Martin Garrix, DJ/Producer superstar and extraordinaire has once again taken the #1 spot for the 2nd time. Many DJs, including Dillon Francis and Diplo have wondered how DJ Mag determines the rankings. At Sydney DJ School, we will help our fellow DJs out on this polarising ranking system.
The ranking list is based on votes from the public via the DJ Mag website. 2017 was the first DJ Mag Top 100 to be open to China. So for a DJ to be #1, you need to have universal appeal, just like DJ Marty over here. Over a million votes were cast this year, so this list is no small feat. Us DJs are definitely animals, too scared to be lonely in the name of love.
Many DJs question whether DJ Mag’s Top 100 is one of those three. How about all three? Every DJ in the neighbourhood is a producer trying to gain a following. Download a trial version of Fruity Loops , Logic X or Ableton and add a growl bassline, trap 808 drums and 128kbps acapella vocals to an existing track and voila. You are now a producer. Promote the remix track and your cheeky 30min mix on Facebook and Soundcloud and you are now in the popularity contest. To be #1 like DJ Marty you need to master all three.
The earlier DJ Mag Top 100s had house, trance and techno artists dominate the rankings. But with the introduction of EDM, the list might as well be a Beatport top 100 in the EDM section. Martin Garrix has become the king of the EDM dance anthems, with euphoric soft synth melodies and catchy hooks to unify the punters into a trance-like experience. With multi-platinum tracks like “Animals”, “In the Name of Love” and “Scared to be Lonely”, DJ Marty has developed into a brand of EDM dance anthems tailored for the perfect live experience.
This competition has been labelled by DJs as a “popularity contest” for a magazine to sell placement and ads. Fair enough, but so are booking for live gigs and festivals. Do you think Martin Garrix made a viral track and just got booked to Tomorrowland? Well yes, but he did have a Twitter and did the leg work for social media, sort of. He didn’t even campaign for DJ Mag’s Top 100. Alright, but Chainsmokers did in 2014, and look at their #6 DJ Mag Top 100 ranking now.
If you didn’t catch it, this was a satirical piece. However, in the music industry there is truth to it. Markets just starting to embrace EDM like South America & Asia rely on these rankings for festival bookings. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. These DJs have the popularity to draw in a crowd and sell tickets, at the potential cost of music integrity and artistry. But let’s face it, EDM is a marketing tool, so for those who have drank from the rich fountain, cheers to you, and for those who aren’t and are sour about it, maybe be like DJ Marty.