50 Most Important People in EDM

The movers, shakers and speaker-quakers shaping dance in 2014

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Steve Aoki
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage45/50

45. Steve Aoki

Cake throwing or no cake throwing, Aoki has made himself a dance-biz force by sheer virtue of his methodical, workin'-every-angle partying. The Benihana scion's move from spinning hip-hop to fusing it with house music in mid-2000s L.A. clubs propelled a surge of ground-up interest in what eventually became known as EDM. His label, Dim Mak, formed in 1996, was an art-punk label until he started earnestly focusing on dance music in 2008. With a nonstop stream of singles in recent years from a wide range of festival hitters (Datsik, Zedd, Infected Mushroom, Borgore), the imprint's compilations have become consistent bangers at parties and events. With his restaurant and nightclub ambitions plus endorsement deals with Olmec Tequila, Trident Gum, and Scion, he's a tastemaker, for real – even if the flavor often resembles frosting.

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