The DJ Mag Top 100 comes out every year and tends to leave dance music fans all over the world a little annoyed. The common complaints are that the list is just a popularity contest and that DJ's are encouraged to spend thousands of dollars in advertising to receive votes. Therefore it is not a reliable list of who is the best or most talented in production or behind the decks. In years past the list actually did have an impact on an artist's livelihood as even booking agencies and promoters took the list into consideration when calculating fees.

Luckily that is no longer the case, as there are several other metrics which an artist's performance over the year can be broken down by. This is where we got to thinking, what if we ran all numbers to see who was actually the top DJ in the world based on their performance across several different metrics. Would it compare to the list that everyone loves to hate? Or would it be wildly different? The results certainly surprised us, and they just might leave you a bit shocked as well.

The Metrics

We decided to look at eight main categories which could be viewed qualitatively. Many of these categories also have sub-categories. We also put a minimum threshold on some of the number counts.

Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases

The first metric we gathered was the total Spotify streams for the artist's 2018 releases. This was done by adding up the total play count for every track that the artists released starting January 1, 2018, until October 20, 2018. Remixes by other artists that were on the calculated artist's page were ignored in this category. Artists who accumulated less than 100,000,000 Spotify streams on their 2018 releases did not receive points in this category.

Limitations: This method does come with some limitations. Sometimes Spotify incorrectly tags a remix which an artist did and features it on the original producer's page. We did not work to hunt down every single song, and only pulled data from the songs featured on the artist's main Spotify Page. Unfortunately, it would have been nearly impossible to find every single song that was not correctly attributed to an artist.

Total Soundcloud Streams For 2018 Releases

The next metric which was gathered was the total Soundcloud Streams for 2018 uploads. These numbers were collected by totaling the play counts for every track that was uploaded to the artist's Soundcloud page under the Tracks section from January 1, 2018, until October 21, 2018. In this metric, we collected all tracks including remixes from other artists hosted on the original producer's page, as well as radio shows and live sets uploaded to the Tracks section. Artists who accumulated less than 1,000,000 Soundcloud streams on their 2018 releases did not receive points in this category.

Limitations: Since we did not discriminate on uploads to the artist's Soundcloud page for this metric, the number of uploads an artist had played a factor. Producers who hosted weekly radio shows obviously had many more uploads than those who didn't.

Total Revenue For 2018

This metric was pulled from Forbes annual list of the top-earning DJ's in 2018. To see a full list of the top-earning DJ's of 2018 you can visit Forbes' list here. Artists who did not make Forbes 2018 list received no points in this category.

Limitations: We did not double check Forbes' numbers. Obviously, since the list is published before the end of the year, many of the numbers are both earned revenue and extrapolations for the remainder of the year.

Total YouTube Views For Videos Uploaded In 2018

These numbers were collected by totaling the play count for every video the artist uploaded in 2018. We collected view counts for every single video, regardless if it was a vlog, recap, live set, music video, or lyric video. This was done to understand an artist's popularity as a brand as well as a producer. Artists who accumulated less than 1,000,000 YouTube views on their 2018 videos did not receive points in this category.

Limitations: The same issue which arose when collecting Soundcloud numbers also appeared here. DJ's who uploaded weekly videos, such as marshmello with his cooking series, had many more opportunities to collect views. Radio friendly tracks produced with pop-stars also had much greater YouTube numbers than producers who worked outside of the realm of pop in 2018.

Total Shows Played In 2018

The total number of shows performed in 2018 was collected by reviewing show totals from both Song Kick and Bands In Town. When the two aggregators showed discrepancies, the highest number was used. This metric was collected as it demonstrates promoters and event organizers around the world have a desire to book producers on this list.

Limitations: These two aggregator services have their limits. They do not account for surprise sets and other shows where the artists were not specifically billed. The fact the two sites had discrepancies also demonstrates that they are not the end all, be all for total performance numbers.

Total Unique DJ Spins In 2018

To gauge how artists were supported by their peers, we used 1001 Track Lists' comprehensive list of unique DJ spins for 2018. This list shows how much support artist's received by their peers from October 1, 2017, until September 30, 2018. You can view the full list from 1001 Tracklists here. If artists did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 list, they received no points in this category.

Limitations: While 1001 Track Lists is impressively thorough, they do not have data for every single set in the world. These numbers are at best estimates, and since some artists only out placed others by a few plays, the list must be taken with a grain of salt.

Most Googled Artists Of 2018

While this metric might be surprising for many, over 90% of web sessions begin with a search engine inquiry. Therefore, we wanted to understand which artists were being searched by fans across the world. Our data points were collected using the Google Trends tool which demonstrates how search terms are used across the year. Here is a sample report of a Google Trends graph we used while compiling our data. We only took results for the 15 most Googled artists of 2018, as past that the data was not significant enough to collect on a global level.

Limitations: Google is not available in all countries and therefore the data will not be representative all the entire world.

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard EDM/Dance Charts

As access to Nielsen information is incredibly expensive, we decided the best way to obtain charting information was by using the Billboard chart archives. We pulled the amount of weeks artists spent at #1 for “Hot Dance/Electronic Songs“, “Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs“, “Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales“, “Top Dance/Electronic Album Sales“.

Limitations: We would have liked to pull more information than only the #1 spot for weeks in 2018, but the archives are limited to only the top spot. Billboard data uses Nielsen's Sound Scan which only records data from the United States, therefore this is not an accurate representation of global metrics.

