Who is the number 1 DJ in the world? This very personal question to me has been so abused, misunderstood, and diluted with so much bullshit that it makes me mad to even think about it. Apparently, the EDM industry has allowed the annual DJ mag top 100 poll to decide the answer to this ultimate question. While I believe there is some value to this list, I don’t think the results should be taken as seriously as they are now. Here are some problems I have with this poll:
1. The list does not show who is the best DJ in the world; it is merely a popularity contest which is based upon name recognition instead of DJ capabilities. The list labels DJs with a number, and then clubs/organizers around the world recognize and use that number to promote their events. This has led me to wonder.. how is a DJ’s worth measured? Is it by their skills or by their marketability? There are no standards or categories by which DJ’s are evaluated on this magazine, leaving the decision entirely up to the voter. Too many people out there choose their favorite DJs only by name and who they hear is the best without actually even listening to their sets.
2. The list lets everybody vote. Living in a democratic society, I have been bred to believe that this is a great thing. However, the problem begins when you have voters who are misinformed, uneducated, and voting for the wrong reasons. You wouldn’t want people who aren’t aware of the issues to be voting for a president right? The voters should be knowledgable and be able to provide legitimate reasons for why they choose who they choose. Now, I’m not saying that everybody who votes in this poll is a dumbass, but it just seems like there are more dumbasses voting than people who actually know their stuff.
3. On a related note, a lot of the aforementioned voters don’t even know what they are voting for. The list is for the best DJ, not best producer. Results should be based upon: DJ sets, radio shows, crowd control, track selection, touring schedules/locations, and overal performance. Results should NOT be based upon what tracks the artist has made this year or at anytime in their career. Obviously it is hard to distinguish between these two because all DJ’s play their own productions in their sets, but I can’t even begin to count how many times people have voted for someone based upon the music they make, and not the sets they produce. I have even heard of people voting for their favorite DJ based upon tracks that were made 5 years ago! “Oh shit, I’m voting for Tiesto because he made Adagio for Strings and that’s my favorite song!” Yes, there is a difference between DJ Tiesto and Tiesto.. The other day I heard a guy say, “No way I’m voting for Tiesto because he has not come out with anything new recently.” Yeah, I’ll agree with him that there have been no new productions recently, but what about Tiesto’s radioshow, ClubLife? He puts in all this work every single week and this guy doesn’t know how to acknowledge that? By the way, Tiesto still puts out great sets with all the same tracks as any other DJ out there. Just because he hasn’t produced anything new does not make him less of a DJ (there are other reasons for that, haha).
4. There are too many genres and subgenres out there for all the DJs to be judged in the same group. It’s like trying to decide which automaker makes the best car in the world. You have so many different types of cars that you must first narrow them down into sedans, sports cars, trucks, etc. before you start deciding which one is the best. It only makes sense to separate the genres before any voting is performed. Then, you have to define what “best” really means. When choosing the “best” car, there are many things to consider such as engine, performance, braking, safety, mileage, comfort, luxury, etc. All of these things must be taken into consideration, and the same goes with all the different skills a DJ has.
My solution: First, DJ mag should start categorizing the DJs into the genres they represent. This way, there will be a #1 house DJ, a #1 trance DJ, a #1 techno DJ, a #1 hardstyle Dj, etc. Of course all the DJs will need to identifiy themselves with the genre that best fits their type of sets so there will be no confusion. Then, DJ Mag needs to come up with a system that lets voters rate ALL the DJs in that specific category by the different DJ skills. For example, if I wanted to vote for the best trance DJ, I would go down the list and for all the DJ’s I have listened to, I would rate them in each skill category based on a 1-5 scale (5 being the best, 1 being the worst). Skill categories could include mixing ability, crowd control, track selection, set performance, and anything else that could be considered a talent. For DJ’s that I have not heard anything from this year, I would put N/A or just not fill out their survey. Afterwards, all the data would be collected and computed and each DJ would be given a score based upon how many people took their survey and what ratings they received. Then, the DJs in each category with the highest scores would be the best in that group. If you wanted a best overall DJ, it would be the DJ with the highest score across all genres. There should be quantitative data gathered and analyzed if you really want to know who is the best DJ and not the most popular DJ. If people want to vote for who is their favorite producer, there should be a separate poll set up for that.
Nobody conducts a quality survey by just asking for a name or a title, there must be actual research put into the question with data to support the answers. The best DJ in the world should not be determined by the number of votes a person gets… there’s just not enough justification there. I like this idea of finding out who is the best, but DJ mag should seriously consider refining their methods before labeling everyone with a number. I know this poll is mainly for entertainment purposes, but when clubs and venues start using this system as a hiring approach, they begin to abuse this simple study. Personally, I don’t like it when a person uses the DJ Mag identifier as a reason to go hear the DJ spin. You should be going to hear the great music they play, not because you consider them to be a celebrity.