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Top 100 Clubs 2020: Analysing this year's key trends

Our annual Top 100 Clubs poll is back for another year. DJ Mag readers from around the world voted in their droves for their favourite dancefloor destinations, choosing Brazil's stunning Green Valley as their No.1 club for the second year running. We analyse the key trends behind the results to determine what this year's ranking tells us about the state of our global club scene as we head into hugely uncertain times

As we go to press with our 2020 Top 100 Clubs results, the future is, at best, uncertain. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic has stopped many of the world’s most-prominent club scenes in their tracks. Many countries are on lockdown. Festivals and indoor venues have both suffered greatly, with the situation only looking to become more strict for the foreseeable.

It’s the financial sting in the tail of the pandemic which will cause most damage in clubland. While some governments are providing monetary aid to small businesses and workers, where they are not, clubs (and their staff), promoters and DJs will all struggle to get by. Since the advent of digital downloads, our scene has been incredibly reliant on live performance for income — many said it was unsustainable, and we may be about to learn just how right they were. 

What we can say is that the global club scene is at least in a strong position heading into these dark times. Over 600,000 people voted in the Top 100 Clubs this year, once again making it the most comprehensive poll of electronic music venues in the world, and showing just how much ravers still love a proper club.

The USA once again takes the title for most venues in the poll, up one on last year to 13 in total, while the UK maintains a close second with 12. The first real item of note comes with China increasing its haul by four clubs to take joint third alongside Spain (both on 11 total). Often touted as the fastest rising market for dance music, it’s hard to argue when the nation has bagged a whopping seven new entries in 2020, two of which are in the top 50 — bringing Asia’s tophalf total to eight. Finally, Croatia rounds out the top five bestscoring countries with six venues charting again this year.

Broken down by continent, Europe still dominates with 48 clubs — this is the same as last year, though with the addition of three new venues and this year’s one and only re-entry, which comes from a club that only appeared once before in our poll, way back in 2008! It’s been a strong 12 months for the continent overall; 63% of clubs are either up, new or non-movers, and the Highest Climber award goes to the same Amsterdam club for the second year in a row.

Asia increases its hold on second place, now claiming 28 clubs in total. The continent is certainly moving in the right direction, though it's clear the scene still remains somewhat volatile; eight clubs have risen, eight have dropped places, and there are 12 new entries, despite an increase of only four overall for the continent. North America is down two to 15, however there are still positives to take away: Vegas has stabilised, LA is on the rise, and an NYC venue can proudly collect 2020’s Highest New Entry gong. South America continues to solidify itself as a hub for the world’s best places to rave, maintaining an overall score of nine, but with 67% of those gaining places in the chart. Oceania drops out of the Top 100 entirely with the departure of the two Australian clubs that charted in 2019. 

After several years of looking a bit shaky, clubbing heartland Ibiza is back on the up. This year sees four risers and one non-mover among the White Isle’s seven charting clubs — plus a new champion claims the island’s highest placement. The UK pushes back into the top five and also introduces a new club to the poll; other new entries come from Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the USA, France — which despite the closure of beloved Parisian spot Concrete has upped its total to three via two new clubs — and Lebanon (now on two total after landing its first-ever ranked club last year).

Though the next few months will certainly be rocky for the electronic music industry, we remain hopeful. The dance music community is already starting to rally to protect itself financially; Irish spinner Saiorse has encouraged ravers not to ask for refunds on cancelled gigs in order to help promoters and clubs survive the downtime. Many DJs have already taken to streaming from home across Facebook, YouTube and Twitch — the latter of which may become an essential income source thanks to its donation capabilities — or setting up Patreon pages. And other figures in the community have launched usergenerated lists of Bandcamp pages, urging dance music fans to buy more music to help support artists. We even launched our own last week to round up the weeks best releases.

You can also check out our directory of nightlife causes you can support here. Community spirit and technological innovation have always been driving factors in the evolution of electronic music, and it will take both to see us through the next few months and come out strong on the other side.