DJ Awards is a nonprofit organization which organizes the annual electronic music DJ Awards event, which is the only international ceremony that solely awards DJs and also the oldest. It honours DJs according to the particular EDM genre in which they perform. The DJs are awarded in the public vote categories from the results of an online poll. In the non-public vote categories, the organizers – nominated by specialist panel of judges – confer special awards on music industry organizations, Ibizan artists and other EDM artists for their contributions, dedication or achievements during their career within the dance music industry.
DJ Awards was formed in 1998 by José Pascual and Lenny Ibizarre. The ceremony is held once a year at Pacha club in Ibiza, Spain during the last week of September to coincide with the closing parties of the most important Ibiza clubs. The awards are known internationally in the electronic dance music community as the Oscars of the DJ industry. The event attracts a broad selection of international EDM professionals and the awards observe the wide range of creative talent of the world's best DJs. The ethos behind the annual ceremony is for it "to be seen not as a competition, but instead, a celebration of the electronic dance music scene, that conveys the artistic ability of DJs to a global music audience". A different theme is chosen each year that is important to the organisers, which is then translated into an individual graphical and visual representation of that theme for each ceremony. The awards have managed to retain their status as one of the most important accolades that an artist can win or be honoured by. Past recipients have included Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Roger Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia, Danny Rampling, Frankie Knuckles, Tiësto, Sasha, Tony De Vit and Deadmau5.
In the inaugural edition in 1998, the chosen theme was “Alien Arrival”, due to the nature of the prize (a piece of kryptonite) and its extraterrestrial mascot "Snuffy". In this first year the winners were Erick Morillo for the "house" category, Daft Punk for the Best DJ Band category and Fernandisco for the "Radio DJ" category, with an honorifc special award for the late Tony De Vit.
The second edition in 1999 explored the theme of ¨African Tribal Rhythms¨, as a source of inspiration for music producers. It emphasised the expansion of categories such as "Ambient /Experimental" or "International DJ" and winners such as Pete Tong, Roger Sanchez, Basement Jaxx all picked up awards. Frankie Knuckles and Joe T. Vanelli were the first winners in the categories of "Outstanding Dedication" and "Outstanding Contribution" respectively.
The year 2000 hosted the third ceremony, this time under the theme of the ¨Mythological Inspiration of the Muses¨ and under new categories, renaming the category formerly known as "Ambient/Experimental" as "Chill Out" due to the increasing flow of productions in this style. Other categories and winners featured that same year were Paul Oakenfold for "Trance", Sven Väth for "Techno" and the song "Lady" by Modjo for the category "Track of the season" amongst others.
For the fourth ceremony in 2001 technological advances happening in the industry did not go unnoticed in the direction of the awards, establishing the theme "Man and Machine" as a starting point. For the second time Erick Morillo won "House DJ" alongside other winners: Mixmaster Morris for "Eclectic" and Carl Cox for "Techno", and Superchumbo the winner in the category for best production.
In 2002, the fifth edition of the awards, the theme was "Vinyl". It was created as a romantic example of the DJs' beginnings, at a time when the CD format was becoming the standard. Amongst winners that year were prominent names such as Pete Tong for "Outstanding Contribution", Mambo Cafe for "Best Ibiza Bar", "It Just Won’t Do" by Tim Deluxe for "Track of the Season" or Wally Lopez as "Best Newcomer".
In 2003, the sixth edition the theme chosen was ¨The Essence of the Universe¨, winners such as Steve Lawler for "Techhouse/Progressive", Junior Jack & Kid Crème for "Best Newcomer" (also winners for the "Track of the Season" with "E-Samba ") or the crowning of Manumission as the best promoter, which gave a joyful note to this gala.
In 2004 and the seventh edition¨The Sense of Man¨ awarding DJs such as Trevor Nelson for "Urban DJ", Tania Vulcano as "Best Ibiza Resident" and Shapeshifters with their track "Lola's Theme" as "Track of the Season." The gala had started with the opening video of "Made in Dixland: Searching Krypto" realised by the Spanish DJ and producer Nando Dixkontrol, this video worked out to be one of the most memorable images of the ceremony.
The ceremony of 2005 (eighth edition) celebrated the centenary of the ¨Vacuum Tube¨ creation, one of the first aspects of primary electronics circuits. Ferry Corsten for "Trance", Steve Angello as "Best Newcomer" and Cut Killer for "Hip Hop" were some of the winners featured, with a new Honorary Award being presented to Argentine DJ Alfredo Fiorito for his historic career in the industry, one of the most special moments of that year.
In 2006 for the ninth edition ¨Nature¨ broke through as the theme and served as an excuse to reward twice over Bob Sinclar as best House DJ and best song of the year for "World Hold On" together with his vocalist Steve Edwards. Other special moments of that year would be, after three attempts, the "Best Ibiza Resident" to the Australian Sarah Main with the highest votes in history for this category, and also the "Outstanding Contribution" given to Brasilio de Oliveira creator, among other things, of the party "La Troya".
2007 celebrated the tenth anniversary of the awards under the theme of “Time”. Using the graphic reference belonging to the Salvador Dalís painting "The Persistence of Memory", the prizes were handed to the DJs Cristian Varela for "Techno", Mucho Muchacho for "Urban DJ", and David Guetta for "International DJ", amongst others.
