The 2016 polls begin with the RA readers' top DJs of the year.
But beneath relatively simple tasks like beat-matching, cueing and EQing lies a craft of incredible depth and subtlety. DJing means more than playing good records with smooth transitions. It means sensing the mood of a room with incredible accuracy, gauging the collective taste of hundreds or thousands of strangers and giving them enough of what they want to lure them into your own musical world. It means having the entire history of recorded music as your toolbox and drawing from it whatever you think the night requires.
Every weekend, countless people around the world shell out hard-earned cash to hear DJs mix records. Some are only after a good night out, but many are looking for something more elusive—a moment of transcendence that's only possible on a good night on a good dance floor with a good DJ playing. With this annual poll, we ask who gave you that experience in the last 12 months. With the result, we toast the artists who, weekend after weekend, give people memories that will stay with them for years, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that dance music is more than entertainment—it's one of the essential art forms of our time.
2016 has been a year of shocks and upheavals, but Dixon clearly didn't get the memo. Many of you might have predicted this—after all, it's the Berliner's fourth gold medal in a row. Even so, it's hard to overstate the scale of this achievement. No other DJ has ever exercised such dominance over the top spot. For someone who tours relentlessly and helms one of dance music's most popular record labels, Steffen Berkhahn always looks incredibly relaxed. His social media presence is disarmingly human and self-deprecating, with plenty of goofy snaps. In the booth, he's always perfectly composed, no matter if it's the first or the fourth gig of the weekend. There's no safer pair of hands in the scene. Technically flawless but with a wild streak, his sets, especially the all-nighters, are atmospheric, otherworldly and reliably unpredictable. You'd think that would be a hard act to maintain, but over time Dixon only gets better. The same goes for the various projects he's involved in, from the almighty Innervisions to the label's one-of-a-kind Lost In A Moment parties. As things stand, it's hard to imagine anyone stealing his crown.