Every year, the electronic music community can anticipate being asked to rank their favorite international DJs. The poll requires fans to put their top-5 in order and applies a statistical value to each vote based on ranking. Like with any public opinion data collection, the survey invariably receives mixed feedback from voters, bloggers, writers and the DJ community as a whole. This article aims to give an unbiased look back over the last 23 years.
Started in 1991, the DJ Mag Top 100 was originally voted on by only the magazine and its staff. The poll was first opened to the public in 1997, when Carl Cox was selected as the World’s No. 1 DJ. In the following 17 years, eight different DJs and producers have been honored by positioning first on the list. Many consider the top-100 rankings a pulse for the electronic music scene and some even use it as a point of reference when measuring how much a DJ should be financially compensated for a live performance.
The DJ Mag Top 100 Poll is remarkably similar to the Game of Thrones battle for Westeros. From 1995-2001, we relied on our founding fathers: Carl Cox, Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold, John Digweed and Sasha led the pack. In 2002 there was a transition of power. Tiesto, Paul van Dyk and Armin van Buuren exploded onto the scene and dominated the rankings. Since 2009, the poll has been less predictable, featuring household names in addition to industry up-and-comers like Avicii, Hardwell and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike.
Below, you can find several graphs showing how several DJ/producers have trended in the top-100 poll since 1997. Additionally, we’ve included several interesting facts about the poll and it’s results in the same time-frame.
Fun fact: Until 2002, at least one British DJ had placed in the top-3 rankings. Since 2002, at least one Dutch DJ has finished in the top-3. From 2003-2006, only DJs named Armin, Tijs, and Paul cracked the top-3.
Fun fact: Armin Van Buuren is the only DJ to be voted No. 1 at least four times, receiving his 5th trophy in 2012. Armin has also finished inside the top-3 a ridiculous 12 consecutive years. Tiesto boasted 11 straight top-3 finishes from 2002-2012.
Fun fact: Only one North American DJ has ever placed in the DJ Mag top-3, Danny Tenaglia (2001). British DJs have claimed the No. 1 top a total of seven times, Dutch DJs; ten times.