The DJ MAG Top 100: A creditable poll, or a running popularity contest?
Welcome, welcome, to yet another editorial about our opinion on different topics concerning our scene. Today, we’re going to talk about the DJ Mag Top 100 polls. Ahead of the revelation of this year’s results, on October 17th, we decided to get talking on the polemic generated during the past years.
The poll’s history
First of all, let’s begin with a little history lesson. The DJ Mag Top 100 polls began in 1991 (didn’t know that huh?), and its very first winner was Danny Rampling, in case you have no idea who that is, we strongly advise you to get listening to this Essential Mix.
In case you’ve ever wondered if a female DJ has ever won the DJ Mag Top 100, the answer is yes. The first and only female DJ to win the poll to date is Smokin Jo. Here… delight yourself with another mix, we got some real old school feels right here.
Another curious fact, is that it wasn’t until 2002 that the Top 3 most voted DJs consisted of at least one British DJ, and ever since that year, the Top 3 has consisted of at least one dutch DJ. And well, in case you live under a rock or haven’t had internet connection for the past few years, Armin Van Buuren stands strong with the most wins in the DJ Mag Polls with five wins, four of them consecutively. See everyone? History is fun.
Now, to the serious matter. We Rave You’s opinion on the current state of the polls.
Can we blame DJ Mag?
For the past few years, the polls have been heavily criticized, along with the British magazine who owns it. Is that fair? Yes and no. To be honest, have you ever seen a cover of DJ Mag with a mainstream DJ on it? Let’s give some examples… they would never feature DJs such as VINAI or DVBBS on the front page. Indeed, DJ Mag has always tried to keep the techno scene (for instance) in the spotlight. Don’t believe me? Just head to DJ Mag’s Facebook page, or to their website. That’s one good point for them, but the rest we have to discuss is not so nice.
Recently, the rising producer Stamen shared tons of information on his Facebook page on how the DJ Mag had congratulated him via email that he had earned the 83rd spot in the poll, and at the end of the day, lost his spot! Let’s see why. First of all, they asked him a considerable amount of money, in this case, I quote the numbers:
Full page per edition – £2870 (rate card £4100)
Half page per edition – £1750 (rate card £2490)Quarter page per edition – £1150 (rate card £1650)
Hello Nemanja,I am contacting you from DJ Magazine as the guardians of the Top 100 DJs poll.Every year we scrutinize the voting in the poll to weed out fraudulent votes. This process is ongoing and every year we contact more than the 100 DJs in the poll to make sure that we have the interviews ready for the magazine. We have to do this while the votes are still being calculated.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.At this time we will not be investigating the origin of the fraudulent further simply removing them from the poll.I am available tomorrow if you would like to discuss this further.Best Wishes,
What a shock for me, right?
But read well what he says “This process is ongoing and every year we contact more than the 100 DJs in the poll to make sure that we have the interviews ready for the magazine. We have to do this while the votes are still being calculated.”How can they know that I am #83 on the list but VOTES ARE STILL BEING CALCULATED ? Because 28/09/2015 are already tell me that Im into Top 100 DJs list and here now he write me that “VOTES ARE STILL BEING CALCULATED“.He says even this: At this time we will not be investigating the origin of the fraudulent further simply removing them from the poll.Why he will NOT investigate? I am very willing to investigation and they see that they have made a big mistake but to them it is easier to directly deleted me from the list rather than to investigation.
Then I answered that I wanted to tell me how they are to detect (because is not possible) , and that I can give google analytics which shows that more than 127,000+ people are clicked into my url: stamen-official.com/vote , also analytics of Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Youtube and other platform where I was promote. After a few email addresses that I have sent him to explain to me what the problem is and that I wanted to talk to him on Skype he answered this.02/10/2015Hello Stamen,I am out of the office for most of today. I will be back this afternoon.I will not be able to discuss the mechanics of how we review the votes, for the obvious reason of that would leave us open to abuse.but I am happy to speak to you either later this evening or early next week.
Another thing to point out, which is extremely important, is the name of the polls. “TOP 100 DJs”. Seriously? Just check the results of the past few years, and you won’t find names like A-Trak, Carl Cox, Nicole Moudaber or Laidback Luke anywhere on the top of the list? People are not voting for the best DJ skills, and most of them don’t even know how the art of the disc jockey even works, even less about scratching. Should the polls be renamed? That’s the one thing DJ Mag should start considering, since they’re only getting hate as a result. But we should also be thinking about the tradition that the poll would be losing if we renamed it. We Rave You’s proposition: if there are already two polls, about the Top 100 nightclubs and the Top 100 DJs, just give me a reason on why there shouldn’t be a Top 100 producers list? That would be an excellent resolution to the problem, just saying.
Is there anyone else to blame?
We’re not the first to be talking about this. In 2013, the US edition of the Huffington Post divulged their editorial article, titled DJMag Top 100 (Marketable) DJs, which you can read entirely by clicking here. Kevin Yu heads the investigation and highlights some important points. He states the following:
“Over the past few years, DJ Mag has been criticized that the list is not a true representation of their skills, but instead the amount of money they can put towards “marketing.”
“EDMis growing in popularity, this only means that more businesses are monetizing from this growth. There’s been an increase in new mega clubs across the country including Hakkasan in Vegas and Create Nightclub in Los Angeles. Electronic Music Festivals are getting bigger and better every single year. How does $35 million dollars in production cost sound? That’s the amount that one of the largest music festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival) put towards their production costs. And sadly enough, there are agencies that “help” DJs get a higher ranking on the DJ Mag Top 100 list.”
Gareth Emery also got talking about it in the same article “Just took a bizarre unsolicited phone call from a publicity company who help DJs promote themselves for the Top 100 poll, who told me I should be aware one of my ‘competitors’ (as she put it) was spending $15,000 on Twitter advertising alone, and unless I got on that sort of level, I would find it ‘hard to compete’. Obviously not going to say who the DJ was, but I was nearly sick in my mouth.“
How many of us haven’t already seen sponsored posts on social media by tons of artists, trying to fish for votes. Can this be stopped? Sadly, no. Basic economy lesson: if something is getting attention, it will get monetized. There’s no way we can stop it, and the corruption on the votes cannot be stopped either, unless we stop paying attention to artists who sponsor themselves. To answer the question, guess who really is responsible? You and me. Didn’t expect that? Don’t get mad, even if you voted for your super underground tech house producer, we all are incredibly influenceable. From the very moment we follow a trend, let’s say buying Beats headphones, or getting an Armani suit, we are already supporting this social phenomenon. Should we feel bad about it? No, it’s just how the world is evolving, but we can make a difference in our life if we are conscious that we are all part of this. Don’t worry, the socioeconomic talk is over now (but we strongly advise you to get to know more about it).
We Rave You’s advice
This is We Rave You’s advice for your votes next year: DO NOT VOTE FOR THE TRENDING ARTISTS. Vote for the music YOU love, because at the end of the day, the one thing that got us into this scene is music neither names or money. Be passionate, feel free to vote for a producer who got 10 followers on SoundCloud, even if you know he is not going to win. Don’t follow the crowd… Make a difference, be the difference!