Making the list
For EDM pop duo The Chainsmokers, making Forbes’ Celebrity 100 is all in a night’s work. So are the six-figure checks the duo claims nightly for their DJ sets in their lucrative deal with Wynn Nightlife. The Chainsmokers claimed the number two spot for highest paid DJs in the world for 2018, pulling down $45.5 million this year alone.
The duo, comprised of New Jersian Alex Pall and Maine native Drew Taggert, formed The Chainsmokers in 2012. They met in New York when introduced by their manager, where Pall was working as an aspiring DJ and Taggert was working as a producer working with Ableton.
No smokescreens here
The Chainsmokers have exploded onto the scene, once a novelty act but now a household name. With collaborations with Chris Martin of Coldplay, Halsey, Bono, and three hit singles under their belt this year alone, there is no wonder why this is the highest paid DJ twosome in the world. They have booked gigs as large as MTV Music Awards (with Kanye in the audience, no less), small club gigs in Vegas, and promo gigs for hardly any money as “favors” to radio stations, for instance. However, the fact remains these two are not hurting for dollar signs in their bank accounts. Recently they made $80,000 for a show booked with software giant Adobe–and got paid even though Adobe canceled the gig. According to Pall, that one job worth $80,000 would have taken him two years to make in his old job working at an art gallery.
Making the moment last
So what makes them so endearing to fans? They write for their fans, not just following trends but writing personal music to connect with fans on a higher level. Drawing from emo punk bands like Blink-182 and Dashboard Confessional, Pall and Taggert have found a way to make their moment last. With their ever-increasing popularity, their “moment” should last for a least a few more years, if not longer. Here’s to more hits and dollar signs, gentlemen.
At this point it’s impossible to deny the popularity of New York DJs Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart, the Chainsmokers. Every single release is treated like an event, and some songs never seem to fade from public attention. That’s become even more evident now that “Closer,” one of their first mainstream successes featuring pop star Hasley, has reached diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
It was an instant hit when it debuted late in the summer of 2016. “Closer” immediately found a home at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was untouchable for quite some time. Over on the Dance and Electronic chart, the single’s popularity lasted even longer, ending just a few months ago. On top of maintaining these spots for more than a dozen times, becoming the fourth longest top single in history, “Closer” managed to sell 10 million units since its debut.
In addition to being a commercial success, it was also a milestone for the Chainsmokers. This level of playability across charts meant that they were able to break free from the EDM crowd, where many music acts premiere and fizzle out before long. This duo had mainstream appeal, and with “Closer” they gave Hasley the opportunity she needed to shine through as a pop music act with a long future ahead of her. This was further supported by the Grammy nominations that followed in 2017 for all three artists on the song.
While Twenty One Pilots currently top the Hot 100 with “Stressed Out” and “the Middle” is now ahead on Dance and Electronic, “Closer” is still a hit with fans. So it was only appropriate that they should be first in hearing the good news. Instagram followers got to see Hasley and the Chainsmokers pose with their official plaques and read the announcement about “Closer’s” recognized popularity.
This is the first time this single has been in the news since last year when the RIAA awarded the song its seventh platinum honor. With the delivery of these plaques, “Closer” is now in a more coveted status than ever before. But the RIAA has yet to reflect this latest development on their official website.
The Chainsmokers have always been a band that has tried to push the envelope. Comprised of former DJs Andrew Paul and Drew Taggart, the electronica duo has cracked the top 10 numerous times. Even though they could have comfortably continued down this path, a few months ago they elected to chart a new course with their new single called “Sick Boy”, which many feel presents a darker style of music then what many of their fans are normally accustomed to. No matter, because much of their fan base is already on that path as well, and they are ready for this new focus by the band. Pall and Taggart explained their new direction during a recent interview.
Indeed, the song “Sick Boy” is still electronic in nature, but it is comprised of a haunting melody, alongside the piano beat and a slower tempo. During their interview they explained the concept behind this new single, noting this is their first new installment, symptomatic of the fact that the band has grown up, gotten older, and changed. They feel that their music is a description of their generation, and do not feel this is unfortunate simply because society itself is getting darker and more serious as a whole everyday.
Simply put, this new single is also about frustration. At a certain point, your popularity in the music industry will force you to become a caricature of who you really are, and this song addresses that. It would definitely appear that this song is a commentary on how some deal with fame and celebrity status.
How is this song based on their own personal experiences? Well, Taggart explains that they wrote the song about their generation grappling with the presence of social media. They realize that the electronic social world used to be a minor thing, but now it is much more serious than it used to be. Thus, even though everyone has a platform, they are simply utilizing this single as a commentary about this present world. This is inherent in the lyrics, “how many likes is my life worth?” This new direction for the Chainsmokers is sure to not only be a breath of fresh air for their fan base but also for them to gain new ones as well.