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March 23, 2019

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Megabucks DJs update: More star names (Avicii, Tiesto, Guetta); a possible EDM festival at MGM Grand

2012MDW: David Guetta at Encore Beach Club

Erik Kabik/

DJ David Guetta performs at Encore Beach Club in the Encore on Sunday, May 27, 2012. The crowd included DJ Tiesto (pictured here, left, with Guetta), Lil Jon, Reggie Bush and Adrianna Costa.

XS Second Anniversary With Deadmau5

XS celebrates its second anniversary with special guest Deadmau5 at the Encore nightclub on Feb. 21, 2011. Launch slideshow »

DJango Unlimited

2011 EDC: Night 1 With DJ Tiesto

DJ Tiesto at the 2011 Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on June 24, 2011.  Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

DJ Avicii and Jason Strauss at the first anniversary of Marquee on Jan. 2, 2012.

Following up on the story we posted Thursday about the new DJ wars in Las Vegas and the mind-boggling megabucks contracts comes news that MGM Grand intends to throw its own Electronic Dance Music festival.

And those numbing numbers of $20 million over two years I reported for the spinmeisters of steel were apparently on the low side! Thanks to my pal David Morris at for helping update our first revelations.

The news I uncovered was apparently set to be revealed at the Grammy Awards in February, with two of Hakkasan at MGM Grand’s new resident DJs performing. Daily Fiasco is reporting that MGM Grand is partnering with Angel Management Group for a series of EDM arena concerts that will feature the new Hakkasan stars and include Tiesto, Steve Aoki and Calvin Harris alongside Deadmau5.

I apparently underreported the staggering Deadmau5 paychecks. Yes, it is a two-year deal with his shows earning him $425,000 each -- with sometimes two a day, at Wet Republic and Hakkasan, and in the MGM Arena for an astonishing $850,000.

Can the $1 million barrier just around the corner be smashed in the next 90 days? Tiesto hits the $250,000 mark for each show, and another star, Hardwell, is likely the next DJ to sign a whopping Hakkasan contract.

I was reliably told by separate sources that the new nightclub Light at Mandalay Bay in the former Rum Jungle space will start unveiling its lineup of 12 global superstar DJs starting in January, with trailers running in key markets before Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Django Unchained” starring Leonardo DiCaprio that debuts Christmas Day.

First word is that Light’s talent manager has signed Alesso, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Nicky Romero, plus, as many as eight others for the Cirque du Soleil- and Ibiza-themed venue. I have confirmed that Light will officially open in April after a late-March preview.

David says that Wynn and Encore, who will lose some of the stars to Hakkasan and Light, still have a 40-strong lineup of spinners with headline names Afrojack, Skrillex, Avicii, Steve Angello and David Guetta remaining and joined by Knife Party, Eric Prydz and Madeon. He adds that center Strip Marquee at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas operated by the Tao Group retains Kaskade and will headline Krewella shortly.

One top nightclub executive planning the DJ marketing campaigns told me: “Every headline DJ on the planet will be in Las Vegas next year; it’s pretty much over for everyone else. An all-out war is on to sign the superstars.

“Budgets are unlimited because it’s become the ultimate financial driver of the nightlife industry. Las Vegas becomes the capital of the world for all of this now.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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