We waited another year to find out which DJ had the biggest budget for advertisement. And finally it’s time for the DJ Mag Top 100 ranking. A list that lost his magic long time ago. But what’s all about the poll, that goes around every year, electing the “best” DJs? It gives people a wrong perspective of EDM music. A disoriented view of what a “good DJ” is.

Year after year, more hardstyle DJs are making it into the list and I am not sure if I should be happy or sad about it, probably sad, because f*ck DJ Mag Top 100, that’s why! Right now, we celebrate every single entry we get and I hope it’s not affecting our genre in a negative way.

I have nothing against DJ Mag. They were actually a big inspiration for me and HardstyleMag. But I just have to make my point here and tell you, why I dislike the Top 100 ranking. Of course, let me know what you think of this year’s ranking. I hope to hear a lot of different opinions.

So, before we talk about the “sucking” part. Let’s have a look at this year’s top 10! It’s not the first eyebrow-raising results:

1. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (WTF, really?)
2. Hardwell
3. Martin Garrix
4. Armin Van Buuren (Like always… I guess)
5. Tiesto
6. David Guetta (Please, not again)
7. Avicii
8. Afrojack
9. Skrillex
10. Steve Aoki

I am also missing Noisecontrollers or Wildstylez – here are the top positions of hard dance artists.

38. Angerfist
49. Coone
53. Brennan Heart
72. Radical Redemption
73. Frontliner
79. Da Tweekaz
87. Zatox
94. Miss K8

It’s about quantity NOT quality

If you were trying to find the “best DJ” DJ Mag Top 100 is definitely the wrong place to look. Creating a quantitative list, DJ Mag is far away from being an indicator for the world’s top DJs. It’s a subjective voting, not an objective one!

There are no independent judges ranking the technical skills of DJs and their productions. It’s simple, a popularity contest – the person with the most votes wins. So, it’s a competition about exposure throughout the scene.

People just need to know your name and companies like ID&T are helping. Just because a lot of people support a stupid “DJ”, because they have no clue, still buzzing from their 4000€ weekend at Tomorrowland, he is still a stupid “DJ”, right?

Ghost producer HardstyleMag DJ Mag Top 100

Picture by Timothy S.

Even if you can’t name a single track by DV & LM, you can vote for them. And that’s how it proceeds. DJs, supported by ghost producers, play pre recorded sets and make it into the top of the ranking. Seriously, most of the DJs in the ranking are just sync-button-pressing fads! Of course, there are a few excuses, but let’s face it, every Top 10 looks like a solid Tomorrowland line-up.

Furthermore you can’t take the DJ Mag Top 100 serious, if there is a cake-throwing-longhaired-in a paddling boat sitting-clown on stage, jumping around and leaving the DJ booth for about 20 minutes and the music keeps on playing.

In addition, it’s clear that mainstream music genres, with more fans, will get the most DJs into the Top 100, leaving some true gems behind. The consequence is that the ranking get’s more and more ignored or real DJs have no chance to get a place in the Top 100, even if they would beat Hardwell’s or DV & LM’s ass in djing.

Everybody knows, or just feels, what’s going on behind the scenes – DJ Mag Top 100 can’t create a list that’s representative of the DJs skills. Maybe it’s time to rethink the way we vote for the “top DJs” and sometimes it will be a more meaningful evaluation again, like in its early years.

It’s all about money

What started as a rumor is something that comes along with every DJ MAG Top 100 ranking. The bad feeling that a lot of DJs just paid for their positions. Just earlier this month STAMEN, a popular progressive house DJ, posted a note on his Facebook Page.

In his note he talked about how DJ Mag tells him, that he made it into the Top 100, #83. After he couldn’t pay for the advertisement page DJ MAG offered him, he was suddenly not in the Top 150 anymore.

As STAMEN says DJ Mag’s reason was quite suspicious:

“This week we have been looking through the bottom end of the poll and looking through your votes there are a considerable number which we believe to be fraudulent and we have removed them from the poll.

This has meant that you are now no longer in the Top 150 so will not feature in the magazine or the poll.“, DJ Mag

So, maybe it’s just a coincidence or a fake, but I have to admit… his screenshots of the emails look pretty damn convincing.

On another note, you also find this reddit post by Audiofeq, telling people about the advertisement offers by DJ Mag. For only 17,000€ DJs can get a banner, which “will be flashing in front of voters as they make their decision”. So, if you forget how to spell “Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike” the DJ Mag banner will help you out.

Of course, there is nothing wrong about advertisement, especially if you need exposure. But how seriously can we take an election, that’s really all about making profit. How can we believe that there is not a single black sheep, who will just sell a good position for some dollars.

A well oiled money machine, where the highest bidder get’s his position. There are even agencies out there “helping” DJs get a higher ranking on the DJ Mag Top 100 list. You can read a whole article about it here on huffingtonpost.com.

Some last thoughts:
Do I hate the DJ Mag Top 100 ranking? No.
Do I think it’s only a popularity contest? Yes.

Right now, the money machine is still working like a charm. But I am sure there is a more efficient and transparent way to do a poll like DJ Mag Top 100. But it’s not all bad. The list leads to discussions about a topic we all love and even if it’s only a marketing action it get’s a few of us thinking. And until everybody get’s sick of it, or something equal shows up we will wait like vultures for the next election.

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