Sep 2012
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EDM – the worst thing that has ever happened to electronic dance music?

“Who’d have thought three little letters could make dance music look so wanky?”, fellow blogger Clive from UK-based music blog Electronic Rumors asked on Twitter a few months ago. “What’s happened to dance music?”, Haezer asks his fans on Facebook. London music blog Too Many Sebastians recently declared the beginning of EDMageddon on Twitter.

In the meantime, Tiesto is still touring US universities for his Club Life College Invasion tour, Steve Aoki is still surfing underage crowds on an inflatable raft and David Guetta is still selling out every single show he plays. Skrillex and Avicii can still be heard blasting out of every kid’s iPod, the top ten tracks for electro house on Beatport still have cheesy trance vocals and synths in the breaks and Rihanna or Pitbull’s songs still sound like big-room club anthems. Madonna still keeps appearing at Avicii’s shows. Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia still thinks SHM are the new Beatles. And above all, Paris Hilton still thinks she’s a DJ now. What has electronic dance music become? Or is EDM just electronic dance music for douchebags?

After an entire summer spent traveling from one EDM festival to another, I obviously could go on for hours here, but let’s just forget about all that for a second and step back to take a closer look at this thing called EDM. A few years ago, EDM had been a collective term for all kinds of electronic dance music (rather than a genre on its own), ranging from techno over house to drum&bass, and all other kinds of music created on computers and synthesizers with the purpose of making people dance. Except for some new genres (like dubstep or moombahton) that have recently joined the family, EDM is still the catch-all term for electronic dance music. So what exactly has changed, and why are so many people (including me) so upset about it?

“EDM has become an entire generation’s pop music.”

If you ask someone what kind of music they enjoy and the answer is rock, you can go on asking which kinds of rock music, and you would probably get stoner rock, indie rock, hard rock or any other kind of music with guitars as an answer. If you ask today’s average EDM fan the same question, they will most probably have a hard time naming you three sub-genres of EDM they’re into. If you don’t believe me, go check the line-ups of dance events a few years ago: never before have artists such as Tiesto, John Dahlbäck, Richie Hawtin and Steve Aoki constantly shared stages, because each of them represented a different style (trance, house, techno, electro, etc.) back then, with completely different crowds. Today, it’s all just EDM. For a large number of (young) listeners (mainly in the US), EDM has become a new genre, it seems. A genre characterized by simple melodies that immediately get stuck in your head and catchy vocals that you can sing along to after the first listen (wait, isn’t that pretty much a definition of pop music?). Add a big drop with lots of bass, gritty synths and white noise to that, and you’ve got a pocket definition of 2012′s idea of EDM. I recently asked on Twitter “What has dance music become?”, and one answer I got was from Andrew of Harder Blogger Faster: “One word: predictable.” I couldn’t agree more with this, remembering Skrillex joking about one of his fans commenting “Nice song, but where’s the drop” after the prince of dubstep posted a video of Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker on Facebook.

How could it have come to this, though? For years now, electronic dance music has been growing bigger and bigger, finally making the jump from music made for clubs to receiving attention on mainstream radio – outside of clubs. This process was sort of kickstarted between 2006 and 2008 when some emerging artists managed to build a big hype and make electronic music “socially acceptable” for people who have never been into dance music before: somewhere between alternative rock (which was huge back then) and dance music, indie dance was born. Think of: Justice’s remix for Simian’s We Are Your Friends, the early days of The Hype Machine, blog house, Kitsuné, the Ed Banger generation, Crookers, MGMT’s Kids (Soulwax Remix). In fact though, this process has been going on for much longer, though: electronic music has always been drawing influences from other genres – think Bloody Beetroots collaborating with hardcore punk bands such as Refused. After this big hype back in 2006 – 2008 though, it started actually influencing other genres itself. For years now, electronic dance music has been influencing mainstream pop music – I don’t think I need to give examples for that.

Today however, the situation has changed. Electronic dance music is no longer influencing mainstream pop music. EDM has become mainstream pop music.

