It took weeks of heated debate for the editors at Dancing Astronaut to come up with our Top 50 Biggest Tracks of 2012. As the scene — and our staff — continued to grow in 2012 we were met with a wave of new tastes, new sounds, and new styles that would inevitably affect what tracks fell into our Top 50. Since our humble beginnings, we have seen the electronic dance music scene in the United States grow to meteoric proportions. Our Biggest Tracks of 2010 were obvious, 2011 presented some debate, but deciding on the Biggest Tracks of 2012 left us all exhausted, frustrated, and at times even at each others’ throats.
In an attempt to be as accurate as possible, we created a list of criteria for our ranking system. This isn’t a popularity contest, it’s not based on crowd sourcing or social media clout – rather a strict list of attributes that each track was weighed against.
Read past the break for our breakdown on how we ranked the Top 50 Biggest Tracks of 2012.
What exactly does “Biggest” mean?
In our case, we defined “big” by two critical criteria.
1. How much of an impact did the song have on the dance music scene? Was it played in countless festival sets? Did it find support from some of the top-tier DJs in the game?
2. How high did it chart on Beatport, Billboard, or any other accredited source? This is directly related to radio airplay and box office success.
1. Release Date – This one is a no brainer, the track must have been released in 2012 (for the first time.) We understand that Zedd’s “Shave It” was re-released on Clarity this past October but due to it’s original release in late 2011, it has been barred from this list.
2. Did we write about it? – It must have been featured or talked about in some fashion on Dancing Astronaut — this is our list after all.
3. Label support – Bootlegs and other non-official release are automatically disqualified. It must have been a track that was either sold, or given away by the original artist. Sorry, no mash-ups.
1. The Dancing Astronaut Bias – This one is simple, if an artist has been featured on our frontpage countless times, chances are we really like them or they’ve made a big enough splash in dance music to warrant a post. We are music fans first – so chances are if we like their tunes it will obviously aid in their ranking.
2. Geographical Bias – We are a US-based media outlet, so our tastes are distinctly American. Tracks that gained traction here may not have been as successful in Europe, Asia, or Antarctica.
3. Relevancy Bias – Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of small time producers who have created incredible tracks this year. We love all forms of dance music and we hope that our content reflects that – but let’s be honest, no matter how good some obscure trap remix of The XX “Angels” was, it’s not going to be relevant enough to stand up next to “Silhouttes” or “In My Mind.”
4. Recency Bias - We try our best to avoid this one, but even the most disciplined judges fall victim to this dreaded bias. Tracks that were released more recently are going to be fresher in our minds and those that were show stoppers during last year’s Miami Music Week may already have lost their appeal. We’ve done our best to eliminate this one, but it definitely peaked it’s head out a few times during our discussions. Like that ex that just won’t stop texting you when they are drunk.
5. EDM Bias – 2012 saw a ton of mainstream exposure for electronic dance music, with some tracks crossing over into full blown pop. Some of these tracks, due to their mainstream acceptance and frequent radio play, could be considered the biggest tracks of the entire year. But we’ve barred them from entering the ring – it’s not a fair fight when a track is a Bar Mitzvah DJ’s go to party starter.
The great debate; Originals or Remixes?
This is always a tough one, when you think of “Ladi Dadi” do you think of Steve Aoki’s original? or do you think of Tommy Trash’s infectious remix? There are certain cases where the remixes deserve to be credited over the original; in some cases a track was remixed by multiple artists with equally stunning results – in those cases we consider the Originals and the Remixes as one complete package of awesome – why pigeonhole ourselves to just one remix? We guess its a cop out, but hey, whatever.
Rankings themselves are typically met with familiar challenges; biases are undeniable; and the very nature of a ranking system removes nearly all objectivity but they are fun to spark discussion amongst our loyal and dedicated fan base.
We hope you enjoy our rankings for the Top 50 Biggest Tracks of the Year, obviously there were some snubs and some unlikely entries but that just adds to the fun.
Stay tuned for our Top 50 Biggest Tracks 50-41, and let the heated debates begin!