As MDL Beast Soundstorm closes today, how much Saudi money was enough to buy the silence of DJs? An old tweet by deadmau5 (who was on the lineup) reveals a possible clue…

It was Russian crime boss Ray Bulgarin in Grand Theft Auto IV who once said “There is a price for everything in this city. You just have to find out what it is”. And indeed, if he were not a fictional character, he might have been able to solve this mystery a while ago.

But sadly, he’s not real – so the task has been left to me. Just how much money is enough to leave your conscience and principles at home by playing at the controversial MDL Beast Soundstorm festival, which concludes today? It’s a question I suspect has different answers depending on whom the DJ is.

However, there are clues out there. DJs are notoriously secretive on the subject of how much they get paid for each gig. This applies throughout the industry, top and bottom – but inevitably, there’s more interest in how much money some of the bigger DJs in the scene are paid.

But from time to time, one of the DJs in the big leagues lets details slip. Such as Canadian DJ and producer Joel Zimmerman, better known to most as deadmau5. Since he started getting noticed around 2007 – and almost single handedly freshened up a house scene which was getting pretty boring at the time – his rise was pretty astonishing to witness.

Back in 2016, a follower on Twitter asked him how much he was paid per gig. And rather unusually for a big name DJ, Zimmerman was happy to disclose this information…

Bear in mind this was back in 2016, so it’s highly likely that Zimmerman’s fee has increased further since then. I know at least five DJs on the lineup are being paid six figure sums for their appearances – and one of those is rumoured to be getting half a million dollars for their appearance.

As Jeff Mills himself previously admitted in a rant – which he deleted, but is still available to read on your favourite blog – Saudi Arabia has the money to pay for these gargantuan fees. Indeed, the bill for paying all the DJs on the lineup is believed to be somewhere in the region of $8million.

Still, one might imagine the MDL Beast organisers are feeling a little disappointed this weekend on one level. Many of the DJs appearing on the bill have made scant reference to it on their substantially followed social media channels – infact, a few have not mentioned their appearance at the festival at all.

As they count up their now much healthier bank balances, the public are perfectly entitled to ask why they continue to remain silent. And I’m struggling to come to any conclusion other than money…


Update at 3pm – I’ve since learnt that Zimmerman isn’t actually at Soundstorm. He cancelled his appearance after someone from his team tested positive for Covid-19. Zimmerman and the team are now in isolation. Happy to clarify.