Proving that hits count for little when it comes to the world’s biggest music survey, 25-year-old Dutchman Hardwell leapfrogged over the likes of David Guetta and Avicii this week to be crowned the youngest-ever winner of DJ Mag’s prestigious Top 100 DJs Poll.
A relative unknown outside the club circuit, the progressive electro house specialist climbed from last year’s No.6 position to the top spot following well-received headline slots at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival and Belgium’s Tomorrowland, a string of collaborations with the likes of Laidback Luke, W&W and Matthew Koma, and an I Am Hardwell world tour which has also been filmed for a behind-the-scenes documentary of the same name.
Presented with the award at the five-day Amsterdam Dance Event by electro pioneer Giorgio Moroder, Hardwell is one of six artists to hail from the Netherlands to land inside the Top 10 of the poll, which was voted on by over 750,000 people in 170 different countries. Five-time winner Armin Van Buuren dropped down to No.2; Tiesto, who was given the inaugural Top 100 DJs Legend Award, was placed behind Avicii but just above Guetta at No.4. Nicky Romero, Afrojack and Dash Berlin completed the Dutch takeover.
Elsewhere, Belgian brothers Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike climbed 32 places to No.6, knocking Skrillex outside the Top 10 in the process. The world’s richest DJ, Calvin Harris, rose to No.15, and Moldovan trance prodigy Andrew Rayel jumped from No.77 to No.28. Hardwell protégé Dyno secured the highest new entry at No.30 ahead of Martin Garrix (40), US trio Krewella (44) and superstar producer Diplo (66).
As always, the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll remains a point of contention. Despite the fact that they haven’t been behind the decks in years, comeback kings Daft Punk somehow managed to climb to No.22. The continuing success of Annie Mac, B. Traits and Maya Jane Coles has been entirely ignored, with only two female acts–twin sisters Nervo (16) and Singapore model/DJ Tenashar (87), appearing on the list. Meanwhile, Gareth Emery’s request for his fans to boycott the poll makes his swift fall from No.14 to No.51 slightly misleading.
Along with the distinct lack of techno and drum ‘n’ bass, the credibility of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll appears to be dwindling. But as No.93 DJ Mat Zo observed on Twitter, “EDM is like high school and the top100 is like the yearbook. Everyone pretends to not care but they’re sad if they don’t get in it.”
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