Let's be honest: Major record labels have no idea what the fuck they're doing, and haven't for years. You can't teach someone what makes an artist special in a college class. You can't show someone how to pick songs that will move a crowd of thousands. Opinion isn't something that can be taught. The repetition in the Grammys and on Billboard should be an indicator that something is wrong with the system. Today's music business depends on highly connected people with deep pockets and deeper contact lists; no wonder the same people are getting the same results.
The problem has been the same within the industry for decades. Artists seem to land #1 singles on the Billboard charts over and over again. Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and Lady Gaga account for ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY ONE #1 singles on the dance charts. Interestingly enough, Depeche Mode, Nelly Furtado, Britney Spears, Donna Summer, Kristine W (am I the only one wondering who this is?), Kylie Minogue, Deborah Cox, David Guetta, Katy Perry, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston all have more than eight #1 singles on Billboard's dance charts.
Ah, but a glimmer of hope. Until recently the Billboard dance charts contained records created in the studio to serve singers. Record producers were an afterthought in the mainstream. In as early as 2004, we saw a swing to production charting without the help or co-sign of pop stars. In one year, we had #1 singles from Daft Punk, Axwell, Robbie Rivera, Richard "Humpty" Vission, Frankie Knuckles, Milk & Sugar, Dirty Vegas, and more. Deep Dish and Kaskade in 2005. Things were heading in the direction of the producers responsible for these records, and though there was a lull for a few years after that, it seems that there is another push for producers to acquire pop star status on their own. We are actually in the middle of an upswing.
The only dance music artists charting on Billboard with any consistency are artists like David Guetta, Zedd, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Afrojack, Martin Solveig, and Daft Punk. There is a formula that labels, managers, and marketing teams are falling into, and the records representing mainstream electronic music are one small sliver of what's available. As soon as the power shifts to people that know and appreciate all forms of electronic music, the possibilities of equal representation are endless.
Instead of penning another rant on how blind we are to the factors within the business that muddy the art, looking back to find the rare treats that landed on these charts seemed like the power move. We decided to point out 15 singles that went #1 on Billboard's dance charts that ultimately gave dance music a good name. None of these singles were credited to pop stars, and every one of these tunes is unique in some way. This is a diverse list spanning several decades, and an indicator that superior music has its place in the mainstream.