With the launch of DJ Mag's annual Top 100 voting, DJs and their agencies jumped up in an effort to get as much votes as possible. It's still the most visible DJ popularity list out in EDM culture, but the competition is creeping on them with numerous online and print media starting to gain relevance.
As most of the famous top 100, UMEK had also invested into campaigns for building his profile on such polls in the past. But this year he decided for a more open approach and publicly shared his opinion about DJ Mag's and similar popularity contests and their influence on a DJs career:
Everyone acts as a rebel, stating that they don't care about their rankings, but in the end all of us eagerly anticipate the event on ADE, where they announce the results. The rank doesn't really influence my number of gigs, nor the price I can charge for my performance, but it still feels nice to see my name among the great 100. It's an ego trip and everyone likes that, whether you are honest about it or not. Artists who rank on the very top, keep their mouths shut, because they are happy with the results, while I noticed most of the ranting from DJs who end on the bottom or are not on it at all. My guys shared those thoughts on social media and forums to test the response from the fans. It was mainly negative, so I'm really wondering how the contest still gets so much attention every year.
UMEK admits that his management takes good care that he's constantly present on various DJ lists such as TopDeejays or The DJ list and support his nominations for DJ awards (he won Beatport's Artist of the year award twice). The dance music business is far from being underground, although a lot of artists still want to be too cool for school and like to take themselves a bit more avantguard as they really are by giving the image they ignore the public recognition they get on popularity contests.
It seems that dance music is irresistibly approaching red carpets, little golden statues and glitter of a mainstream entertainment business, whether fans and DJs like it or not. But in the end, something has to pay for those private jets, entourage and chilled Cristal.