DJ Magazine recently released the results of its annual “Top 100” DJ poll. Many were outraged, and have flocked to social media to complain. Don’t. Here are ten reasons why you should avoid a spike in blood pressure, and not take the list seriously.
1. The poll is misnamed: “Top”, should be “Pop”. The poll is not a definitive guide to the best DJs in the world. It is a poll taken by a magazine in the interest of the masses to find the most popular DJ, so they know who they should be writing about to boost readership.
2. Underground is underground, not “underground”: Your favorite underground DJ is not in the poll because they are underground. How many of your cool art snob friends are going to visit the polling site for DJ Mag and vote? Even if they did, your DJ would then become popular, and their music would change as they begin pandering to maintain a jet setting lifestyle that you just helped to catalyze. Be happy your DJ, who may or may not be the best of the best, didn’t get voted in.
3. DJ Mag is no authority: There is no Wimbledon for DJing, no trophy, no benchmark, no way of measuring which DJ is better than another, and DJ Mag has no monopoly on how what makes a “Top” DJ is weighted. I am sure there are even some super underrated Wedding DJs out there who could have been a contender, but you won’t see any of their names in the Top 100 anytime soon. In addition, DJ mag only represents a sliver of DJs and musicians out there. It’s like pulling five people off the street in Manhattan for answers to their political views, and holding them up as representative of all New Yorkers.
4. Daft Punk are not DJs: If your definition of DJ is Wikipedia’s, ie. “A disc jockey is a person who plays recorded music for an audience.”, then they are. However, since they are playing their own pre-recorded sounds, I would argue that they are producers or (configurable) musicians more than DJs. The fact that so many people voted for them (they hold slot #22), means that people still don’t know what a DJ does high up in that big bad booth backed by laser lights. Daft Punk hasn’t contested it because it is free press. Girltalk, on the other hand, wears a T-shirts emblazoned with “I Am Not A DJ” across the front.
5. DJs play more than EDM: There are thousands of DJs out there, and they don’t all play ear splitting Dubstep or Jackin’ House. The list does not represent an incredibly wide range of genres that are conspicuously missing. This seems wrong, since it is a top DJ list, not a top EDM DJ list.
6. The picks reflect the readers origins: I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the picks are a reflection of the readers own origins and culture. My money says the votes are largely cast by suburban white kids, NJ guidos and eurotrash. I’m not saying their votes don’t count, but the pool of EDM listeners is a lot more diverse.
7. The list is filled with some of the worst DJ names imaginable: My sides are splitting from just reading some of them out loud, including: Ran-D, Da Tweekaz, Heatbeat, Solarstone… Is it just me, or are these the names of porn stars?
8. No serious DJ poll includes paper bag masks: The DJs From Mars’ have taken the dual masked DJ schtick to the next (stupid) level. A pair of paper bags with smiley faces painted on the outside is more than ironic, it’s deplorable.
9. It’s like musical chairs: Most of the same DJs make the list year after year, but their positions can rise and fall by as many as 40 slots from poll to poll. It defies logic.
10. The number one “Top DJ” is a youngster: At age 25, the wet behind the ears Hardwell takes the “Top DJ” title with a fraction of the experience that say Carl Cox or Richie Hawtin has. This includes his time playing with his mom’s stereo. I believe in prodigies, but really?