Dutch DJ Hardwell has been banned from competing in the DJ Mag Top 100 poll after it emerged that there were some irregularities with the votes being cast in support of the DJ.
Hardwell, pictured above not wearing make-up or photoshopped in any way, apparently had been illegally harvesting votes by clandestinely recruiting a team of programmers to clone IP and email addresses for the purposes of casting multiple fraudulent votes.
Investigators from DJ Mag who are looking into the reports of rigging claimed that “this is a very serious allegation. Although the magazine poll isn’t an accurate measure of a performer’s skill as a DJ it has an important commercial aspect for EDM performers.”
“Our suspicions were aroused when we came across a number of unusually titled email addresses and cloned IP addresses used to cast votes for Hardwell. We tracked the source of the scam to the hidden basement of a property in Mumbai believed to be owned by Hardwell where the DJ had forcefully recruited a family of programmers to work around the clock casting votes with promises of merchandise, image makeovers and DJ lessons.”
“The programmers were able to clone IP addresses from users around the globe to hide their tracks. When we noticed a lot of votes being cast from IPs across the Middle East and North Africa we felt they warranted investigation as dance music doesn’t really have a foothold in those places.”
“We only became suspicious when we noticed that the email addresses began showing a pattern – the addresses were in the names of dead or defunct 90s commercial dance acts and tracks. For example, we received 500 votes from a variety of combinations of firstname.lastname@example.org using different email providers and spellings.”
It also emerged that the programmers were using the names of rival DJs derogatorily in some of the email addresses they were making up and voting with, some examples of which are “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
One of the programmers, broke his silence to claim that for payment they were promised Hardwell merchandise like stickers, mugs and t-shirts as well as help from Hardwell in creating their own electro house music, “he said he’d hire the same ghost writer who writes his music.”
Hardwell claimed in a brief statement that he’d fight the allegations and prove that he doesn’t need to cheat to win the arbitrary popularity contest.