Underground music has been influencing mainstream music for as long as music exists, probably. When underground music actually becomes mainstream music, though, some problems arise: long-time members of the original scene will feel irritated with lots of new people suddenly claiming to be part of the movement when they obviously have no idea what this scene is really about. What better example than old-school house legend Mark Farina being removed from the decks in Vegas after the club received complaints from its bottle-service VIP crowd for “too much house music”? Or deadmau5 ranting about Madonna, and his “we all hit play” statement, and Boys Noize tweeting “if you see a dj that uses a mic and screams ‘put your hands up’ throw a banana at him”. Furthermore, artists who used to define and shape the scene for long years will start to “sell out” because of the big money that suddenly can be made when a genre blows up. These problems and others are of course typical side effects of a genre’s commercialization, and no EDM-specific phenomenon.

EDM in the USA – a booming industry.

With the hype exploding and still growing, EDM has evolved from an underground movement to a big target market for all kinds of enterprises, attracting the attention of big companies who started pouring lots of money into the scene, hosting bigger, louder, crazier festivals all over the world (think Holy Ship, Ultra, EDC, Tomorrowland etc.). “It’s just a marketing term to sell various genres of dance music to the US.”, Clive of Electronic Rumors once tweeted, and he’s totally right about that. With the massive marketing firepower of the entire event industry as a strong tailwind, EDM is getting bigger and bigger. In fact, the bigger it gets, the bigger it gets – a vicious circle.

Obviously what I’m talking about here is largely a US-based phenomenon. Of course it’s swapping over to Europe, but the real big hype hasn’t actually arrived yet (and I’m not sure if it ever will): even at European mainstream EDM festival like Tomorrowland you will meet more North and South Americans than Europeans combined. This is due to a strong, independent scene and a long tradition of electronic dance music in Europe: French house in, well, France, drum & bass and dubstep in the UK, techno and deep house in Berlin – just to name a few examples. There are lots of big artists in Europe who firmly stand against the EDM hype, who have always chosen quality electronic dance music over cheap music for the masses. I’m not going to do some namedropping here – if you’ve been following this blog for some time chances are that you already know who the good guys are. After being asked in an interview why Europe seems to be constantly ahead of the US when it comes to electronic dance music, techno legend Richie Hawtin explains that the club scene in Europe has not only a much longer tradition than it has in the States, but also complains about the mentality of the US scene: “I think music in America, and this emanates across the world, everybody wants to be a superstar. Everybody wants to actually cut themselves off from people. Everybody wants to be on a pedestal. [...] It’s a little bit disappointing how that’s happened in America. It’s really like the whole rock star, hip-hop mentality. You know, these unreachable people.”

Having said that, EDM’s poster boys are of course in no way inferior when it comes to producing and DJing (except for some of the obvious douchebags), in fact I have all the respect in the world for artists like David Guetta: every single piece of music this man touches immediately turns into solid earworm gold. Also, he’s French, so obviously I’m not just hating on the US music scene here, just to be clear about that too. The US music scene is clearly breaking new grounds with EDM at the moment, so obviously there are lots of people who are new to electronic dance music – and of course they can’t be expected to immediately know and appreciate the more elaborate and sophisticated facets of electronic music, as Hawtin explains: “If you just got into Calvin Harris or you just got into Afrojack, great. You’ve stepped through the door, but there’s so much more to learn.”

This is the end?

However, at some point in the near future the EDM hype will probably collapse, as new (or old) genres will eventually start replacing it again. I remember asking Olle of Dada Life in an interview I did with them back in 2009 if he thought that electronic dance music would ever become as popular as indie rock, and he answered: “It already is, in some ways. On a regular weekend more people are partying to house and electro than rock. They just don’t know what they’re hearing at the club. I don’t think that will change, but that’s fine!” Obviously it did change, so why shouldn’t it change again? Hopefully for the better, this time.

In my opinion, while quickly gaining lots of fans, electronic dance music has become less credible in the course of this big EDM hype. The (bigger part of the) underground clubbing scene (where it has been all about the music) has turned into a commercial hype focusing on festivals, fireworks and rockstar personality cult rather than on the music itself. It has become harder to spot the most interesting artists, and it has become harder for talented artists to reach an audience if their music is not big-room compatible. While introducing massive crowds to electronic music, this thing called EDM has been a major setback for electronic dance music, as it has changed the public’s perception of dance music to something that dance music never wanted to represent.

