DJMAG100 Rankings Corrupt the Dance Music Industry

DJ Justin Blau, better known as 3LAU, spoke out on Facebook on the latest DJMag top 100 list. For those who follow dance music and all of its producers, they know that this list is very arbitrary as to where their favorites rank. Many fans as well as the producers/DJs take the list with a grain of salt as everyones’ list would be different according to personal preference. There are, however, some blatant discrepancies between what a consensus top 100 would look like in comparison to the DJMag list.


As stated before, many producers/DJs and fans may take a glance at the list and have it become an after-thought until the next years rankings came out. However, 3LAU brought up an interesting point surrounding the list. Not only is the list interesting to read, but it apparently also has some importance beyond entertainment.

As the dance music culture begins and continues to grow in Asia, the club owners and festival managers are unsure about how to pay these performers, “So, when the business men and club owners in Asia look to book DJs who might maximize their table/bottle sales revenue, they rely on the DJ Mag chart to assess relative popularity.” In the United States, a producer/DJ performance fee is based on social media numbers, Spotify play counts, chart positions, and what 3LAU states is the most important is previous ticket sales history.

It is unsure the methods or the approach as to which this list is made. However, 3LAU went on to point out that many artists received contact from DJMag asking “if they would like to make a contribution,” (some were around the $30,000 region) in hopes that it would better their ranking. Many producers/DJs ignore this email as 3LAU does. He does not rat out who does donate however he does say that those who follow the dance music scene, “can see some outliers among the list.”

Take the list how you will, as many don’t care, but it is interesting how the Asian market and the politics of how producers/DJs are being ranked. 3LAU, who actually turned down a job on wall street to become a producer/DJ, feels the money is better spent on his productions and his fans however others may see it as an investment opportunity.

The full interview here

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