The dance music press must think their average reader is an idiot. No doubt some will object to this description – and I wish I didn’t have to make it. There are some decent people working in it – Harold Heath and Megan Townsend to name but two – but it’s largely led by smug types who hold their own readers in contempt.
DJ Mag started its Top 100 DJs poll back in 1991. Only two women have ever won the poll – Smokin’ Jo in 1992 and Charlotte De Witte last year. It was always geared towards more mainstream DJs – don’t try and give me nonsense about the likes of Judge Jules and Sasha being underground in the 90s – but the internet has changed the poll beyond recognition.
And DJ Mag’s response to this has always been inconsistent. First, they ignored it. Then when that didn’t work, they said it was due to it now being a global vote. But that line never pacified 90s purists who thought the poll was being diluted by what they saw as inferior talent with great marketing teams.
And now, they’ve conjured up the Alternative Top 100 DJs poll. Exactly what the point of this poll is remains unclear even four years in. Aside from having something to do with Beatport – which suggests someone somewhere is earning out of this – there are frankly few differences between the alternative poll and the main one.
Charlotte De Witte won the poll, being that bastion of the underground techno sound that we’ve never heard of. Next in the list is Carl Cox, a currently unknown DJ from Oldham whose career is going to explode in the next few years. Other rising stars in the list include Amelie Lens, Peggy Gou, Jamie Jones – and an exciting new act from South Africa called Black Coffee.
A list of upcoming talent, it most certainly is not. So what’s the point – unless, of course, it’s just to basically repeat almost the same list with almost identical levels of publicity and almost identical blurbs about the said DJs? It’s like being stuck on Groundhog Day.
Oh, and I might be having a closer look at some of the words written about the DJs in the poll. Because – no names, at least not yet anyway – one or two of them aren’t being entirely honest when they say they didn’t do any gigs during the pandemic…