zaterdag 28 maart 2009

Armin vs Tiësto: Too close to call

Contrary to popular belief that by winning both the 2007 and 2008 DJ Mag title Armin van Buuren is now for a fact the most popular DJ in the world I would dare to dispute that that is actually the case.

Clearly Armin has performed a great sprint to catch up with Tiësto, the guy who personally brought DJ worshiping to the highest level in recorded history. But has he really passed this icon of DJing in popularity?

This week the highly regarded IDMA awards were handed out in Miami at the annual Winter Music Conference. Armin won 4 of his 6 nominations:

- Best European DJ
- Best Radio Mix Show DJ (A State of Trance)
- Best Progressive House/Trance track (In and out of love)
- Best Video (In and out of love)

Tiësto however also won 4 of his 6 nominations and not exactly the small potato ones:

- Best Global DJ
- Best Full Length DJ Mix (In Search of Sunrise 7)
- Best Podcast (Tiësto's Club Life)
- Best Artist

This again confirms how popular Tiësto still is and how mega close the race between him and Armin has been in the past year. The organizer of the DJ Mag award has admitted (in Armin's book) that the difference between Armin and Tiësto for the 2008 DJ Mag title was less than 100 votes. On a total of 350.000 votes that is extremely close. Add to that the fact that Tiësto recently took the Mix Mag Best DJ award and now also the IDMA Best Global DJ award and it is pretty clear that Armin is not a mile ahead in popularity as a lot of people so often seem to think. He has done a great job in catching up, but in terms of popularity they are currently equal at best.

I am not writing this to dis Armin or promote Tiësto for that matter. I’m simply trying to look objectively at what's going on and how people are rating these guys. Personally I am quite critical about Armin's current live sets, but I will still take his over Tiësto's every day. Same goes for his radio show, although this poll does show that Armin's podcast format simply doesn't work and is unworthy of his position, something I've been saying from episode 1.

In terms of the other awards, there are a few that don’t really don’t mean anything to me. Tiësto best artist? What artist?! He hasn’t been an artist for 2 years, just a DJ and a remixer. Best (Progressive) House/Trance Track for In and out of love? That must be a joke. And the Best Video award for that same track should immediately be forwarded to Ne-Yo, because Armin’s vid is an utter ripoff of the one Ne-Yo made his track Closer in early 2008.

I would agree to ISOS7 being a better compilation than ASOT2008, however both fail miserably compared to something like Sasha's Invol2ver. Unfortunately the popular majority yet fails to see the sheer genius behind that compilation and the way it was produced and mixed. I do hope that these guys one day will see that they are wasting their energy and talent on all this endless worldwide touring, doing the same boring live sets over and over again. They would serve their musical legacy and their fans a lot better by spending more time and energy in the studio creating masterpieces that will last forever, instead of blowing it over and over on one night stands for a limited amount of people. I know that that money is a lot greener, but when is green green enough?

Oh well. Looking ahead it will be interesting to see how this develops during 2009 now that Tiësto has broken up with his manager. His gig list looks quite empty atm, but that could also have to do with him wanting to focus on his new artist album. But then again just like Armin's upcoming album it will most likely be too late to be of influence on the 2009 DJ Mag poll.