October really is a month of change. Ibiza transforms from a party hotspot to a quiet Mediterranean island, the last days of the warm summery part of the year pass into the colder seasons, our bright greens slowly fade to autumnal browns and yellows before finally dropping to the ground giving everywhere a leafy carpet and, most importantly, it’s also the month that marks the beginning of the DJ Poll season, where we welcome in the new and discard the old like pieces of trash in the wind. But, do these polls actually matter and should we pay any attention to them at all?
Poll proceedings kick off at DJ Mag’s annual Top 100 DJs party in IMS. In the last three years, we’ve seen Hardwell, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and most recently Martin Garrix top the poll. Now, these guys regularly play as headliners at some of the world’s biggest parties, and receive some astronomical pay cheques for the privilege, but many people would argue that they are not the biggest DJs in the world. Reports of expensive marketing campaigns and huge drives to harvest votes at gigs don’t lend themselves well to these guys’ claims to be in the top bracket of DJs in the world. Also, a look back at the Top 100 DJs list from twenty years ago, with a top 10 filled with names like Sasha, Pete Tong and Carl Cox, and it becomes clear that the DJ Mag poll has shifted to a commercial poll which more effectively measures a DJ’s monetary value rather than their talent.
Reports of expensive marketing campaigns and huge drives to harvest votes at gigs don’t lend themselves well to these guys’ claims to be in the top bracket of DJs in the world. Also, a look back at the Top 100 DJs list from twenty years ago, with a top 10 filled with names like Sasha, Pete Tong and Carl Cox, and it becomes clear that the DJ Mag poll has shifted to a commercial poll which more effectively measures a DJ’s monetary value rather than their talent.
About six weeks later Resident Advisor rolls out their very own Top 100 DJ poll. Those who are more familiar with the underground scene will see a lot of familiar faces on this poll, but, as a public vote, is this really the essential guide to the underground or is it just another popularity contest voted for by a different demographic than DJ Mag’s version?
There’s is a noticeable lack of DJs openly looking for votes, in many ways it almost seems like that would actually spoil making the list, so it seems that DJs are most likely to warrant their votes rather than buy them. Plus, the fact that Dixon has come out on top of the pile for every year in living memory makes it seem like the best man is more often than not coming out on top.
But, seeing results like this, makes you wonder where the cool vote goes, have people actually seen Dixon play and been taken on one of her musical masterclass journeys or are they simply voting for him because the poll says he is the best?
In my opinion, DJ polls are a much better gauge of popularity rather than talent. Although, depending on who you are and your reasons for looking at the pool that could be exactly what you want it to do.
Like many pools, these results are based on opinion and the law of averages would say that the most popular DJ, or the one who comes out on top, is the best. However, your opinion may differ greatly than that of the voters so you’re probably better off forming your own opinion on who the best DJs are based on your own tastes and experiences.