The eleventh edition in 2008 celebrated the awards under the slogan "Do not change the climate, change yourself" with David Guetta as Best House DJ, Valentin Huedo as best Ibiza resident and crowning Mark Knight & Funkagenda with the "Track of the Season" for "Man with The Red Face".
2009 was the twelfth edition of the awards and used the theme of ¨Dreams¨ as its subject. Once again the French king of DJ David Guetta won the "House" category, and Sven Väth for "Techno", Sasha for "Progressive House" and Michel Cleis for his tune "La Mezcla" as "Track of the Season" were some of the winners in a year that has included even more new categories.
For the thirteenth edition in 2010, the chosen theme was ¨Water¨, which urged everyone to join the onedrop organisation. Winners this year included the Swedish House Mafia boys - Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello for the House category, Deadmau5 picked up best International DJ, International Festival was given to Kazantip amongst many others.
In 2011, the fourteenth edition of this ceremony, "fire" was the chosen theme, which represented the "discovery that changed the world". Among the winner were, axwell for "house", for Tech house, Luciano took the award, Deadmau5 for Electro house and Carl Cox for Techno.
The 2012, and the fifteenth edition, saw light as chosen as the theme, taking it right back to the beginning...Big Bang! Winners included Armin Van Buuren (Trance & International), Chase & Status (Dubstep/Bass), Maceo Plex (Deep House), Arty (Newcomer), plus in the Special awards collecting for (Ibiza DJ) Andy Baxter, Tomorrowland won (International Festival) and for Live Performance a new category Lenny Kravitz for his performance at the 2012 Ibiza 123 Festival.
In 2013, the sixteenth edition the theme was the element of Earth. Winners presented with the Kryptonite award included Luciano for Tech House; Deep House went to Solomun. And Hot Natured for Electronic Live Performance. Cristian Varela for Techno, and Newcomer went to Uner. Armin Van Buuren who again won two awards scooping Trance and International DJ and Electro House went to Hardwell. The Lifetime Achievement went to Jerry Greenberg, and Outstanding Contribution went to Kathy Sledge (Sister Sledge).
For the seventeenth edition in 2014 the chosen theme was Love and some of the winners included Carl Cox who picked up two awards for Best International DJ and Best Techno DJ, Skrillex picked up the award for Best Drum & Bass/Dubstep DJ, and Disclosure won Best Live Electronic Performance. Some of the Special Awards given on the night went to DJ Harvey for his Outstanding Contribution to EDM, Best Ibiza DJ to Iban Mendoza and Track of the Season went to Patrick Topping.
In 2015, the eighteenth edition was held and the theme for the year was “Meet on the Beat” among the winners were Spanish DJ, Cuartero took the best Newcomer award, Hardwell picked up two awards in the electro/progressive house, and international categories. South Africa was voted best dance nation and South African DJ Black Coffee won the best breakthrough award.
Awards categories (competitive)
DJ Awards release every year online (via www.djawards.com) a list of categories and nominees which reflect the current electronic music industry. All nominees are recommended by a panel of 100 music industry professionals who are broadly representative of the International Dance Music sectors: music media specialists, DJs' managers, agents, promoters, technology manufacturers and DJs themselves. The panel changes annually, and it selects the nominees for each category within the DJ Awards. These are then announced publicly, and the public are then invited to vote through the organisation's website or via Social Media Networks to help decide the final winners at a gala event held in the world-famous club Pacha in Ibiza.
Current Best DJ categories
Live Performance Category
Award categories (non-competitive)
The Special Awards is in a non-competitive category where nominees and winners are selected by a specialist panel of judges it is not open to a public vote and they operate much in the same way as the BAFTA non-competitive accolades these awards alternate and are not always given every year.
Current Special Awards
- Ibiza DJ
- Ibiza Club Night
- Ibiza Live Performance
- Track of the Season
- Record label of the Year
- International Festival
- Dance Nation of the Year
- Cutting Edge Technology
Highest Special Awards
- Electronic Music Pioneer
- Outstanding Dedication
- Outstanding Contribution
- Outstanding Achievement
- Lifetime Achievement
Previous award categories
Previous Best DJ/Best of categories
The DJ Awards trophy is a piece of green Kryptonite. The word Kryptonite descends from the Greek Kryptos (secret or hidden element), as the force hidden behind the complex language of the turntables which generate vibration and feeling, with that the DJ guides the crowd into a state of consciousness high and Nite (nightlife and its culture. Abbreviation of “night” in modern languages. At night is when people, however different is the culture’s proceeding, finally unite as if they were one, under a common beat} that shares elements from all corners of the world) and that gives shape to the sense of adventure and surprise that is hidden once the sun goes down.
In an interview in the September 2007 with Spanish music magazine "Deejay", José Pascual co-founder of the awards, answered to the question put, “why you chose the Kryptonite as an icon”?
“I would say that she chose us. We wanted the trophy to be something else, something with meaning. We liked the idea that it would be of natural crystal and after a survey of people around us, we chose this for its energetic component, for transparency, for ease of transport ... Somebody thought it was like Superman’s kryptonite, the alien element that removed his power to give it to the DJ. Furthermore, the etymology of the word tells us that "Kryptos" comes from hidden message and "Nite" from night, a message closely related to DJ, so organically everything came together. "
The DJ Awards had a mascot named Snuffy, which is a cross between the famous symbol associated with acid house (the "bloodied" smiley). Snuffy was retired in 2012 and the events have not had a mascot since then.