DJ Mag Top 100 Poll: The True Determination of the Best DJs?

Every year the DJ Mag holds the Top 100 Poll during Amsterdam Music Week to determine who the best DJs in the world are. With this poll being conducted, the conversation come up regarding if this is a fair way to determine who’s the best DJ in the world. Currently the poll is determined by a voting system where each person casts a ballot for their top 5 favorite DJs. With the top 5 for each voter, the DJ Mag counts who has the most votes, and ranks from there. Personally, I have mixed feeling about the poll, and for this article, and so do a lot of other young-aspiring DJs. For that purpose, I have invited my friend Julian Palermo (JulezP) to give his opinion regarding the DJ Mag Top 100 as well –because both of us are two young-and-upcoming DJs at Saint Joseph’s University.

To start off, regarding the current voting system, Julian and I both agree on the fact that some DJs “should be placed higher than others,” and “the poll has technically turned into a popularity contest. With the top spot going to someone who can sell the most and make the most money.”

One of the top-tier DJs, Laidback Luke, speaks how the poll has changed throughout the years (shown above). Laidback Luke is a DJ who has been playing for a long time, and has many hit songs (incl. Turbulance with Lil Jon). Luke has gotten influences from many legendary DJs, including Carl Cox, and has helped raise next-gen DJs to where they are, like Afrojack. Laidback Luke has very important information regarding the poll, and how it has changed.

Two other top-tier DJs also has clashed against the Top 100 poll. In 2015, Dillion Francis and Hardwell were displeased and confused with the (then) new rankings. In the video, Dillion Francis is confused on what the list determines. Dillion, being his typical himself, mocks the DJ Mag and for good reason. You can view Dillion’s rant below (and it contains EXPLICIT LANGUAGE).

Hardwell also screws the DJ Mag. This video was recorded after he fell from the #1 spot to #2 (currently #3), but he says that the DJ Mag Top 100 poll is complete bulls*it. Hardwell says that the list doesn’t show real talent, as he is backing up his young-and-upcoming talented producers (Atmozfears, Dannic, and Dyro). He says that the young-guns don’t get the chance to play at the premiere festivals because they aren’t on the list, but Hardwell has faith in his record label Revealed Recordings, because Revealed finds “real talent.” Hardwell goes out on the limb and says that Atmozfears is a better producer than Hardwell (while working in the studio for All that We Are Living For). Hardwell’s video from his event is posted below (also contains EXPLICIT LANGUAGE).

JulezP’s take: I have always been a fan of the DJ Mag 100 top because it brings together a vast amount of talent and energy. Each DJ bringing what they got to the stage to prove that they deserve to be #1. But, over the years DJ Mag has turned its focus from the talent to money being the top priority. If you go to any credible EDM website you will most likely find an ad saying “Vote for … for this years top 100 DJ!” Now there is nothing wrong with marketing, but because of this major DJs like NGHTMRE or Zeds Dead arn’t even in the top 100 because other DJs have the money to control their rank on the leaderboards.

My top 10 in this years 2017 DJ Mag poll would be:

  1. Skrillex
  3. Zomboy
  4. Getter
  5. DJ Snake
  6. Hardwell
  7. Marshmello
  8. Diplo
  9. Afrojack
  10. Slushii

Will’s Take: As an aspiring DJ, I used to view the DJ Mag as a credible way to determine who’s truly the best. But looking at the polling criteria (votes, and money) and what the poll don’t look at (talent, and true Djing), maybe the best way to view how good a DJ is might not come from a poll. It might come from the true art form and how you influence the EDM dance scene. For my criteria when choosing who is the best, I look at a few factors including song style, and dancefloor rhythm. It is fun seeing all of the world’s best DJs in Amsterdam for the ADE Week, and seeing the best in dance music collide for a fun week.

My top 10:

  1. Hardwell:
  2. Martin Garrix
  3. Kaaze
  4. Marshmello
  5. Don Diablo
  6. Marshmello
  7. Kill the Buzz
  8. Tiesto
  9. Armin van Buuren
  10. W&W

Will’s Upcoming Young Guns & Honorable Mentions

  • Olly James
  • Maddix
  • Loax
  • Atmozfears
  • Reggio
  • D3FAI
  • Dr. Phunk
  • Dannic
  • Dyro
  • Skrillex
  • Afrojack
  • Dillion Francis

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