For more than 25 years, DJ Mag has been one of the biggest electronic music brands. They have a strong global presence, with assets spanning print, web, video and events. DJ Mag has been awarded “Best Music Magazine” at the International Dance Music Awards a record 17 times. “In 2015, DJ Mag was chosen by Apple as one of only seven influencers for their 2015 launch of Apple Music. As owners of the influential Top 100 DJs and Top 100 Clubs polls, DJ Mag is read and respected worldwide.” (more info: http://djmag.com/info/about)
According to their website “Over 1million people vote in Top 100 DJs”. Check their latest Top 100: http://djmag.com/top100djs.
Is the influential and famous TOP 100 by DJ MAG a popularity list?
Many people, including both EDM fans and artists, consider that this TOP 100 DJs is, at least, controversial. Mainly because good, known, experienced and exceptional DJs/Producers are at the bottom of the chart, while new artists, some with only a few hits, occupy higher positions. This list doesn’t look right and it seems to have nothing to do with the quality of the performance & music of a DJ.
To answer the question, DJ Mag Top 100 isn’t a popularity contest! And it’s a lot worse than you might think.
This is a list of DJs that pay the most to DJ MAG and for services of marketing/promotion, so they can appear on this Top. Some even pay 10.000 and 50.000 euros for their DJ Mag campaign! Laidback Luke, known DJ and Producer, talks about this in this video: http://youtu.be/8ExmG-F9Dnw?t=4m26s.
Your next question would be, why does a DJ want to pay to appear in a controversial list like this? What this list means, although most EDM fans don’t realize, is that your favorite DJs can ask for higher fees depending on their Top position. This is something that DJs have been managing to do over the years (higher position = better DJ). And who pays for these higher fees?… All of us! Through festivals/clubs/event tickets.
Buying votes?… Everybody keeps silent
According to Laidback Luke (video here – he had the chance to talk with some artists) and other articles, a few DJs admitted approaching indian companies to buy likes and bots to hack DJ Mag Top 100 voting system! This is how unknown DJs appear on the Top 100, since all they need is money to buy these promotion services.
After analyzing all of this, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that DJ Mag is the one who benefits entirely. They are smart. Their scheme (it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad) allows them to obtain the highest profits. But since DJs also gain with this, almost everybody keeps silent about what’s going on.
Higher fees VS Talent
While this farce takes place, there is an increasing disadvantage of many other artists, like Mat Zo, Flume, Bassnectar, Daft Punk, Disclosure, to name a few (who may not even appear in this list in the future), when compared to the ones on the Top 100.
The EDM industry is becoming highly competitive too and due to the wrong reasons, because it has nothing to do with musical quality or talent, but instead with aggressive marketing + hacking. This is a serious and scary thing, now that most of us are paying for a big lie!
Finally, the next time you vote for your favorite DJ, consider this: you’re agreeing to pay a lot more to see your favorite artist live. And don’t get the wrong idea! Every hardworking artist, old or new, has the right to be (and should be!) compensated through higher fees. But this is a different case since we’re talking about talent.
Now that this is settled, think about Ghost Production for a minute or two and how it relates to some of the artists in the TOP 100. You can check this Interview with a ghost producer by Dave Jenkins at UKF blog.
There is one ghost producer, however, who has come forth and talked about it. Maarten Vorwerk has produced hundreds of hits for most TOP 100 DJs, but have you ever heard about him? Read what Maarten Vorwerk has to say when asked about EDM ghost production websites like www.edmghostproducer.com:
…someone who is trying to get his DJ career on the road but needs music to build his profile and hasn’t got a big budget to hire someone like me. It’s a win-win situation.
– Maarten Vorwerk (We Rave You – Exclusive interview to Maarten Vorwerk)
Anyone with a big budget can buy songs, have his name on those hits, tour worldwide, get on the Top 100, and most importantly, lie to his fans. This “complex” and not so transparent EDM industry is what it is, but we, music fans and artists, can change it if we start to think and act.
Feel free to check these articles. Some also mention DJs who are starting to show their discontent regarding the DJ Mag Top 100.
– inthemix (July 2016) – Voting in 2016’s DJ Mag 100 is open and everyone’s already complaining
– inthemix (October 2017) – Unsurprisingly, DJs are really mad at the results of the DJ Mag 100
– Your EDM (October 2015) – Hardwell Puts Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike On Blast After Top 100 DJs Awards
– Your EDM (October 2016) – Hardwell Says “Fuck The DJ Mag” & Goes On Epic Rant About The Top 100
– Your EDM (October 2017) – The Top 10 DJs of 2017, DJ Mag Top 100 List – Predicted
– EDM.com (July 2017) – Voting for DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs 2017 is Now Open!
– Magnetic Magazine (October 2017) – DJ Mag Top 100 Poll Released With A Whimpe And That If Fine
– Thump Magazine (October 2014) – DJ Mag’s List of Top 100 DJs is About to Drop – and it’s BS
– 6AM Group (May 2017) – An Example of How You Can Buy DJ Mag Top 100 Poll Votes
– Trance Republic (August 2013) – Gareth Emery tells fans not to vote for him in DJ Mag Poll. Tiesto back in the trance game
– Children of the Electronic Revolution (February 2016) – Ghost producers list – the shocking truth about your favorite producers
– UKF Blog (November 2015) – An interview with a ghost producer
– We Rave You (January 2017) – Behind the Music: Exclusive interview to Maarten Vorwerk – EDM’s Ghostproducer