It’s that time of year again when all of your favorite DJs continually harass you to vote for them in the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll. I believe this is my fourth year voting and wow have my picks changed over time.

I know there are a lot of haters out there who think this poll is meaningless and now skewed towards the American perspective, but I think there is a lot to take away from this poll. I find it very interesting to see genre trends from year to year, as well as big jumps in DJs’ fame in just 365 days.

I am particularly interested to see how the genres pan out this year. In the 2012 poll, Hardstyle DJs took a huge step into the limelight with double digit DJs representing their genre just in the Top 50. Of course leading the way was bald-headed Dutch producer Headhunterz at No. 10. I am hoping to see Trap break the top 30 this year with the likes of Baauer and RL Grime, but admittedly think that is a HUGE stretch.

The DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Poll is also a fascinating case study in terms of a popularity contest. Anyone who was paying attention to EDM in 2011 knew Hardwell was going places. The guy was releasing amazing track after amazing track, while the previous year Avicii toured the shit out of America and produced fewer songs and made an even more astronomical jump. Nevertheless, they both made giant leaps into the top 10 and still stand as two of the biggest DJs in the world. In 2011, Avicii went from No. 39 to No. 6. While in 2012, Hardwell jumped from No. 24 to No. 6.

I’ll also be curious to see where Daft Punk ends up this year after producing an album for the first time since 2007. For as long as I can remember, Daft Punk always made the Top 50 even though they hadn’t toured or made music in half a decade.

So as goes many things in my life, I have a formula for voting for my Top 5. I’ve been using this method for the last three years and am a fan of voting for people for various reasons rather than just straight up who the top DJs in the world are.

Also, remember that the title of “Top DJ” is an insane marketing tool that DJs can leverage to pull in more money for their performances. That’s why they hound you to vote for them. Because everything is a business when it comes down to it.

If I had to predict who I think will be the Top 5 this year, I would say:

  1. Armin Van Buuren
  2. Tiesto
  3. Hardwell
  4. Above & Beyond
  5. Headhunterz

But anyway, back to my formula. So DJ Mag takes fans’ votes and weights them in order with 1 having the most weight and 5 having the least. Because of this, I devised a way, in my opinion, to give credit where credit is due. Here it is:

  1. Which DJ(s) had the biggest impact on EDM this year? I took this away from a friend of mine after I voted in my first poll. I think when picking your top DJ it is important to think of them as an entity who had an impact on EDM in general. Do they own a label? Have they made other artist’s careers? Are they leading the way in a genre? How many songs did they produce this year? All things which I consider in my No. 1 DJ.
  2. Which DJ(s) had the best productions this year? A very important question and one that I said earlier think led to Hardwell’s monster jump from 2011 to 2012. This has to do with both quality and quantity, which include Originals, Remixes and Mashups.
  3. Emerging Star: This is pretty self-explanatory, but I save this spot for a DJ that I think has made huge strides in a year and has strongly impacted their genre for the better. Avicii in 2011, Hardwell in 2012.
  4. Favorite DJ not picked yet: Every year I know that some of my favorite DJs will not break the Top 5, let alone the Top 30, but I always make a plug for someone that I think deserves more recognition at No. 4.
  5. Best live set this year: I like to save my last slot for the best live DJ performance I saw in a given year. Swedish House Mafia took the cake with this one at EDC Vegas 2011 (still the best live DJ set ever IMO), and the category has stuck with me since.
  6. Bonus:  This year DJ Mag decided to add a bonus pick for the best DJ of the last 20 years. I don’t think most people voting have the wherewithal to make a pick (myself included), but I tried to pick the DJ(s) who had the biggest impact on EDM and what it has become today. I was also very biased with this one.

So now to my picks!

  1. Above & Beyond – My favorite DJs (yadi yadi yada)… Above & Beyond have a HUGE impact on not just the world of Trance, but EDM as a whole. Their label Ajunabeats and sub-label Anjunadeep have a tremendous impact on EDM in general and have launched the careers of so many DJs year in and year out. I am biased, but I really can’t believe these guys have not broken the Top 5 since 2010. This is their year! The same could be said for Armin, but I don’t really like Armin.
  2. Myon & Shane 54 – They made so many sick tracks this year and in my opinion are the kings of mashups. It’s just stupid that they are so low on this list every year.
  3. Baauer – The guy is almost singlehandedly clearing the way for Trap. Harlem Shake is an EDM phenomenon like no other and the guy has some serious talent. I saw him live twice this year and could not have had more fun. I don’t know if a Trap Dj will make the Top 100, but I’m putting my money on Baauer if so. I HIGHLY doubt this will happen.
  4. Shogun – Orange County-native Trance producer Shogun is easily in my Top 5 favorites. I will be writing a post about him this week, so I won’t get into too much detail here. I hope he makes the Top 50!
  5. Markus Schulz – EDC Vegas + this guy + the sunrise = best set I saw this year. Wow. Go see him if you ever get a chance. He also does nine-hour long sets, which is just insane and a true testament to his commitment to his art.
  6. Above & Beyond – They have made the best 138 BPM Trance, the best 134 BPM Trance and are all around my favorite DJs. Also, Trance > all other EDM genres. I think Armin will win though.

I’d love to hear what people think of my method and others’ Top 5 this year. Leave a comment or write me on Facebook!

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