It’s the end of October, which means the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll for 2012 is now official. The big news coming out this year was Armin van Buuren’s return to where he belongs, the number 1 spot! After a year that saw him launch a complete INVASION of the globe with multiple huge events celebrating the 550th episode of A State of Trance, Armin closed out the festival season with a 13 week residency on the magical island of Ibiza at Privilege. The closing party was broadcast live and direct and saw “A State of Trance” trending worldwide on twitter for over 4 hours. Here is a BIG congratulations and thank you to Armin for the passion and dedication that he has shown to his fans and his music over the years. You deserve it!
As every other year, this year’s poll did not go without controversy. Initially DJ Mag reported some voting irregularities and eliminated some DJs who tried to cheat the system. And of course, the outcome itself opened the door to a lot of controversy and discussion. The 2012 poll will be remembered for 3 things. First and foremost: Armin’s return to the top of the charts. Secondly, it was the year of the hardstyle invasion. And third, the major names that experienced huge drops or came in outside the top 100.
Considering this is a trance-centric blog, let’s take a look at how trance DJs performed: 3 in the top 10, 11 in the top 25, and 28 in the top 100. Numbers wise, trance DJs held their own; 28 in 2012 versus 30 in 2011 and 34 in 2010. This is a slight downward trend, however, the level of consistency and the scene’s rising stars definitely show strong potential for growth in the coming years.
Here are just a few examples from the new generation: W&W up 11 spots for 25th, Orjan Nilsen up 17 spots to 32nd, the boys from Tenishia up a whopping 41 spots into 50th, Tritonal up 18 spots to 65th and new entries on the poll in Heatbeat, Shogun, Andrew Rayel and Omina.
On the other hand, some of the bigger names in trance experienced small drops. Markus Schulz fell out of the top 10 for the first time since 2007. With the strength of his new SCREAM album, and the solid production coming out of the Coldharbour studios down in Miami, I fully expect to see Markus and the rest of the Coldharbour artists to launch a major takeover of the 2013 poll. Coldharbour is producing some of the best trance right now and it’s only a matter of time before the world recognizes the talented artists that Markus has helped develop. With names like KhomHa, Mr. Pit, Grube & Hovsepian, Beat Service, Tucandeo, Elevatoin and Basil O’Glue the Coldharbour sound is one to look out for in 2013.
Paul van Dyk is another example of a trance legend that’s set to explode back onto the scene. Building off the success of his Evolution album and the Evolution world tour, Paul is getting ready to remind the world of the fact that he took top honors back-to-back in 2005 & 2006. He is back in form with chart topping tracks as well as some of the hottest sets at the moment.
This year’s poll did not go without some huge names falling out of the top 100. BT, Arnej, Judge Jules, Sasha, Jochen Miller, and Fatboy Slim are some of the names that did not make the top 100. I guess being one of the godfathers of electronic dance music (BT) or performing at the opening ceremony of the Olympics (Fatboy Slim) or being one of the pioneers of the scene (Sasha) don’t mean much to voters anymore. Whether in the top 100 or not, the industry knows and recognizes these names as some of the top talent in the world and a poll will never be the sole measuring stick of all their contributions.
Lastly, for the past 2 years, DJ Mag voting has required a facebook account. Granted facebook now claims to have over a billion users, this still creates a bias towards those DJs who have a strong following on the social media site. DJ Mag needs to figure out a new form of verification for voting and verifying only one vote per person. The polling methods have been a topic of discussion for a few years, and I think figuring out a new system should be on top of the priority list. Granted a single poll should not be the only way to judge artists, a lot of promoters and agencies use this poll for bookings, promotions, marketing and pay. It is critical for DJ Mag and the rest of the industry to come together on a standard format for figuring out how to rank the top DJs in the world.