Are 1.3 million people wrong about the top DJ in the world?

Compare a popular vote about the best DJs in the world with cold hard chart data of top electronic artists, and there’s quite a difference.

Every year the world’s electronic music fans cast their vote for the top 100 DJs for a DJ Mag poll. In 2021, after over a million votes were cast, David Guetta was declared the top DJ in the world.

But when DJ Mag’s list of the top DJs in the world was analysed by Viberate and compared with real chart data, the results told a different story.

The top five in the popular vote were: David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren, Alok, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. Music analytics company Viberate’s data however shows that Marshmello, David Guetta, Alan Walker, Calvin Harris and The Chainsmokers made up the top five by cross-platform popularity between 2020-2021.

Why does any of this matter? The argument is, as Viberate notes, public votes are always a slightly skewed way of declaring a victor. (Nobody mention Brexit…)

There’s always personal bias when casting a vote for a “best” artist, and you won’t get a genuine result from asking hardcore DJ fans an opinion versus looking at the data of what electronic artists the wider world actually listen to.

Viberate uncovered some other stats about popular DJs in their data. David Guetta is a constant – it’s also the third time he’s topped DJ Mag’s popular vote. Alok came fourth in the DJ Mag poll and tenth according to Viberate’s chart data.

EDM artists reign supreme, making up a huge 72% of Viberate’s list, whilst 10% are House artists and other electronic genres fill the remaining percentage.

You can see the popular vote results versus real-life chart data in full below:

As Viberate point out, you can change an outcome of a poll by convincing others to vote for your “team,” but you can’t argue with neutral data from across a set period of time. That’s their take on it, anyway.

Please feel free to complain in the comments about who you think should have been number one on DJ Mag’s top 100.

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I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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One comment

    The dj mag list is a mix of public votes and industry payola.
    Some djs clearly dont have enough followers to be there. And other acts have huge social media numbers and/or are very popular in the US, but strangely are always very low on the rank.
    At some point, Calvin Harris was the most well paid dj, without ever being number 1.
    Since a couple years ago, some djs decided not to campaign and they dont ask for votes anymore.
    In places like Brazil they still take the rank very seriously, because they’re trying to grow the electronic scene.
    I started making music because of EDM and was very interested in the dance scene, but not anymore.

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