Donning his other persona as music entrepreneur, Steve Aoki, known worldwide for his energetic electronic dance shows, said Wednesday he doesn't expect to get rich anytime soon from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
"They're still an income stream. You can't say that we don't make money off of that because we do," said Aoki. "For myself, I don't … got to get that check to make it through. It's definitely more of a pension plan."
He's also a Grammy-nominated producer who's collaborated with A-listers including will.i.am and the band Linkin Park. His new album "Neon Future Odyssey" was released last month.
From starting a record label out of his dorm room in 1996 to headlining music festivals all over the world to an MGM residency in Las Vegas, Aoki said, "Inspiration finds me. I kind of go where my passion is going."
And that passion has really paid off, with Aoki reportedly earning as much as $200,000 a night.
Responding to critics who claim DJs are not real musicians, Aoki said he's not bothered.
"As long as I can do my thing. As long as I can tour and produce music and all this stuff. They can say anything they want," he said. "You're going to get critics. You're going to get haters in any business."
Aoki's empire, under the Dim Mak umbrella, includes the record label he launched as a teenager nearly 20 years ago, and more recent forays into fashion, which have been successful in Japan. He hopes for a similar reception in the U.S.
The 37-year-old Aoki, son of the late-Benihana founder Rocky Aoki, grew up in Florida and California. He now splits his time between Vegas and Ibiza, Spain.