The rise of Techno is especially obvious in Europe. Counting only European mixed-genre festivals with less than 65% of Electronic artists in the lineup, Techno artists form about 10% of the lineup on average, while in the USA, Techno DJs represent only 3% of the lineup. What was the year like for the ones at the top?
Charlotte de Witte: The champion
Belgian DJ Charlotte de Witte is one of the biggest names in Techno music today and she was without a doubt the biggest hit of 2019. In the past, she called herself Raving George, because she thought that venues would book her more if they thought she was a man. Funny enough, now she’s on top with other powerful female DJs by her side, as you'll soon see. In 2019, she played Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, Exit, Glastonbury, Melt, Tomorrowland, and Ultra Music Festival Miami, among others. Despite a busy summer, she released two singles in September, “Liquid Slow” and “In Memory”, a collab with legendary German DJ Chris Liebing.
During the summer, her Instagram following increased by 250k, tripling in a year, and a video of her dancing with Sven Väth also got over 240k views so far. While YouTube is not the strongest channel for the genre, Charlotte de Witte had the largest engagement in the previous year among the artists on the list (her following on the channel also tripled), followed by her compatriot Amelie Lens.
You can also see Charlotte de Witte in the October issue of MixMag. She’s booked practically all the way till March 2020, so she’s not stopping.
Charlotte de Witte rules SoundCloud with around 300k monthly plays, which have doubled in a year. Carl Cox (417k), Richie Hawtin (377k), and Tale of Us (309k), however, are the strongest by the number of SoundCloud followers.
Carl Cox: No nonsense
2019 was another amazing year for Carl Cox. He has definitely come a long way since the day he published his first single for Paul Oakenfold's Perfecto label in 1991. In the 2019 festival season, he was one of the most booked artists in the world, bagging six of the most popular festivals (Ultra Music Festival Miami, Tomorrowland, Glastonbury, Creamfields, Boomtown and Exit). In the end of September, he got quite a lot of media attention for stopping his show at Techniques Festival at Gazi Music Hallin Athens. Cox hit pause in the middle of his performance to stop a fight that broke out in the crowd. He continued with his performance after things calmed down and showed the world that he won't tolerate any nonsense at his gigs.
Carl Cox leads the pack according to the number of Spotify followers (430k). Looking at the biggest gains on the service, it’s him, Amelie Lens, Peggy Gou, and Charlotte de Witte, who have each collected around 100k new followers in a year.
Carl Cox has the largest Instagram following among the artists on the list (1.4M), while rising stars Peggy Gou, Amelie Lens, and Charlotte de Witte all have around 1M fans each.
Tale of Us: From GTA to festivals
Among the most popular DJs in the 2019 festival season were the duo Tale of Us, who performed at Ultra Music Festival Miami, Tomorrowland, Untold, Coachella, Exit, and Nuits Sonores. In summer 2018, the Italian duo appeared in the popular game Grand Theft Auto Online. Gamers could hire their virtual equivalents to play in their online clubs, and that definitely boosted their popularity.
Amelie Lens: Techno prodigy
Another Belgian on our list is Acid Techno enthusiast Amelie Lens. Though exploding in 2018, when she also launched her own imprint Lenske, she’s still going strong – just ask her devoted fans, who follow her sold-out gigs with football jerseys bearing her name, and who equally enthusiastically follow her every step on social media, where even her cats have gained celebrity status of their own. Speaking of followers, Amelie more than doubled her base on Spotify, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram in the past year. She was featured at five of the most popular festivals in 2019 we analyzed: Coachella, Exit, Creamfields, Tomorrowland, and Boomtown.
Peggy Gou: Fashion icon behind a mixing board
Genre-wise, the Berlin-based South Korean star sticks out on this list, but bear with us. Sure, her work is mainly in House, Downtempo and Tech House, but she frequently flirts with Techno and plays many Techno events, so we decided to give her a pass. And let’s not forget, Peggy Gou was the first female South Korean who played the iconic Berghain. In 2019, she performed at Primavera Sound Barcelona, Glastonbury, Exit, Tomorrowland, and Nuits Sonores. She’s known to show her sharp sense of style on social media, gaining fans from two fields, so to speak – from those who love her for her music, and those who are inspired by her fashion. It’s also hard to miss her banger “Starry Night”, which has collected around 4.6M views on YouTube.
Peggy Gou has been trending on Instagram the most – her following increased by 3.5 times within a year.
Richie Hawtin: Old-school legend
Legendary techno pioneer, innovator, and sake lover Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman) hit the stage at Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival Miami, Primavera Sound Barcelona, Sziget, and Nuits Sonores, proving that at 49, he’s not even remotely thinking of retiring. For artists such as Hawtin, who have been on the scene for quite some time, social media engagement shows more constant growth. Richie, who’s also an innovator in DJ technology, seems to be much more focused on live gigs than on social media. But there’s no doubt that he's still one of the most sought-after musicians in the field.
English-speaking artists rule Twitter: Canadian Richie Hawtin with the most followers (660k), followed by Brit Carl Cox (580k), which is about 10 times as much as the others on our list. Amelie Lens and Charlotte de Witte have been gaining momentum – their number of followers has doubled in one year.
This year’s lineups are proof that we’re truly experiencing a Techno renaissance. With performers such as the above-mentioned, the future burns bright for artists and fans alike.
Cover photo: Jelena Ivanović/Exit 2019
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