Talk: Politics of Dancing

It’s time to bring back the fun factor that is currently absent in DJ Mag’s Top 100 poll. Local dance scene pushers and independent PR collective, Deck Time Stories, tell us how…

Text Deck Time Stories

Casting votes for our favourite DJs on DJ Mag’s Top 100 Poll used to be something a lot of us looked forward to before. The reason we got excited about voting was purely for the fun of it because it was basically a regular magazine poll. Nowadays, the slight mention of the world renowned poll sets a frown or draws a yawn from many EDM enthusiasts.

Why, you ask? The fun factor of the poll has disappeared as the music industry now refers to DJ Mag’s Top 100 Poll as THE most legitimate method of ranking DJs all around the world. We can’t help but voice out our concern on this matter as it plays a huge role in the party scene these days. So this year, in 2011, we are calling for some electoral reforms to take place within DJ Mag’s Top 100 Poll to let it return to its former glory.

Before voting for the DJ, think about the reasons why you’re voting for them in the first place. We’ve come across many blogs, Facebook posts and Twitter updates featuring these recurring statements, “I’m going to vote for DJ X because he makes awesome productions” or “DJ Y’s remix of DJ X’s song is off the hook, he’s getting my vote for sure”. What’s wrong with the picture here? The poll state, Top 100 DJ and not Top 100 Producer, need we say more? By right, dance acts like Daft Punk aren’t suitable for the poll due to the simple reason that they aren’t DJs and don’t spin songs at parties. They perform live shows featuring their own tracks, produced by themselves and not other people’s production.

This could start out a bit wrong but we’re going to pose this question anyway. How does someone like Armin van Buuren get the #1 for four years running? Don’t get us wrong, we do love some of his sets but let’s face it, he isn’t the best in the world in comparison to a large pool of talented DJs. Are people voting because he deserves this position or are they merely voting because they are fans and love everything Armin? Now if the votes are based on the number of Armin’s fans, at this scale we bet you can imagine how huge his fan base is. Doesn’t this mean the poll is a popularity contest rather than a talent one?

Naive thinking got us believing that this poll was based on talent but it seems not. Let’s say for example that Funkagenda has been absolutely amazing this year and is well deserving of the #1 spot as are many others on the list, but Armin’s fan base is so large that Funkagenda can’t get a decent foot near the top 10. Could he or any other artist begin to actually compete with Armin’s fan base? We propose that votes should be based on the sets that you were physically present to witness or live sets over the internet. We would suggest that you focus on the proper live sets opposed to guest mixes.

These changes aren’t only targeted to the voters though. We have some tips we’d like to share with the DJs too. Although we understand the importance of a DJ placed at a higher rank, we can’t help but feel annoyed with their ‘marketing campaigns’. Updating your Facebook status and Twitter feeds with slight reminders are fine but sending out e-mails and wall messages on their Facebook is taking it a little bit too far. Our philosophy is simple, if they are true fans, they don’t need any sort of reminders to vote for their favourite DJs, they would do it without having to put much thought into it.

We do acknowledge how tough it is out there for DJs. Party promoters and club owners are big fans of DJ Mag’s Top 100 Poll because it serves as their guide on which DJs should play at their parties. Their method of choosing their acts are mostly the same, the ones at the top are the better ones so these people should be the headliners. So, we do understand the need for DJs to go on a campaign.

A lot of DJs out there tend to go all out on their electoral campaigns though. Some will offer free tracks, some will invite you to their parties as VIP guests and some even make promotional videos to get public exposure. The annoying part about these promotional videos is that a lot of those who have joined this bandwagon are mostly DJs who haven’t been in the scene for a long time or have yet to play a lot or any international gigs in their career.

Despite the lack of experience, these DJs still feel that they deserve to be ranked in the poll. Most of them take this time to introduce you to their music by adding you on their Twitter list in hopes that you will give them one vote. We admire the confidence of these people but at the same time, we wonder what they were thinking when they decided to go forth with their campaigns. Our advice is to know your worth and strength in the scene before embarking on such an aggressive approach. Some people will see it as a ballsy act while some might just dust you off as being conceited.

The poll ends on the 23rd of September so please do take heed of some of our advice and remember to vote for those who you really feel deserves the top spot, always choose from your heart, do not follow the crowd, and remember the artists deserves your honesty!

Vote for the next Top 100 DJs here. This is your right as a party rocker!