Superstar DJs have become some of the biggest names in the music industry, performing live sets to thousands of fans and selling millions of records worldwide.
The most famous and influential DJs of all time have broken records, performing at sell-out international tours and redefined everything from hip-hop to house music.
Continue reading for a complete breakdown of the biggest DJs on the planet, from techno pioneer Carl Cox to the international stars of the contemporary EDM scene.
Top 10 Most Famous DJs of All Time
The most popular DJs in the world have earned their place in the spotlight through hard work and dedication, bringing cutting-edge music to millions of fans.
We’ve broken down everything you need to know, from the early days of their music career to their best-selling tracks and high-profile residencies.
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 10 most famous DJs of all time:
Los Angeles-based DJ and music producer Skrillex began his music career as a member of the post-hardcore act From First to Last before moving into dubstep.
One of the genre’s pioneers, he helped bring it into the mainstream through his collaborations with iconic artists, including Ellie Golding and Lady Gaga.
He’s also responsible for two studio albums, with his first album, Recess, released in 2014 and his second studio album, Quest For Fire, hitting the market in 2023.
The music industry first took notice of his exceptional production skills in 2011, with three wins at the Grammy Awards that, included Best New Artist.
In addition to his many original compositions and remixes, Skrillex is a master at DJing in clubs, with residencies in the hottest venues in Los Angeles.
He’s also headlined some of the biggest music festivals in the world, including appearances at Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, and Tomorrowland.
It’s an impressive transformation for a DJ who started performing for around 200 people in dingy clubs in Los Angeles.
Nowadays, Skrillex continues to perform DJ sets around the globe and has worked with high-profile artists, including Four Tet, Burna Boy, and Swae Lee.
9. Paul Van Dyk
With his focus on cutting-edge trance music, Paul Van Dyk has worked at the forefront of electronic dance music since the early 1990s.
The German DJ and producer got his initial break with his remix of “Love Simulation” by Humate, consistently releasing music in the years since.
His 2003 album Reflections was one of the first releases nominated for the newly created Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Working with some of the biggest labels in the music industry, his tracks have been released on Armada, Spinnin’, Perfecto, and Universal Music.
Van Dyk has also headlined at many of the best-known European clubs, including some of Ibiza’s biggest venues, such as Amnesia and Space.
In addition to his original songs, he’s worked on remixes and collaborations with a long list of popular music stars ranging from the Pussycat Dolls to David Byrne.
He’s also enjoyed collaborating with Electronic Arts, writing electronic music for games including Need For Speed 2, Mirror’s Edge, and Grand Slam Tennis.
8. Carl Cox
Few names in the history of British electronic dance music carry the same weight and significance as Carl Cox.
Cox, a DJ, music producer, and radio presenter, has had a big influence on the UK electronic music scene and culture for several decades.
His combination of techno and underground house music has inspired countless up-and-coming DJs throughout his career, with Cox consistently at the forefront.
As well as performing in prominent clubs around the UK, he’s worked with some of the best European DJs at the hottest venues, including the iconic Ibiza club Space.
He’s also no stranger to international music festivals, having curated the Electric Daisy Carnival line-up and headlined many others.
Carl Cox’s decades of experience working in the music industry is reflected in his online presence, with one of the best DJ websites you’ll find online.
Universally revered in the dance music community and capable of jaw-dropping DJ mixes, Carl Cox has earned his reputation as one of the most influential DJs in the world.
He continues to DJ worldwide, as well as serving as the host for his incredibly popular weekly radio show broadcast with over 17 million listeners.
7. Paul Oakenfold
Another of Britain’s most influential DJs is Paul Oakenfold, who did for house and EDM what Carl Cox accomplished for tech house and techno.
Oakenfold’s trailblazing approach as one of the best house music DJs of all time has influenced countless DJs who’ve followed in his footsteps.
Before becoming a DJ, Oakenfold had worked as an A&R man for Champion Records, giving him a unique insight into the industry and plenty of contacts.
This work included managing and promoting acts such as DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Salt-n-Pepa, with the Beastie Boys also among his clients.
After experimenting with acid jazz in his early day’s DJing dance music, Oakenfold immersed himself in the house music scene and never looked back.
His main stage performance at the 1999 Glastonbury music festival helped solidify his popularity and was the first time a DJ had graced the stage.
In dance music aficionado circles, Oakenfold was ranked the number one DJ in the world by DJ Magazine two years in a row, picking up the accolade in 1998 and 1999.
This significant increase in his public profile paved the way for remixes of some of the biggest music stars, including Madonna, Michael Jackson, and the Rolling Stones.
Oakenfold’s contributions to movies, TV shows, and video games have strengthened his reputation as one of the most famous DJs in the world.
6. Steve Aoki
American DJ and music producer Steve Aoki is as well known for his light-hearted stage stunts as he is for his DJing and music releases.
Whether he’s throwing cake at the audience or spraying them with expensive champagne, his on-stage antics have become the stuff of legend.
This consummate showmanship is matched by Aoki’s prolific output as a producer of original music and remixes, with many chart-topping singles in his discography.
His career has spanned over two decades, resulting in many awards and accolades in recognition of his critical and commercial appeal.
