Smoking Sensations

- By Zack O’Malley Greenburg

The Chainsmoke­rs, the world’s highest-paid electronic-music act, have a new identity offstage: formidable investors.

The two DJs who make up the world’s highest-earning electronic-music act have spun themselves a pair of new identities: onstage, as a formidable arenarock band; offstage, as equally formidable investors.

Moments before igniting a crowd of nearly 12,000 at Nashville’s Bridgeston­e Arena in late October, the Chainsmoke­rs—Alex Pall, 34 (above, left), and Drew Taggart, 29, who was honored as part of the Forbes Under 30 Class of 2017—check off the final items on their greenroom to-do list. In order: a run-through of the first song’s chorus, a round of tequila shots (a fiduciary duty, as you’ll see) and a jokey command for Pall’s golden retriever, loafing nearby. “Mooshu!” Pall hollers. “Take care of the house!”

Their 90-minute set is a contrast to the more intimate Las Vegas shows that helped the pair earn some $46 million (pretax) in 2019. (Those concerts were part of a recently extended three-year deal with Wynn Nightlife.) They spread the love—the Nashville gig featured fellow Under 30 alumni Kelsea Ballerini and 5 Seconds of Summer. More shots, too: The Chainsmoke­rs are the two biggest nonfoundin­g stakeholde­rs in JaJa Tequila, a two-year-old brand out of New York. It’s one component of a financial strategy through which the duo shun typical endorsemen­ts in favor of investment­s in Uber, Los Angeles–based motorized-scooter maker Wheels and a company called Ember, which makes “smart mugs” for coffee and tea obsessives. Don’t expect to see one onstage, though. “You want the product to stand up on its own two feet, and I think long-term,” Taggart says. “That’s what we’re in this for.”

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