Of major music publications, a few are respected above the rest. Rolling Stone hasn’t quite gotten their foot in the door yet, but they’re doing well; Pitchfork has widely trusted album reviews, even of dance music albums; and Billboard just recently launched their Billboard Dance platform, a visible effort to focus more on all things dance music.
Billboard’s main staff just unveiled their “Top 30 EDM Power Players” list, and while the names on it aren’t nearly surprising, the lack of a disclaimatory statement noting “in no particular order” is cause for confusion. The list is undeniably accurate in its choices, but not so much in its order. Of course, at that point, I’m really nitpicking. But Diplo at #2? Sure he’s influential, but come on…
Additionally, two of the numbers in the top 30 are bundled – Calvin Harris, with his managers and founders of Three Six Zero group, Mark Gillespie and Dean Wilson; and Annie Mac and Pete Tong. At this point, the question of whether Billboard picked out persons or organizations or groups arises.
Calvin Harris seems to be represented as a brand rather than as a producer and individual, representing his residencies in Las Vegas and partnerships with Emporio Armani and Tidal; even his relationships with Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding are brought up. “Power player” is definitely an accurate descriptor of Calvin Harris, but I don’t see influential anymore. Not since I Created Disco, anyway.
As for Pete Tong and Annie Mac, they have both influenced dance music in more ways than people would ever thing to credit them with. Pete Tong has a part of BBC Radio 1’s essential mix for as long as it has been around, since 1993. Annie Mac has taken her show on the road, as well, performing at various festivals in the UK and US. But including them together seems to give credit more toward BBC Radio 1 than to either of them individually.
As I said before, I’m really nitpicking here. But as a trusted source of dance news, any “Top xxxxxx Players” list should be met with scrutiny. I’m not debating any of their choices, per se, but rather pointing out how we can all always do better.
Take a look at the whole list below.
1. James Barton, President of electronic music, Live Nation
2. Diplo, DJ-producer; founder, Mad Decent
3. Pasquale Rotella, Founder, Insomniac Events
4. Skrillex, DJ-producer; co-founder, OWSLA
5. Paul Morris, Founder/president, AM Only
6. Calvin Harris // Mark Gillespie // Dean Wilson
Harris: DJ-producer; Gillespie/Wilson: Co-founders, Three Six Zero Group
7. Ritty Van Straalen, CEO, SFX Live
8. Joel Zimmerman, Partner/head of electronic music, William Morris Endeavor
9. Gary Richards, Founder/CEO, HARD Events
10. Patrick Moxey, Founder/president, Ultra Records; president of electronic music, Sony Music
11. Scooter Braun, Founder/owner, SB Projects
12. Kaskade, DJ-producer
13. David Guetta, DJ-producer
14. Ash Pournouri, Founder, At Night Management
15. Kathryn Frazier, Owner, Biz3 Publicity; co-owner, OWSLA
16. Deadmau5, Producer; founder, Mau5trap
17. Neil Moffitt, CEO, Hakkasan Group
18. Pete Tong & Annie Mac, DJ/hosts
19. Tiesto, DJ-producer
20. Martin Garrix, DJ-producer
21. Geronimo, Director of music programming for electronic and dance formats; host, BPM/SiriusXM
22. Tim Smith, Founder, Blood Company
23. Neil Jacobson, Senior vp A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M
24. Steve Aoki, DJ-producer; CEO/owner, Dim Mak Records
25. Disclosure, DJ-producers
26. Amy Thomson, Founder/CEO, ATM Artists
27. DJ Snake, DJ-producer
28. Zedd, DJ-producer
29. Steve Angello, DJ-producer; founder, Size Records
30. A-Trak, DJ-producer; co-founder, Fool’s Gold Records