Every year, DJ Mag announces the world’s top 100 DJs, as voted upon by fans of the industry. They’ve released the list again, revealing 2021’s top DJs as selected by voters, and some of the results are surprising. The music industry is abuzz over who made – and who did not make – the top 100, but especially the top 20. CELEB takes a look at the winners and some of the questions surrounding the status of getting on the Top 100 list.
World’s Top 100 DJs of 2021
Without further ado, we present the top 10 winners and some highlights from the other 80 spots in the top 100, from the DJ Mag poll:
- 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.
Readers will recognize some huge industry names surprisingly low in the polls. So what does it all mean?
How Important Is the List?
Obviously, with fan choice being the determining factor, you’re going to get some cult winners that only true EDM fans will recognize. With 1.3 million voters weighing in, you’re bound to get some surprises. But seeing some of the biggest industry giants in the middle or at the bottom begs the question: does it really mean anything?
CELEB asked Robert Gamch, managing partner of Houston-based SEKAI Hospitality. Just how much do these polls matter? “While we don’t specially book talent based on polls, they do offer great insight into the dancce music scene. We take into account artist popularity, but we focus on the artist’s ability to generate ticket sales, VIP table bookings and an incredible guest experience.”
So is it all just bragging rights? Probably. With the highest American DJ coming at number 37 – Carnage – the European market is heavily weighed in choices, which makes sense since it’s such there’s such a strong EDM scene across the pond. And top-selling DJ Fisher only came in at 77, barely worth mentioning. So clearly the polls don’t necessarily align with real-world popularity or success.
But it’s pretty cool to hold the top titles anyway. And this year, DJ Mag worked hard to encourage diverse polling; “As guardians of the poll, encouraging voters to consider a diverse range of DJs to better reflect the global electronic music scene and its origins within LGBTQ+ Black and non-Black POC communities remains a key focus for DJ Mag. In 2021, 13 women have charted, matching the new record set last year, and more Black and non-Black POC artists joining the list means it’s the most racially diverse poll yet. While this is another step in the right direction, we acknowledge there is still a way to go, and will continue to work — alongside our colleagues and friends across the industry — to increase the diversity of our year-round activity, in the hope that we can collectively influence the landscape that Top 100 DJs reflects.”
Top DJs Staying Busy
But while they’re not preening over polling wins, the world’s top DJs have been staying busy despite the limitations imposed by pandemic shutdowns and audience caps. Here are some big names making big waves:
- David Guetta: The top-polling artist recently sold rights to some of his most famous songs for a whopping -figure sum.
- Steve Aoki: Aoki has been busy rocking Monday night football at Las Vegas Raiders’ new Allegiant stadium. He’s also signed on with Seth Green to produce a new episodic series, Dominion X.
- MDL Beast: Organizers announced the return of the Middle East’s biggest EDM festival, MDL Beast. The titanic event will return to Saudi Arabia December 16-19, and feature industry greats like Deadmau5, Guetta, AfroJack, DJ Snake, The Chainsmokers, Eric Prydz and more.
While industry greats may be currently pretending not to notice the top 100 poll (unless of course they placed well), it’s an interesting bellwether of where fan hearts are at right now.