The voting for this years DJ Mag Top 100 is once again in full swing, and it is impossible to escape it – really, it is.
Venture on to Facebook and it will not be long before you encounter an advert to vote for your favourite DJ(s), listen to an artist’s weekly mix on YouTube and it is likely that they will encourage you to remember them when posting your ballot. This in itself is, of course, not a bad thing – you cannot expect to become famous in the music industry without some degree of marketing. Dutch big room house producer Hardwell has managed to secure the top spot back to back the last two years, an accolade he proudly exhibits.
However, the credibility of the DJ Mag Top 100 has been thrown into disrepute amongst the electronic and dance music community in the last few years. Accusations of fraudulent voting and misrepresentation of DJs have been thrown around by disgruntled fans on social media.
One of the key debates is not on the voting process at all, but what actually defines a DJ in this day and age. Many of the critics of the competition claim that the majority of voters are confused as to the difference between a DJ and a producer. For those who don’t know: a DJ plays and mixes tracks together using loops, effects and a whole host of other techniques, traditionally live; a producer creates original tracks using software. The confusion arises as most producers of electronic and dance music also DJ. However, it is a well known fact that many producers that start off creating music and then venture into DJ’ing, lack the expertise to mix live, and resort to prerecording their sets. While the content and composition of the set is fundamental to a good performance, many fans believe this is not an exhibition of real DJ’ing prowess but just another form of producing.
If you hadn’t noticed, Tomorrowland took place in Belgium last week, and on the whole it was determined to be a relative success.I myself, was lucky enough to go to Tomorrowland last week. However, a few festival go-ers took to social media to voice their discontent at methods that were being utilised by certain DJ’s/producers to secure votes and I couldn’t help but empathise with them.
Very beautiful girls who were dressed in not-much-at-all were observed to be walking around not only the festival site, but also dreamville (the campsite) and reportedly even Brussels. Armed with iPads they would stop people, asking them to vote for Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. It seems that the girls had been employed by the Belgian duo or possibly even ID&T to accost people at the festival in order to gain extra votes. I encountered this more than once over the weekend and each time I politely declined. The current ranked #2 DJ’s also reportedly encouraged people to vote during their set, something I didn’t see any other DJ doing over the weekend.
This behaviour has left some fans very disgruntled at the pair and other DJ’s who are very active with their self promotion, claiming it commercialised their experience and detracted from the magic of Tomorrowland.
Now, although what constitutes as ‘manipulating the voting process’ is very vague, many have argued that the techniques utilised at Tomorrowland to secure votes is perhaps pushing it a little far, and not in the spirit of fair competition.
Whether it is within the rules or not, it is has definitely cast another cloud over the credibility of the annual competition.