News by
Devin Culham

Something is Seriously Wrong With DJ Mag's 25 Year Anniversary Cover

DJ Mag a publication known for its yearly top 100 rankings is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a magazine publication.

To ring in the special occasion the magazine publication released its latest issue with 25 DJs who pioneered electronic music. Including familiar faces like Fatboy Slim, Paul Van Dyk, Sven Väth, Paul Oakenfold, and Carl Craig, among others. However, there’s one thing that’s lacking that is clearly obvious.

There's no ladies.

This is nothing new for DJ Mag, whose yearly DJ rankings demonstrate the lack of equality in electronic music. Although the DJ rankings themselves are poll-based, rather than determined on technical skill (or even quality of production) the poll results influence how much an artist is able to charge for booking fees. So, each year DJs campaign the polls for votes to make it on the pathetically influential list. In 2015, only 3 female artist(s) made the cut.

In defense of its decision of the artists that were selected for the cover, DJ Mag issued the following editorial statement to The Fader:

"To celebrate 25 Years of DJ Mag we chose the 25 most pioneering dance figures of the past 25 years and ran editorial on each referencing what exactly it was they pioneered. Like all subjective lists, it caused much debate in the office. The main issue we came across was the inclusion (or lack of inclusion) of any women (something mentioned in the editor’s letter). Eventually, after a painstaking process, we concluded that of the 25 we have chosen none can be refuted and made a conscious decision to avoid tokenism.

We’re wholly aware that — sadly — the dance music industry is — even today — male-dominated and we’ve continually sought to address this balance in the pages of our magazine and via our online channels. In February, we ran a Women In Dance Music special to spur debate around the issue. We never have and will not shy away from supporting female DJs in our pages. Dance music as a scene, after all, is built on equality and there is a wealth of talent in the industry from all genders and races from all walks of society. As a publication we encourage debate around the issue and will continue to act as a forum for it."

Record-slayer and resident badass, The Black Madonna chirped in on Twitter about the cover:

The Queen, Nicole Moudaber also shared her two cents.

DJ Mag took the defense following the heated backlash, with DJ Shiva sharing her thoughts.

By featuring only 25 male DJs on its 25th anniversary cover, DJ Mag makes the assumption that all electronic pioneers are male. Although there are many faces on the mag that deservedly earn the title of ‘pioneer’ one has to consider the basis for determining which DJ is considered a pioneer. Can David Guetta really hold a candle to the likes of a true sound pioneer like Jeff Mills or Apex Twin? Absolutely not. However, David Guetta can be credited as a pioneer for commodifying and distributing electronic music with pop sensibilities.

So DJ Mag, with the obvious subjectivity in the use of the word pioneer, how do you avoid tokenism? By including actual female DJs that helped blaze the trail both politically and sonically in a male-dominated industry. That’d be a good start.


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Devin Culham Staff Writer

Cut my teeth with the Detroit techno scene before moving to Denver to see what the mountains have to offer.