Marshmello’s True Identity Revealed: The $21 Million DJ
Chris comstock : Skrillex’s phone rang during an on-air interview with YahooKatie !’s Couric in 2015. “It’s Chris,” said Couric.
Skrillex said, “Oh, Marshmello,” before taking up the phone and placing DJ-producer Marshmello on speaker.
The encounter sparked speculation about the identity of the masked newcomer, who had only began distributing songs online for free three months before.
Marshmello is thought to be an alias of Chris Comstock, better known as Dotcom, a DJ-producer on the same management roster as Marshmello, according to social media investigators and EDM aficionados.
Forbes can now say with certainty that they are one and the same individual.
From the mouse-head-wearing Deadmau5 to the robot-helmeted Daft Punk, masked artists have been prevalent in electronic music.
However, Marshmello’s meteoric rise has outpaced that of any of his secret compatriots: Less than two years after his first public performance, he was named to Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid DJs thanks to ingenious marketing and addictive hits.
According to Forbes, the independent musician made an eye-popping $21 million pretax in the 12 months leading up to June 2017, thanks to more than 170 concerts with grosses of more than $150,000 each show.
Marshmello is registered as a songwriter and performer with music royalties manager BMI, which can be used to track down the white mask-wearing man’s identity.
Because pseudonyms and real identities are linked in BMI’s public database, searching for Marshmello or Comstock by his legal name yielded the same results, showing that Comstock is Marshmello.
It’s the same as Googling up Aubrey Drake Graham and seeing Drake’s discography, or searching for Marshall Mathers and seeing Eminem’s track listing.
Each artist’s legal name, from Lil Wayne to Lady Gaga, produces the same song list as their stage name.
Every pseudonym is assigned a unique nine-digit number, or CAE/IPI, which differs only slightly from the CAE/IPI assigned to the true name.
The difference between the nickname CAE/IPI and the legal name CAE/IPI for Marshmello and the other artists named is 98.
The similarity arises from the fact that both the legal name and the alias were applied for in quick succession.
However, Comstock had been removed off BMI’s website just 12 hours after I sent an email for comment to Marshmello’s management with links to BMI’s database showing the same findings for Comstock and Marshmello.
There were no results while looking for Comstock as a songwriter.
“Nope,” a Borgore and Dotcom tune that had previously featured in Comstock and Marshmello searches, had also was removed from the online repertory.
Thankfully, screenshots of the credits have already been taken.
(As of this morning, Comstock was listed as the only credit for “Nope” on the BMI website.) )
Marshmello, a 2018 30 Under 30 Music Class honoree, did not respond to a request for comment on his identity through his manager.
His lawyer, as well as his agent, declined to comment on his name when reached by phone.
Marshmello Creative, LLC, his holding business, provides additional evidence.
Christopher Comstock is the lone manager named on the company’s website, which was formed in Delaware in August 2015.
Similarly, Comstock is listed as the sole manager of Dotcom Music, LLC, the company that bears his old title.
Several industry insiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed Marshmello’s identity to Forbes. “It’s the exact same person,” one said.
Marshmello’s identity has been a well-kept mystery among EDM fans for quite some time.
Many of the clues can be traced back to social media: In 2016, Twitter fans uploaded photographs of Comstock’s leg tattoo and Marshmello wearing ripped jeans, both of whom appeared to have the same tattoo.
Others pieced together photographs of his hands and neck to draw comparisons.
On May 20th, 2016, Skrillex shared a video on Facebook with the caption “happy bday [sic] Marshmello,” which appeared to show a throng singing happy birthday to the masked producer.
Comstock was born on May 19th, according to his voter registration.
Marshmello was supposedly caught sans his helmet in an Instagram storey video in March by another producer.
Urvashi Rautela, a Bollywood actress, tagged Marshmello in a photo of Comstock in July, but she later changed the photo to remove the tag a few days later. (Facebook’s edit history is still visible.)
Credits from royalty monitor ASCAP, which have since been edited—much as BMI’s database—provide further evidence, as Forbes previously reported.
Comstock was identified as the lone songwriter on Marshmello’s “Silence” in August, aside from Khalid, who is the featured vocalist.
After my storey was published, it was modified to give credit to Marshmello rather than Comstock.
A similar error was reportedly discovered in the credits of Far East Movement and Marshmello’s 2016 single “Freal Luv,” which has subsequently been corrected.
The adjustments were not commented on by an ASCAP official, who only stated that the database is updated regularly.
However, pseudo-anonymity has proven to be a valuable marketing tactic for the musician, who had previously attempted to break through as Dotcom by using a different sound and making his name and face known.
In August, his manager Moe Shalizi told Forbes, “We were like, ‘How do we develop something that isn’t driven by who it is, or what it’s about?'” “We’re attempting to create a more faceless brand.”
It paid off: “Alone” was certified platinum last month, and the video has roughly 140 million views on YouTube.
His travelling prowess allows him to schedule up to three shows in a single day.
“Demand for Marshmello much outnumbers his availability,” said Steve Gordon, Marshmello’s booking agent and co-owner of Circle Talent Agency.
It’s unlikely that whether he’s Comstock or Marshmello will make much of a difference to his supporters.
He’s proven he can sell out performances and write successful songs, with his most recent single, “Wolves,” featuring Selena Gomez, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.
Many people are already aware of the connection: Comstock’s Dotcom Instagram has a lot of comments about “Marshmello” or “mello gang,” and Marshmello’s social media has a lot of remarks about Dotcom as well.
If Comstock removes the mask, he might even be safeguarding his career.
While Marshmello is still wearing his helmet, he could be replaced by other Marshmello-branded entities.
Marshmello, who doesn’t speak to journalists, was asked if he would ever identify himself in a video interview published in June.
Two thumbs down, he replied. Two months later, he tweeted: “I don’t remove my helmet because I don’t seek or require fame.
I’m sincerely attempting to build something positive with which people may identify.”
Regardless, his fans will continue to dance.