion views.

Since, Pall and Taggart just wrapped their most lucrative year ever on the back of a recently-extended slate of more intimate shows at the Wynn’s XS Nightclub in Las Vegas. The performance was art. The shots were business: the Chainsmokers are the biggest non-founder stakeholders in a small batch spirit brand, JaJa Tequila. “You want the product to stand up on its own two feet, and I think long term,” says Taggart. “That's what we're in this for.”

The tequila investment is one of several pre-IPO equity positions they have accumulated through cash investments or as compensation for performances. And at the moment there is no shortage of either. The Chainsmokers have banked $130 million over the past three years, defying a plateau for DJ earnings and dethroning Calvin Harris as the highest-paid act in electronic music. They tallied $46 million before taxes in the past year alone, landing them at No. 24 on the Forbes list of highest-earning musicians.

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