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. From massive songs to record labels to phenomenal performances, producers have become the new rock stars of the music industry. Click below the break to see who we’ve chosen as the biggest artists over year — let’s start with rankings 50-41.
50. Steve Aoki
Whether it is throwing cakes at fans or performing with Madonna, Steve Aoki never seems to fail when it comes to the next dance music marketing ploy. Owner of Dim Mak Records, the mainstream maven continues to garner success through his catchy productions and over-the-top performances. Love him or hate him, Steve Aoki is a showman in the truest sense of the word.
49. Mark Knight
Founder and head honcho of Toolroom Records, Mark Knight has paid his dues in 2012 just as he has done any year he’s been around. Giving way to Italian trio Forza and releasing the tech house anthem “Alright,” Mark’s contributions to dance music this year are recognizable everywhere — it also doesn’t hurt that he headlined America’s inaugural Sensation event.
48. Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano hit it big with “Tribeca,” but their claim to fame in 2012 has been technical DJ sets with main stage appeal. The duo is known to set a tribal atmosphere across night clubs in New York City while headling festivals with the same attitude. 2012 came with the expected opening of “Let Me See You Work” followed by deep beats with a splash on their remake of “Lethal Industry” — definitely a fan favorite for live music, especially on the East coast.
47. Deniz Koyu
2012 has been the breakout year for the DA championed, Deniz Koyu. The Turkish producer amazed us with his remixes before he unveiled the followup to his 2011 hit “Tung.” “Bong” received praise from the likes of Fredde Le Grand and Tiesto which helped Koyu land his own SirusXM Radio show, “Bongbastic.
Our favorite Aussie twins, Liv and Mim Nervo, made a massive splash in 2012. After a summer of playing out sets in Ibiza, the two Australian bombshells snagged a residency with the Wynn Hotel Group in Las Vegas. Their collaboration with Hook N Sling on the track “Reason” landed them on Beatport’s Top 10, topping off a slew of successful releases and projecting NERVO to mainstage stardom.
45. Boys Noize
After the acclaimed success of his first two albums, Boy Noize, aka Alex Ridha, had all eyes watching for his third LP Out of the Black. The German production wizard always surprises us with his genre-bending production style and the 12-song output follows suit. Known for his technical skills, Boys Noize never disappoints when crafting new original productions and his 2012 album, coupled with his brand new and extremely impressive live show, let us all wanting more from the legendary producer.
44. Bingo Players
The duo began the year with their utterly epic track “L’Amour,” which was enough to land them on our Top 50 Artists. The infectious track highlighted their ability to continually produce simple electro driven beats, giving listeners another big room banger. After massive releases like “Cry (Just a Little),” “Mode,” and “Rattle” in 2011, the Dutch duo took to the festival circuit to dish out adrenaline inducing shows in 30 locations worldwide.
43. Laidback Luke
Laidback Luke is one of the heartwarming characters in electronic music, and his 2012 pays testament to his selflessness and dedication to upcoming talent. Luke’s MixMash records outed tracks week after week and even gave way to rookies with its The Ones to Watch series. Of course, Luke continued to sell out shows and produce music of his own, matching the standards that he has set so high for himself annually.
42. Brodinski & Gesaffelstein
Yes, we know Brodinski and Gesaffelstein are two independent producers, but there 2012 rise into the dance music dialogue was fueled by their friendship and passion for dark and gritty techno. Throughout 2012 it has been almost impossible to refer to one without the other. Their B2B sets have become the things of legend, and their independent productions (often remixed by one another) have garnered each producer critical acclaim. As labelhead of Bromance Records, Brodinksi has impressed us with a plethora of genre-mashing remixes and original tracks this year, while Gesaffelstein continues to push the boundaries of his French tech style, stealing the spotlight at this year’s Electric Zoo. Their dedication to pushing the sonic envelope, and their fostering of the new wave of French dance music has earned these two Parisian producers a spot on our countdown.
41. John Dahlback
Starting the year out right, John Dahlback delivered his epic Toolroom Knights compilation featuring three new original productions. The massive album was followed by what seemed to be a year of endless releases from the Swedish dynamo, including an album from his new alias Demure. Dahlback experimented with new sounds, while continuing to create the house productions we have grown to love, locking a spot in DA’s Top 50 DJs.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of our end of the year rankings, including top underground artists and biggest tracks.