DJ Mag Top 100: What you need to know about the 2013 poll
It’s officially a popularity contest. That’s the first thing that can be taken away from the eyebrow-raising results of this year’s DJ Mag Top 100. Moving further away from a clear cut indicator of the world’s top DJs year after year, the results of the 2013 poll raise more questions than answers — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t information to be gathered. From glorious winners to mind-blowing snubs and takeaways, here’s what you need to know about this year’s poll.
Hardstyle is well established… still: Many of the names foreign to Americans are likely to be the cream of the hardstyle crop, top dogs of a genre that’s well established overseas. The higher rankings of Headhunterz and Coone shouldn’t have been a surprise as Q-dance is slowly but steadily looking to implant its movement in the US, and by now Noisecontrollers should be an everyday name for dance faithfuls. For most, the confusion arose over acts that have yet to make a stateside splash, such as Wasted Penguinz, who have been holding down slots on DJ Mag’s Top 100 for sevral years. While naysayers look to pick at this year’s list, keep in mind that just because you don’t recognize a name doesn’t mean they’re not megastars across the pond.
Find Diplo: Oh, there he is, hiding like Waldo at number 64. This could be the snub of the year. Becoming one of the most relevant producers in electronic music, streamlining success for Major Lazer, and evoking a borderline revolution with his push for twerking that made its way into pop-culture, Diplo’s ranking should come with a 40-slot handicap — 24 sounds more fitting.
Daft Popular: This one’s really simple. In terms of measuring the ranking in terms of a popularity contest, Daft Punk’s leap to the 22 spot draws the bottom line. The French duo have succeeded on a ranking of the globe’s top DJs in 2013… without DJing in 2013. We all know the mayhem that surrounded these two this spring, and the new level of hype they brought to an already hype-founded dance scene during the Random Access Memories roll out, so this jump was no surprise — it’s just another one missing any correlation to our favorite two letter acronym, “DJ.”
Didn’t they break up?: Yeah, they did, but they remained one of the most popular brands through the year with their final tour, leaving their mark through the rest of the voting period. We’re talking about Swedish House Mafia, of course, the disbanded trio that found their collective entity ranked at 26. Individually, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell took the 18 and 19 spots while Angello finds himself in the 30s. Though Steve was snubbed of at least 10 spots at 38, the Swedes still found a way to squeeze four rankings out of three men.
Rookies of the year: With Dyro making the biggest splash as a new entry, the top 50 listings of Krewella and Martin Garrix can’t be ignored. After garnering a cult following and becoming one of the most followed acts in dance music with a brand new studio album to boot, Krewella took the 44 spot as newcomers to the poll. Just a few spots above, Martin Garrix landed at 40, most likely due to the success of “Animals,” a hit that has become ubiquitous at dance music events.
Living legends get snubbed: Kaskade falls to 36 this year, and it’s hard to comprehend why 50% of the DJs ahead of him squeezed their way through. One of the most relevant veterans gets snubbed, deserving a top 20 slotting. Continue scrolling down and find Carl Cox at 46. Another snub, although Cox has become used to being overlooked on this poll. Falling out of the top 50 comes one of the most surprising rankings, as Eric Prydz is snubbed about 40 spots at number 54. Keep going and find Richie Hawtin occupying the final tier at 76. If that misplacement doesn’t make you laugh, it’s probably because you’re an infuriated tech follower. Oh yeah, and Paul Oakenfold hangs on by a thread at 92.
Underground is still underground… sort of: Two of this year’s notable snubs, Carl Cox and Richie Hawtin, are ambassadors to the “underground” dance scene. Hawtin himself has been hailed the top underground DJ, a title conflicting with his DJ Mag ranking of 76th in the world. While many fans (and even artists) of underground music will argue that its subgenres are bubbling to the “big next thing” status, this year’s ranking indicate that the likes of techno and deep house are only growing in proportion with dance music in general.
Tied for two: The top 5 is perplexing. The number one spot went to the most popular artist of the year, but easily could’ve been shared by any of the four acts who followed. An argument for gold could be made for Armin, Avicii, Tiesto, and Guetta — the occupants of 2-5 who are the concrete titans of dance music today. These four won’t be dropping out of the top anytime soon, but for this year let’s just say they tied for number two.
A new King and his proteges: The most obvious applause belongs to the man at the top, Hardwell, for dethroning previous champions and claiming the title as the world’s number one DJ. Signifying a changing of the guard, his title comes well-deserved for the Revealed label head after having a year that boomed undoubtedly louder than anyone else’s. With the new king followed his Revealed proteges, as Dyro made his entry with a 70-spot leap to number 30 and Dannic landed on the polls at number 74.
Festival favorites: If you’ve had a hard time wrapping your head around the top rankings, think of the list in terms of festival popularity. Now it makes more sense, doesn’t it? Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike’s questionable 6 spot could be credited to their Tomorrowland following, and the man who many believe deserves that spot, Deadmau5, fell a few places to 12 due to his lack of festival participation. The festival popularity trend continues in the top 20 and may explain Nicky Romero and Steve Aoki in the top 10, as well as W&W’s 14 spot after the duo dominated festival season with both their tunes and prime set times. The direct correlation between top 20 rankings and festival popularity just goes to show the power of events these days.