Deadmau5 breaks down the take-home pay for a celebrity DJ

Marc Weisblott
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

Success may have struck electronic music superstar Deadmau5, but he doesn't feel any richer for it, based on some candid thoughts he recently shared with fans.

Joel Zimmerman, the Niagara Falls native whose occasionally mouse-headed persona performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics and walked the red carpet at the recent Juno Awards, has risen to the top of the DJ culture heap in the past five years.

A status update posted Wednesday night on his public Facebook page, though, might have led to the conclusion he's actually broke.

"Why does everyone think I'm a bloody millionaire?" asked Zimmerman, who explained what happens to every $10 given to Deadmau5.

EMI, the music company he signed a reported £1 million deal with in 2009, is the recipient of half of the cash. Management from the Three Six Zero Group, the same company that handles other world-famous DJ names like Calvin Harris and Mark Ronson, get $2 out of the $10.

And the booking agent credited with Deadmau5's fame, whose curiosity was piqued because he was also named Joel Zimmerman, has steered $1.50 to the influential William Morris Endeavor agency.

So, that means $1.50 is left for the artist: " . . . and with that $1.50 I have to put on shows, pay for staging, pay for flights/travel, hotels, meals and feed the cat and pay a mortgage.

"Then, pay the tax guy."

The mini-rant elicited more than 2,000 comments from his three million Facebook followers. Some were sympathetic, while others extended offers of financial advice, although many found his complaint absurd.

Based on current booking fees, that $1.50 he's left with would apparently translate into $15,000 per live performance, although Deadmau5's $12 million annual income speculated by the website Celebrity Net Worth may indeed have been exaggerated.

Nonetheless, the instantaneous reaction might have spurred Zimmerman to clarify his point: " . . . but the real value I get out of every aspect of the deal is . . . is that I have millions of people who have supported me and my music over the years. And that, to me, is worth more than all the money in the world."

And, in case there was any doubt the 30-year-old would rather be doing something else with his life, he drove the point home in a follow-up status update.

"If it was money I was after . . . I'd be a lawyer."

(Reuters Photo)