How We Determined The Artists And Awarded Points

We initially started with a list of over 50 artists we deemed to be most popular across electronic dance music. Very quickly it was found that even artists who are incredibly popular in most people's eyes (such as Bassnectar, Excision, Oliver Heldens, and many more), could not compete with the numbers of the final 20 artists we included on this list.

Each category carried the exact same weight as the others. A point total was given based on the rank an artist achieved in a category. If an artist placed #1 in a category they received 20 points, if #2 then 19 points, and so on until the lowest ranking member of a category only was given 1 point.

We also made minimum thresholds in some categories where if an artist did not meet the numbers for they were awarded no points. If an artist was no featured on a list such as Forbes' list of revenue or 1001 Tracklist of DJ plays, they received no points as well.

If you would like to see the total numbers for all artists across the board, you may request access to our findings here.

So with all that explanation out of the way, let's get to the list. A gold highlight is used if the artist ranked #1 out of those on this list for that category. A silver highlight is used if the artist ranked #2 out of those on this list for that category.

19. Kaskade (USA)

Kaskade
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 21

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $13,500,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 5,242,714 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 70

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 list

Google Trends Analysis: Data not significant enough to be recorded

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

18. Afrojack (NED)

Total Points Awarded: 32

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 1,090,600

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $10,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 8,943,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 75

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 853

Google Trends Analysis: Data not significant enough to be recorded

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

17. Skrillex (USA)

Skrillex
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 35

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: Did not make 2018 Forbes list

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: <1,000,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 17

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 1337

Google Trends Analysis: #9 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

16. Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike (NED)

Total Points Awarded: 37

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $10,500,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 73,724,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 92

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 484

Google Trends Analysis: Data not significant enough to be recorded

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

15. Axwell/\Ingrosso (SWE)

Total Points Awarded: 38

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $12,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 19,225,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 61

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 1157.5

Google Trends Analysis: Data not significant enough to be recorded

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

14. Alan Walker (NOR)

Total Points Awarded: 46

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 166,644,997

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: Did not 2018 Forbes make list

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 267,401,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 60

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 list

Google Trends Analysis: #1 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

13. Hardwell (NED)

Hardwell
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 49

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 1,775,700

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: Did not make Forbes 2018 list

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 24,704,600 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 73

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 1096

Google Trends Analysis: #15 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

12. Armin van Buuren (NED)

Armin van Buuren
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 50

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: <100,000,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 4,029,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: Did not make Forbes 2018 list

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 65,236,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 74

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 856

Google Trends Analysis: #14 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

11. Don Diablo (NED)

Don Diablo

Total Points Awarded: 63

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 317,141,698

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 1,435,110

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: Did not make 2018 Forbes list

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 62,641,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 94

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 1,352

Google Trends Analysis: Data not significant enough to be recorded

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

10. Steve Aoki (USA)

Total Points Awarded: 72

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 187,383,767

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 4,387,400

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $28,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 24,654,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 75

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 574

Google Trends Analysis: #13 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

9. Kygo (NOR)

Kygo

Total Points Awarded: 77

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 412,410,645

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: <1,000,000

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $11,500,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 242,359,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 76

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 List

Google Trends Analysis: #6 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 1

8. DJ Snake (FRA)

Total Points Awarded: 81

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 200,120,734

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 5,075,800

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $11,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 370,000,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 74

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 674

Google Trends Analysis: #8 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

7. Diplo (USA)

Total Points Awarded: 100

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 618,631,607

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 28,660,600

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $20,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 290,974,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 91

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 995

Google Trends Analysis: #12 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

6. Tiesto (NED)

Tiesto
Photo Credit: Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 101

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 394,294,664

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 6,959,600

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $33,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 140,983,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 109

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 1,086

Google Trends Analysis: #11 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

5. Martin Garrix (NED)

Total Points Awarded: 106

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 532,524,876

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 6,317,600

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $13,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 479,685,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 99

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 954

Google Trends Analysis: #3 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 0

4. Zedd (GER)

Zedd
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 112

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 653,857,913

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 11,300,300

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $22,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 222,065,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 113

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 list

Google Trends Analysis: #9 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 86

(Tied) 3. Calvin Harris (UK)

World's Richest DJ
Photo Credit: Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 113

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 832,177,504

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 1,560,692

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $48,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 632,897,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 48

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 548

Google Trends Analysis: #5 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 1

(Tied) 3. The Chainsmokers (USA)

Total Points Awarded: 113

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 601,893,220

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 1,608,966

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $45,500,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 485,040,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 117

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 list

Google Trends Analysis: #10 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 34

2. David Guetta (FRA)

David Guetta
Photo Credit: Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 117

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 1,008,190,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 5,506,300

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $15,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 367,401,00 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 71

Total DJ Spins In 2018: 783

Google Trends Analysis: #4 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 2

1. Marshmello (USA)

Marshmello
Photo via Rukes

Total Points Awarded: 130

Total Spotify Streams For 2018 Releases: 1,138,738,000

Total Soundcloud Plays For 2018 Uploads: 38,670,200

Total Revenue Earned In 2018: $23,000,000

Total YouTube Plays On 2018 Videos: 584,704,000 views

Total Shows Played In 2018: 100

Total DJ Spins In 2018: Did not make 1001 Track Lists 2018 List

Google Trends Analysis: #2 Most Googled DJ in the World

Total Weeks At #1 On Billboard Charts: 35



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Erik
Hey everyone! I am the Editor in Chief of EDM Sauce. I handle content curation and pretty much spend all my free time scouring the web for dance music news. I am 25 years old and a recent graduate of Texas Tech . My favorites artists at the moment are Odesza, Flume, Lane 8 and of course Deadmau5. Shoot me an email if you have any questions or would like to write for the site!
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