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How Beatport turned Wolfgang Gartner into a superstar DJ

Before he was a Grammy-nominated producer, Wolfgang Gartner dominated the charts on Beatport.


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Posted on Feb 9, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 12:56 am CDT

How good is Wolfgang Gartner at what he does? He turned a classical masterpiece into a chart-topping dance hit.

Gartner is one of the biggest artists to emerge from the Beatport community in the past couple of years. His breakthrough single, “Wolfgang’s 5th Symphony,” a banging EDM spin on Beethoven’s iconic “5th Symphony,” became the highest selling track on Beatport back in 2009 and launched Gartner’s career, leading to appearances at major music festivals around the world.

Gartner owes his rise in no small part to the support from the online EDM community, galvanized at Beatport and quickly disseminated across the Web. His success is also testament to his persistence, though—the hard-earned recognition that comes from almost two decades tireless crafting beats. In fact, as the 31-year-old Gartner notes, his rave-wrecking remix of Beethoven’s 5th sprung from excavating demos he had made at 14 years old.

“Wolfgang’s 5th Symphony” also speaks to the vibrancy, and challenges, of contemporary remix culture. The popularity of Gartner’s remix stems from the novel take on the recognizable original, which is freely sampled due to its public domain status, but the very remix culture that made Gartner’s version a legitimate hit also quickly spawned unauthorized knock-offs. It’s the double-edged sword of sampling culture and our modern online access and distribution.

Still, Gartner’s original has more than received the attention it deserves,  well beyond the Beatport community. Since the release of his 2011 LP, Weekend in America, he was nominated for a Grammy and four International Dance Music Awards. He’s also collaborated with superstars Deadmau5, Tiesto, Skrillex, and the Black Eyed Peas, and had his music featured in numerous video games and television shows.

Gartner’s a modern music success story powered by the fervent online fan communities, rising from Beatport to Billboard.

Screengrab via YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2017, 3:30 pm CST