The Covid pandemic has adversely affected a lot of elements of the international electronic dance music scene, but it doesn’t seem to have dented the enthusiasm of dance music fans — an incredible 1.3 million people have voted in the Top 100 DJs poll this year, matching last year’s total and cementing its position as still the biggest music poll in the world.
Most voters are from prime clubbing age ranges, with 40% of votes coming from 18-24-year-olds and 40% from the 25-34 age range. However, with clubs and festivals still closed or cancelled for most of the year, a lot of participants in the poll clearly based their votes on live-streamed sets or past favourites.
As part of this year’s Top 100 DJs campaign, DJ Mag once again held Virtual Festivals every Saturday and Sunday during the voting period. The streams — which included sets from David Guetta, KSHMR, Timmy Trumpet and Miss K8 for the Top 100 DJs, and Charlotte de Witte, Carl Cox, Todd Edwards and Lauren Lane for the Alternative Top 100 DJs — racked up well over 5.7 million views in total. The most-viewed set was by Dutch superstar Afrojack, receiving over one million views across Facebook and YouTube.
Despite this, territories where clubs opened up early clearly benefited from the physical event experience. China, whose clubs have been open for approximately 18 months now, has seen a huge expansion in its vote share. Following a 480% increase last year, almost 15% of the overall votes in 2021 came through our dedicated China voting platform. There are eight Chinese DJs in the poll this year, the highest number ever, which includes six of the 13 overall new entries (Panta.Q, GIFTBACK, KAKA, Luminn, Alexso, Dexter King). Elsewhere in Asia things are also on the up. The continent has the second highest number of DJs representing overall, plus South Korean DJ Peggy Gou claims the Highest Climber award as she moves up 31 places to No. 38.
Overall Asia was the fourth highest-voting continent. South America came third, with Brazilian voters making a big impact, and North America second — where the USA and Mexico both counted a large number of overall votes. The most votes this year came from Europe, with UK dance music fans in particular making their voices heard. In total, votes were counted from 231 countries, principalities and islands, including Palestine, Turkmenistan, Gabon and even a single vote from the tiny Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia — big up all international raving crew!
Once again Europe has the most charting DJs by far — around 60% in 2021. Frenchman David Guetta is crowned the World’s No. 1 DJ for the second year running, bringing his total number of wins to three. The Netherlands claims a fifth of the overall list and half of the top 10, along with the Highest Trance (Armin van Buuren, No. 3), Highest Future House (Don Diablo, No. 7), and Highest Hard (Angerfist, No. 46) awards. Belgian artist Charlotte de Witte lands at No. 23 to take the Highest Techno trophy for the second year — claiming the No. 1 spot in the Alternative Top 100 DJs poll in the process — while Germany’s Claptone wins Highest House again, at No. 32. Danish act MORTEN, a close collaborator of David Guetta, is this year’s Highest New Entry, breaking into the poll in 39th place.
Other new entries include Asian-American duo BEAUZ, Japan-based French DJ Naeleck, Germany’s Virtual Riot and VIZE, Sweden’s KAAZE and British DJ Christina Novelli. The number of non-movers and re-entries is up from last year, with five DJs holding their places and three coming back into the poll — most notably Guatemalan-American DJ Carnage, aka GORDO, who jumps straight back in at No. 37. The majority of charting DJs are on an upwards trajectory, with 56% gaining places compared to 23% moving down the poll.
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.
You can read all this year's Top 100 DJs profiles here.