Billboard’s “Top 30 EDM Power Players” Confuses Celebrity With Power


Another year, another hastily thrown-together list of influential figures in the EDM world.

It seems like every festival season, another music publication takes a stab at declaring some handful of industry figures to be the movement’s global tastemakers – In The Mix put together a decent one in 2013, but Rolling Stone demonstrated their complete lack of understanding of the dance music dynamic in 2014. We would expect a 2015 list compiled by Billboard to knock both out of the water since the publication has managed to keep its finger on the pulse of dance music, but they’ve managed to miss the mark as well.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not discrediting the role of DJ/producers in the youth culture explosion that is EDM – but when you’re talking about the individuals responsible for advancing the enterprise as a whole, maybe one or two artists fit the bill. As such, Diplo and Calvin Harris make for the most sensible entries for their entrepreneurial scope of operations – maybe even Disclosure and Steve Angello – but including the likes of Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, and A-Trak (among others) makes them out to have far more control over the industry than they do. To add to the inconsistency, Harris’ own entry was even split up between himself and the two founders of Three Six Zero, even though out of all the artists mentioned he easily commands the most influence.

…And what about Robert Sillerman? The SFX Entertainment founder is curiously missing from this supposed list of “power players,” despite the fact that his company pledged to invest $1 billion into EDM annually in 2012 and has since aggressively bought out multi-million dollar companies the world over. Even one of SFX’s other chairmen would have sufficed instead of, say, Zedd.

The full list is below, and you can read each entry’s reasoning by checking out the original Billboard article here.

1. James Barton, President of electronic music, Live Nation
2. Diplo, DJ/producer; founder, Mad Decent
3. Pasquale Rotella, Founder, Insomniac Events
4. Skrillex, DJ/producer; co-founder, OWSLA
5. Paul Morris, Founder/president, AM Only
6. Calvin Harris // Mark Gillespie // Dean Wilson
Harris: DJ/producer; Gillespie/Wilson: Co-founders, Three Six Zero Group
7. Ritty Van Straalen, CEO, SFX Live
8. Joel Zimmerman, Partner/head of electronic music, William Morris Endeavor
9. Gary Richards, Founder/CEO, HARD Events
10. Patrick Moxey, Founder/president, Ultra Records; president of electronic music, Sony Music
11. Scooter Braun, Founder/owner, SB Projects
12. Kaskade, DJ/producer
13. David Guetta, DJ/producer
14. Ash Pournouri, Founder, At Night Management
15. Kathryn Frazier, Owner, Biz3 Publicity; co-owner, OWSLA
16. Deadmau5, Producer; founder, Mau5trap
17. Neil Moffitt, CEO, Hakkasan Group
18. Pete Tong & Annie Mac, DJ/hosts
19. Tiesto, DJ/producer
20. Martin Garrix, DJ/producer
21. Geronimo, Director of music programming for electronic and dance formats; host, BPM/SiriusXM
22. Tim Smith, Founder, Blood Company
23. Neil Jacobson, Senior vp A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M
24. Steve Aoki, DJ/producer; CEO/owner, Dim Mak Records
25. Disclosure, DJ/producers
26. Amy Thomson, Founder/CEO, ATM Artists
27. DJ Snake, DJ/producer
28. Zedd, DJ/producer
29. Steve Angello, DJ/producer; founder, Size Records
30. A-Trak, DJ/producer; co-founder, Fool’s Gold Records