The number crunchers at Forbes just released their first-ever list of the top-earning DJs over the past year, which normally wouldn’t be television-related except to the extent it would give me a chance to beg people in the industry to not give Skrillex (Number 2 – $15 million) a reality show. But it falls squarely in our wheelhouse because coming in at Number 7 on the list, with a 2011 take home of $11 million, is Jersey Shore‘s own hair gel aficionado Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio. The magazine chronicles his rise to turntable-scratching fame thusly:
But something changed in 2009, when he was selected to be a part of MTV’s Jersey Shore. Three years later he’s got a slew of eponymous products, his own television show and a DJ career that earns him an average of $40,000 per show from club gigs, private parties and a stint opening for Britney Spears on her Femme Fatale tour. Over the past year, Pauly D pulled in $11 million, enough to earn him the No. 7 spot on FORBES’ first-ever top-earning DJs list.
“Everybody was skeptical at first, because how everybody heard about me is probably from Jersey Shore,” he says. “But now I’m six seasons deep in the show and I’ve been touring all over the country, touring with major pop acts and stuff like that. That legitimizes everything, and they’re starting to say, ‘This kid isn’t just a reality star, he’s an actual DJ.’” [Forbes]
I don’t know enough about DJing to confirm or refute any of the claims Mr. D is making in the second paragraph (my knowledge pretty much begins and ends with the song “Sandstorm” by Darude), but I’m going to take what I feel like is a controversial stance on the matter: Good for Pauly D. If you read the rest of the article, you’ll see that all the dude wanted to do was be a DJ. Did he use his fame from Jersey Shore as a springboard to get opportunities others wouldn’t have gotten? Sure. Are people probably wildly overpaying him because a marquee with his name on it will bring in more people than one with “DJ Slappy Sanders” or whoever? Of course. But at least he’s, like, doing something, instead of just showing up at a nightclub and collecting $30,000 to sit in the VIP and sip free vodka cranberries like most reality stars and celebutantes.
I can understand why his success might make the other DJs on the list want to put their weirdly-decorated heads through a wall, but that ain’t on him. Lots of people use their connections and trade on their names to advance their career — in music, in banking, in garbage collecting, whatever — so I’m not going to single out Pauly D just because he has a stupid haircut and a dumb show on MTV.
All that said, please don’t ever make me listen to one of his performances. I will literally die. Literally.