Yesterday, DJ Mag released its list of top 100 DJs, as voted upon by 1.3 million fans. But how accurate is it, and how much weight does the poll actually carry in the real world? Is it all just about bragging rights? CELEB takes a look at what the data says about who is really the most popular DJ, and how that’s reflected by real-world fan engagement. It’s fascinating contrast between the kind of polls that in-the-moment opinion generate, versus fact-driven data. 

What Did the DJ Mag Poll Say?

David Guetta

In the DJ Mag poll, there were some pretty big surprises. Some of the world’s top-billing DJs were surprisingly low on the list, and the US barely ranked at all compared to what album sales suggest. So what did the poll say? Well, coming in at number one for the second year in a row is none other than David Guetta. And Guetta kind of makes sense, since the French DJ is a wildly popular artist. But from there, things got a little weird when you compare them to real world sales and concert attendance.

So here’s what the poll showed:

  • 1: David Guetta. This marks the second year in a row that Guetta has claimed the coveted spot.
  • 2: Martin Garrix. Garrix burst onto the list in 2013 and the next year, he was in the top 10 where he’s stayed ever since. Garrix has earned the number one spot three years, falling to number 3 in 2020 and back up to 2 this year.
  • 3: Armin Van Buren. Legendary industry champ Van Buren has taken number one 5 times before. He took number 4 in 2020 and is up to 3 this year.
  • 4: Alok. Alok first joined the list in 2015 and has been steadily taking aim at that top spot.
    5: Dmitri Vegas & Like Mike. This iconic duo has hovered near the top and earned number once twice. This is the lowest ranking they’ve achieved since 2013, but they’re not likely to be going anywhere any time soon.
  • 6: Afrojack. This beloved artist has been in the top 10 for 7 years, but this is his highest spot on the poll so far.
  • 7: Don Diablo. Don Diablo has been dabbling in NFTs recently, holding steady in the top ten for the past 4 years.
  • 8: Oliver Heldens. Heldens has been taking advantage of performance lulls during the pandemic to spend time in the studio, and his hard work has paid off with fans, keeping him in the top 10.
  • 9: Timmy Trumpet. Timmy got his start playing trumpet for enigmatic duo Daft Punk, and this year marks his highest showing in the poll.
  • 10: Steve Aoki: 2021 has been the year of Aoki, so it’s appropriate that he rounds out the top 10.
  • Other notable names include Marshmello at number 13, TIËSTO at number 15, Calvin Harris at 16, Skrillex at 24, Eric Prydz at 31, DJ Snake at 33, Deadmau5 at 52, Miss K8 at 53, Alesso at 63, Zedd at 64, Fisher at 77, Marlo at 88 and Vize rounding out number 100.

If you’re a fan of EDM, that list may be raising your eyebrows a few times. Viberate took a look at the data behind these popular DJs, and it paints a slightly different picture. 

What Does the Data from Viberate Say?

Viberate tracks data from music artists, keeping a record of the analytics and painting a picture of who achieves what, and who’s ranking where. Metrics included in their analytical system are each artist’s social media and music channels, as well as radio airplay throughout the year. 

And this is what their results showed. In a statement, Viberate explained, “Marshmello, David Guetta, Alan Walker, Calvin Harris, and The Chainsmokers are the top 5 most popular Electronic artists of the last 12 months. The Top 10 list is rounded off by Martin Garrix, Tiësto, Skrillex, DJ Snake and Alok. Interestingly enough, the usual ‘crowd favorites’, such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Afrojack, and Armin van Buuren, did not make the Top 10 list.” 

In the DJ Mag poll, Guetta was number one compared to Vibrate’s 2. Martin Garrix ranked at 2 for DJ Mag and 6 for Viberate. Diplo ranked at number 20 on Viberate, but on the Top 100, he was nowhere to be found. So why the dicrepancies? On the Top 100, it probably comes down to how motivated a fan base is to get out and vote and whim on any given day. DJs who recently put out music may rank higher regardless of their overall popularity.

But for Viberate’s list, real world numbers give a more full and complete picture of how loved and successful these artists are. Marshmello, for instance, has 2B music video views to Guetta’s 1.28B. But that’s not the only data they included; Guetta has fewer followers (1.6M) than Alan Walker (6.4M) but more Shazams (36.4M to 7M). 

While some of the artists closely align with the Top 100 opinion poll, Viberate does a much better job of painting a picture for hospitality groups and booking agents to consider who’s going to pack audiences the best. 

Which DJ Reigns Supreme

So Guetta vs. Marshmello, who reigns supreme? By the numbers, Marshmello is the winner. The Pennsylvania native gets a lot of facetime playing a Las Vegas residency at Wynn Las Vegas, and floats comfortably between genres which works in his favor.

Guetta is no shrinking violet though, having recently sold the song rights to some of his most beloved tunes for a 9 figure sum. What it comes down to is this: clearly, the DJ wars rage on. Who claims the top spot hinges on your perspective as to what matters more, public opinion or cold hard numbers. Either way, congrats to Guetta and ‘Mello: you’re both champions in our book.