Well if you didn't know, it's that time of year again; yes, you can now vote for your favorite DJs in the 2013 DJ Mag "Top 100 DJs" list. Surely, you've been hammering their website and placing your bets...
It's crazy to think that this poll has been running since 1997, but has only been based on public vote since 2010, especially when you consider that Armin van Buuren has been the top DJ five times since 2007 (and the likes of Tiesto, Paul Oakenfold, and Paul van Dyk all being multiple winners). Truthfully, we've only known about the voting because our Twitter timelines have featured DJs saying things like "hey, here's the link, but don't vote for me" in a number of humorous ways (or even just daring to be different and voting for Pedro). I guess they figured Armin would win again, or they wouldn't be able to crack the house/trance stranglehold that's placed atop the list, so why bother? Especially when we're a year removed from DJ Mag having to report about scandals involving votes being sold on eBay. Yes, that happened. And it's happening again.
Gareth Emery took to his Facebook page to let the world know that he received a call saying he should ante up to be on the same playing field as his peers in terms of getting the word out:
"Just took a bizarre unsolicited phone call from a publicity company who help DJs promote themselves for the Top 100 poll, who told me I should be aware one of my ‘competitors’ (as she put it) was spending $15,000 on Twitter advertising alone, and unless I got on that sort of level, I would find it ‘hard to compete’. Obviously not going to say who the DJ was, but I was nearly sick in my mouth."
How disgusting is that? We can all assume that this kind of thing happens, but truth be told, it could just be a way for random entities to shoehorn in on the EDM game and squeeze whatever funds they can get during this competitive season. It begs the question: If people will be that brazen to call you and implore you to step up, how many DJs are that naive/gullible to take the bait and pony up whatever the "publicity company" is asking for? We actually like Gareth's next bit:
"So here’s an alternative Top 100 message: Don’t vote for me. Seriously, when you buy a ticket to see me in a club, I consider that a vote. When you blast my music in your car, or share it on Facebook, or tell your friends about it, that’s a vote too. Those votes, and the amazing support you’ve shown over the last year, is what matters to me.
If you did plan on voting for me, give that vote instead to the DJs you see spending their money on promoted tweets, sponsored stories, banner adverts, rebranded twitter pages, etc. If they care that much about their number, just let them have it.
In return for your non-votes, rather than spend an amount on a campaign that would probably buy a school in Africa, I am going to donate the same amount to charity, and maybe some good can come out of this."
DAD actually received an email blast from UMEK that blended a call for votes with some concrete honesty:
"For years now the guys from my office have been banging their heads against the wall in an effort to come up with numerous creative ways to ask fans to vote for me. Everything but a simple »can you please vote for me?«
Does life really has to be always complicated?
And I'm noticing this is the case with most of my fellow DJs. In a way we all want to be rebels and pretend we don't give a shit about how we rank on this semi-official list of who's who in the industry. But if I'm being completely honest – I want to be on this list and I want to be on it as high as possible. There shouldn't be any shame in admitting that. The ranking doesn't influence my number of bookings, nor the price I can charge for my performance. It's just an ego trip and let's face it – we all like it. Some of DJs out there like it so much, they go too far with it by hiring Indian companies, pay hackers and do all kinds of twisted stuff (like getting the president of your country to make a public announcement hehehe) to get a few places higher. And then at the same time pretend to ignore the results once they come out. But in the end everyone of us awaits that moment at ADE, when the magazine announces the results.
So fuck it – if you like what I do, show me support, if you like what Guetta does, vote for him, if you fancy how Paris Hilton turns those »cute little buttons on that mixer thingy«, vote for her. It doesn't matter what others say. DJ Mag made their way into creating a benchmark for dance music and although with all the subtle and not so subtle campaigns, sometimes the whole thing really looks like a beauty pageant, it means something to me and my fellow performers to see our names among the great 100."
We can't hate on that. DJing is as much of an art as it's been a competition, and now that the business of EDM is on the rise, they're competing for bookings and, ultimately, for the dollars of the ravers out there hoping to secure guaranteed bang(s) for their buck. And while we're fine with the act of ranking, we're definitely not about buying into the tops of the list.
After all of this, the question still remains: does the DJ Mag "Top 100 DJs" list even matter? Do you feel that the list is tainted because of the prior scandals and the attempts of corrupting the 2013 list so far? Do you even vote for your favorite DJ(s) on this list? Have you ever looked at the list as a proper gauge of what's going on in the dance music scene, for good or ill? Let us know.