For those who are unfamiliar with the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs list, it's an online poll that asks users to submit their favorite DJs every year. 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."
The rise of EDM (electronic dance music) certainly makes matters worse. It's without a doubt that this genre is becoming more main stream. It's nearly impossible to listen to a major radio station for an hour without hearing some type of EDM, and we now have the biggest EDM DJs collaborating with top artists such as: Will.i.am (who admitted to stealing a track from a popular EDM artist Mat Zo), Rihanna, and Chris Brown. The symbiotic relationship between EDM DJs and pop artists certainly makes it easier to break into the mainstream media.
As EDM is 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 DM Mag Top 100 list.
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. -- Gareth Emery
There's nothing wrong with being on the top 100 DJ list, and as a matter of fact, I thoroughly enjoy listening to many of their tracks. Many nightclubs leverage the DJs popularity to command a high entry fee, sometimes over $100. This allows the venues to charge a premium on VIP table service while patrons pay thousands of dollars on overpriced liquor.
As EDM is attracting more fans, the majority of the newcomers are being immersed into the "top 10" radio tracks. I don't blame them. After all, I could only imagine what would happen to a radio station if they played a song that wasn't a "hit". This could potentially skew the poll due to the fact that some of the voters may only know Avicii after his one hit wonder "Levels", or Calvin Harris whose hit song "We Found Love" with Rihanna put him on the top of the billboards.
Technology has also influenced how DJs are connecting with their Facebook fans and Twitter followers. DJs are now able to reach sometimes millions of fans in seconds with a single post or tweet. Has the DJMag list transformed into a popularity contest or is it still a resemblance of the DJs talent? Deadmau5, one of the leading pioneers in EDM, thinks otherwise. He's been notoriously known to voice his opinions, as far as calling out other top DJs as "push play" DJs. "Push play" DJs is a terminology that's used to describe DJs who have pre-recorded sets rather than going on stage and mixing.
Has EDM become so main stream that DJs don't feel the need to try anymore? Do these DJs deserve to be on the top 100 list? What about DJs who wholeheartedly go on stage for the purpose of putting on a great performance? It's a heated debate that I personally don't have the answer to, but it's without a doubt that the growth in EDM and technology has shaped the way DJs are glorified.