Collaborations with mainstream acts, including Linkin Park, will.i.am, Iggy Azalea, and the Backstreet Boys have helped increase his appeal with mainstream music fans.
Aoki has used his considerable clout and reputation as the founder of the global music brand Dim Mak, helping to launch the careers of promising new DJs.
At the peak of his touring career, Steve Aoki broke records to become the highest-earning dance artist in North America, with a net worth of $120 million.
He’s not shy of putting his fame and fortune to good use, and in 2013 he set up the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund to raise money for global humanitarian relief organizations.
5. David Guetta
David Guetta is often considered the embodiment of the rock star DJ, with millions of his albums and singles sold worldwide.
Born and raised in France, David Guetta’s content online has been streamed over 10 billion times, while DJ Mag voted him the number one DJ three years in a row.
He began his career working in clubs in Paris, playing house and progressive music on the dance floor before hosting his own club nights.
While his early career started slowly, when he released his 2009 album One Love, he became an overnight sensation and household name.
This success paved the way for Guetta to work on remixes by artists such as Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga, placing him firmly in the mainstream consciousness.
It’s an impressive transformation from a DJ specializing in niche underground clubs to working with Nicki Minaj and the Black Eyed Peas.
However, David Guetta is much more than just a commercial success story; he’s widely considered the Godfather of EDM and one of the most influential DJs of his generation.
These achievements are reflected in the many awards he’s picked up over the years, including two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award in the EDM category.
Toronto-based EDM DJ Deadmau5 is considered by many to be the first true superstar of the genre, capturing the essence of its style with his 2005 album Get Scraped.
Deadmau5 understood better than most how to build a DJ brand, with his iconic mouse mask making him instantly identifiable at clubs and festivals worldwide.
A regular headlining performer at dance festivals worldwide, Deadmau5 has rocked the main stage at Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, and Tomorrowland.
His music releases have sold millions of copies worldwide and appeared on compilation albums from Armin Van Buuren and Tiësto.
Extended plays and singles have also performed well, with “Ghosts’ n’ Stuff” taken from the album For Lack of a Better Name, certified platinum in 2008.
Deadmau5 wrote the track exclusively for BBC Radio 1’s Essential Selection, hosted by another of the most famous DJs in the world, Pete Tong.
In 2010, Deadmau5 was named the house DJ for the MTV Video Music Awards, during which he thanked David Guetta and Lady Gaga for helping to push EDM to a wider audience.
3. Daft Punk
Like David Guetta, Daft Punk began their impressive career playing at nightclubs and parties in and around Paris during the 1990s.
Formed by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo in 1993, they catapulted into the mainstream spotlight with the release of their 1997 debut album, Homework.
They continued to release popular singles and albums over the following years, with their second album Discovery proving they weren’t one-hit wonders.
On stage, they quickly established a reputation as the best DJs in their field, culminating in the jaw-dropping 2006/2007 Alive world tour.
While it has been some time since Daft Punk released a new dance music track, their legacy and impact on the scene are difficult to understate.
The use of masks and lights to disguise their appearance has been copied by other famous DJs, such as Deadmau5 and Marshmello.
This legacy also transcends dance music, with bands such as LCD Soundsystem and singers including Janet Jackson and Pharrell Williams indebted to their work.
2. Armin van Buuren
Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren is another talented performer who has been around since the early years of dance music.
After being inspired by Jean-Michel Jarre while studying at Leiden University, he began a residency at Club Nexus, where he played lengthy six-hour sets.
Van Buuren branched out into music production soon after, with his hit song “This Is What It Feels Like” featuring Trevor Guthrie, gaining him wide acclaim.
A consistent performer, he’s headlined hundreds of major events and festivals throughout his career, including Tomorrowland and Ushuaia in Ibiza.
He’s also held several high-profile club residencies and is well-regarded for his long sets at Omnia Club in Las Vegas.
Armin Van Buuren is also the host of one of the most popular radio shows in the world, A State of Trance, which broadcasts in 84 countries to over 40 million listeners.
Like Carl Cox, Tiësto has been on the DJ scene for many years, establishing a reputation as one of the highest-paid DJs in the world and one of the most influential.
He’s another Dutch DJ with several decades of experience DJing and producing dance music, with a reputation for exploring multiple genres.
Referred to by many music fans as the “Godfather of EDM,” he first became active in the mid-1990s producing and DJing hardcore and gabber.
Since then, he’s dabbled in house, trance, and other popular dance genres, combining them to develop his unique EDM approach.
Tiësto’s ascension into the ranks of world-famous DJs began with his remix of the Delerium song “Silence” in 2010, which paved the way for a long list of collaborations.
As well as being one of the highest-paid DJs, Tiësto is also one of the most influential, in addition to being a prolific record producer and world-famous DJ.
That’s a wrap on our article exploring the world’s most famous DJs, from the Godfather of EDM, David Guetta, to British icons Carl Cox and Paul Oakenfold.
These world-class DJs have shaped a range of electronic music genres, such as dubstep and progressive house, reshaping the scene for generations to come.
We’ll update this article to include any new noteworthy DJs, so check back again for the latest rankings.
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