The incognito Dj known as Marshmello never plays a show without wearing his trademark helmet, which cost $55,000 and comes with programmable LED lights and an internal air-conditioning system. It weighs 8 pounds, half what the original did three years ago. “I swear there was steel or something in it,” he says.
Marshmello can afford the new headpiece: He pulled in $23 million over the past year, collecting six-figure nightly fees and producing crossover hits like Happier (with Bastille) and Wolves (with Selena Gomez). That puts him at No 5 on our list of the top-earning DJs. All that helped Marshmello—aka 26-year-old Chris Comstock—earn admission to last year’s Forbes 30 Under 30, too.
His YouTube channel is now the 50th largest on the planet—just behind Bruno Mars and ahead of Maroon 5 and, yes, Selena Gomez—averaging 250 million views and 1.4 million new subscribers every month.
His manager, Moe Shalizi, who appears on this year’s 30 Under 30, insists Marshmello will double his earnings next year, which would put him on par with this year’s top-earning DJ, Calvin Harris. Shalizi entertains even wilder dreams: “We always talk about taking Marshmello public one day.”
Yes, he’s referring to turning the business of Marshmello into a publicly traded company. “He can do anything.”
—Edited by Zack O’Malley Greenburg; Additional reporting by Rebecca Lerner