2012 has been an exciting year for dance music, the scene has grown beyond any of our comprehensions, supplanting itself in popular culture, fueling the soundtrack of commercials, sitcoms, and even a Disney movie, and shaking the foundation popular culture by establishing a new wave of music consumer. At the forefront of everything have been the artists, the true pioneers of the electronic dance music wave. With a scene as large and expansive as EDM, it was hard to honor only 50 – for every David Guetta or Calvin Harris there are droves of aspiring bedroom producers all doing their fair share of pushing the movement — simply by creating and sharing their art. With the EDM explosion officially in full swing in 2012, we saw countless new artists emerge, seasoned producers experiment with new sounds, and massive collaborations form that made crowning the “best” artist a nearly impossible task.
We have run through the Biggest Tracks of 2012 and now we are ready to unveil our picks for the most influential artists of the year. We’ve already covered 50-41 and 40-31, and today we bring you our picks for 30-21. Hop past the break to see who made the cut.
30. Richie Hawtin
Our number one underground artist of 2012 has had a great enough influence this year to land himself on the year’s marquee ranking. This year, the techno legend embarked on CNTRL: Beyond EDM, an educational tour with Loco Dice to spread his knowledge of EDM scene past and present. Along with broadening horizons through lectures, CNTRL hit the road to portray his message of experimentation and artistry behind the decks, performing at each stop.
When it comes to raw musical talent, few producers accomplish the level of technicality that Bassnectar employs in his productions. Not for the faint of heart, Lorin Ashton’s sound has become the battle cry of a generation of bass heads and his latest release “Va Va Voom” took the sub-sub culture to all new heights in 2012. For a scene often criticized for a lack of originality and creativity, Bassnectar is the antithesis – earning him a spot in our Top 50.
28. Fedde Le Grand
Fedde Le Grand kicked off his monstrous 2012 with a bang, accepting awards at the Winter Music Conference for Best Remix with “Paradise” and Best Techno Track with “Metrum” — talk about a well diversified master of his craft. Fedde continued to play the role of Sensation’s flag holder, headlining the event in cities world wide including New York’s inaugural affair. Rounding out the year, Fedde released collaborations with long time mentee Deniz Koyu and Nicky Romero on “Turn It” and “Sparks,” proving his ear for rising talent.
27. Dirty South
Dirty South has contributed to the dance music scene with production, live sets, but most importantly character. Giving EDM a face and personality, Dragan has been a fan favorite in 2012 while touring the globe and releasing chart-toppers through his Phazing imprint. His collaboration with Alesso, “City of Dreams,” and his follow up to “Alive,” “Eyes Wide Open” became progressive staples this year as he followed a monster 2011 with impressive original material.
26. Thomas Gold
After a 2011 to remember, Thomas Gold topped himself on all ends this year. While his infamous Escape from Wonderland set in 2011 was unforgettable, Gold dropped a two-hour crowd pleaser for Pete Tong’s Essential Mix this year. Once established as the master of all things bootlegs, the German maestro went on to release his own compilation for Axtone which included a slew of brand new, impressive productions from deep within his studio.
25. Carl Cox
Carl Cox remains one of the most influential names in dance year after year, and 2012 was no exception. With his an Ibiza presence too strong to ignore in America, Cox brought his infamous ‘Carl Cox & Friends’ party stateside, most notably to Ultra Music Festival where he dominated with his own stage once again. Oh yes, Oh yes.
24. Knife Party
Pendulum subsidy Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen — better known as Knife Party — made a spalsh with “Internet Friends” during the closing hours of 2011, and continued to have a blazing hot 2012. Following their lead EP, Knife Party strick back with Rage Valley, an extended play featuring four of this year’s loudest tunes.
Thomas Pentz has been credited for production behind this year’s biggest hits from Usher, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, and more. We know this man better as Diplo, one half of Major Lazer, Mad Decent head honcho, and an all around electronic all star that’s had females doing handstands since launching a movement with his Express Yourself EP. 2012 has been the year Diplo peeked from behind the production credits to show his face, most notably on the cover of Billboard Magazine side by side with Skrillex and A-Trak.
22. Tommy Trash
If Tommy Trash’s mission in 2012 was to produce more favorites than one can count, he succeeded. While he established himself as an artist to be reckoned with in 2011, he came back even stronger this year, stamping his brand on endless remixes and topping the charts month after month with his own material. From “Ladi Dadi” to “Reload,” Trash’s name has been associated with the biggest anthems of the year — and we haven’t began to speak of the rest of his résumé.
Arty was labeled a rising star in 2011 after tracks like “Kate” pushed his unique progressive trance sound to the forefront of electronic music. While he is at the top of his game, Arty is still rising, and has risen to the high ranks of our biggest artists list in 2012 after another incredible year. Kicking off the year with “Trio,” wrapping it up with “Must Be The Love,” and dominating DJ booths globally in between, the young Russian has remained in demand over the past 12 months and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.