We could say that the average top DJ was a 34-year-old EDM-playing American, who gained the highest number of new followers on YouTube. This, however, doesn’t hit all the right notes, as the wider picture is much more colorful. So, what else is there?
As a global music platform connecting over half a million artists and around 5,000 festivals, Viberate analyzed the popularity across numerous social and streaming services in the past year, in order to put the Top 100 DJs in the world under the microscope. Using similar data gymnastics, we populated the artist-specific categories for the International Dance Music Awards (here’s the lowdown), which are traditionally presented at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, but remained in the digital realm this year. In this review we’re providing a fuller reflection of the industry.
1. The mainstream and the underground: Who’s winning the genre game?
The undisputed winner is Dance, as more than a half of the Top 100 DJs have it as their main subgenre. At the end of the day, mainstream popularity brings the numbers, so there's no curveball to be expected here.
Next is House, which is represented all around the world, and then Dubstep, Downtempo, and Trap/Future Bass, which are the most popular in English speaking countries. In Dubstep, eight out of ten DJs represented are from North America, while one is from the UK and one is Israeli. In Trap/Future Bass, six out of nine DJs are from North America, and one is Australian. Techno, however, is Europe-based, as all representatives (except the one Siberian in the mix) are European.
2. Building a fan base: The strongest channels
Taking a closer look at the numbers of new followers on Spotify, Instagram, and YouTube per genre, it’s clear that the average Dance DJ is the winner of 2019. Of the whopping 3.5M new followers on average, 43% are YouTube subscribers, 35% were gained on Spotify, and 22% on Instagram.
Next is House (860k new followers), with the growth per channel more evenly distributed. Trap/Future Bass is at its heels, with 850k new followers, almost half of them on YouTube (47%). The average Techno winner of the year got 710k new followers, most of them (72%) on Instagram – not surprising, as neither YouTube nor Spotify are the main outlets for Techno artists. With Downtempo (420k new followers), the allocation of new followers is pretty proportional, while Dubstep (260k new followers) mirrors Dance, gaining most of its new fan base (43%) on YouTube.
3. The demographics behind the superstars
The countries that have given us the most Top DJs are the USA and Netherlands, 28 and 12, respectively. While Marshmello, Skrillex, the Chainsmokers, and Steve Aoki, representing the US, have become household names, the picture changes if we consider the population of both countries. Netherlands is around eight times more populated with Top DJs such as Martin Garrix, R3hab, and Oliver Heldens – must be something in the air. And if we compare Europe and North America as a whole, 46 of the Top 100 DJs come from the Old Continent, and 35 from USA and Canada.
How old are they? Almost half of the DJs are in their thirties, and 4% of them are still going strong in their fifties.
And where are the ladies? In Electronic music in general, men have the numbers, but in Techno, the situation is level at the top, as the wave of successful women is taking the lead – Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Nina Kraviz, and Deborah De Luca are challenging the status quo. The sister duo Krewella has been rocking EDM, and you can’t miss Alison Wonderland and REZZ in Bass music. The fastest rising stars were Peggy Gou, Charlotte de Witte, and Amelie Lens, who each at least doubled the number of followers on all three analyzed channels and made 2019 their year. Even though the world of Electronic music might still seem like a boys’ club, there are strong players fighting to change the stereotypical figure behind the decks.
4. What does the future hold for 2020?
To stay informed about postponed and canceled festivals, Viberate has created the website Sick Festivals, where you can follow current information. At the moment, the coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on more than 600 festivals.
With all music events coming to a standstill, artists are now turning to the internet, and boosting engagement is more important than ever. It just so happens that numerous online metrics based on social media and streaming sites are exactly what affects the popularity ratings on Viberate, and these were also our criteria when making the Top 100 chart for 2019. How this digital shift will impact the music industry in the long run is yet to be seen.
Trying to break through as an artist, you’re faced with many challenges – we're here to help with some of those. Putting yourself on the map is a starting point. That’s why we've developed a simple feature that enables filtering artists in our vast database by country, genre, and subgenre. That’s how even small local artists can come into the spotlight and be noticed by promoters, talent scouts, A&Rs, and other professionals.
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