Having said that, the scene has always been sort of re-inventing itself – and the bigger EDM becomes, the more up and coming artists start rejecting the hunt for the hardest drop, slowly developing a fresh underground scene, where it’s all about the music again – for example the future techno movement. Facing the rapid commercialization of mainstream dance music, these small underground scenes are rapidly gaining fans who are fed up with the EDM hype. So let’s all just sit back and wait for this whole thing to repeat itself again in a few years. Eurodance, EDM – I wonder what they will call it the next time.

Comments appreciated.

Photo credits: Drew Ressler, rukes.com.

  • :P

    Not all EDM has that booming bass drop. There’s stuff like progressive house and drumstep(which kind of does) but dubstep is the one with all the toilet sounds I can’t stand. Glitch hop is “ok”

    • Snowmonster

      Then you must have recently learned of dubstep because dubstep wasn’t always like that

    • DMZ

      “but dubstep is the one with all the toilet sounds I can’t stand”

      spoken like a true ignorant

  • Scott Bod Rodwell

    I went to the Miami WMC this year and had an amazing time listening to the likes of the Kings of House (Mr Morales, Vega & Humphries) and spent a great day indulging in some soulful powerhouses headed by the wonderful Barbara Tucker. It was an incredible experience and amazing music. Then, on the day we left Miami, the Ultra festival kicked in. What a steaming pile of horse s**t. It was all over the radio for the next three/four days. It actually made me feel physically ill everytime I had the misfortune of catching a song by accident. They even dedicated a digital channel to play Ultra live. The only saving grace is that the “DJ’s” talked so much over the tracks (“Put your hands up” “Every muthf***a scream”) that it partially drowned out the “music”. It just sounds like a robot raping a cat to me. Frankie will be spinning in his grave. RIP the legend Frankie Knuckles

    • Jota

      Thats an excellent point a view. Finally someone talks about the names WMC or House (Music). Seems like they have disappeared just by magic ou so. Thank Gog EDM is actually a style nowadays and not “all of us” as Pete Tong said recently. And, as a style, it will eventually come down the stairs as time passes by. And people will go on with that. True House Music has absolutely nothing to do with EDM. A (new) track made by Copyright or David Penn is still an House Music tune for sure. But a track made by ROmero or Hardwell, you know.. it’s that same 3 or 4 years old EDM tune probably made win half an hour with 10 ou so samples. Respect for the “old?! guys” is a beautiful thing to have. But these new kids on the block seems like to have completly lost it. Shame on you when talking about House Music.

  • DR

    “EDM” was cool…until it infiltrated pop and hip-hop music (Thank you Usher and David Guetta). Now EVERYTHING is made in EDM because everyone wants that pot o’gold. Like Disco in the 70′s and Electronica in the 00′s, over-commercialization has cheapened the genre. The annoyance with most people is that this over-saturation of the market has cheapened music in general. Instruments are no longer in vogue. Even artists’ voices are made electronic (via autotune) to match the robotic nature of the music, which has been robbed of its soul. Commercial money churns this machine and invests endlessly in it because of it’s cheapness (you only need a laptop and a qualified basement nerd to work the controls) and mass appeal. Kids buy into the hype because it’s new for them, and they see their favorite artists singing on these tracks, and Mollie has become this generation’s Ecstasy and Cocaine. What changed the former scenes is that the music morphed into something different, which brought it back underground. EDM will inevitably do the same. History always repeats itself.

  • jasonbot

    I used to frequent electro parties at a place in Joburg called Town Hall (this was back in 2011). In 2012/13 I didn’t really go to the place anymore as my friend groups changed. I used to love it because of the underground feel, the crowd was unique and people enjoyed the music for what it was.

    Tonight I went to a party at a similar venue where a number of electronic artists (including Haezer) were playing. At first I felt as if the event didn’t have the same feel as in the past. When Haezer went on and I got into the middle of the crowd I realised that this whole EDM scourge culture had overtaken the venue- it was as if Jersey Shore had taken over the venue to shoot some new episodes.

    I guess this article explains why I felt the way I did. Sigh.

  • fuckpennyfinders .

    Its weird how asians in america always played some type of electronic back in the 90s, ironically it was the Viet gangsters thing back than..always shootings in them cafe shops

  • wcb123

    Crunk / trap did the same to hip hop. Sucks seeing these a holes naming themselves a part of the culture.

  • Luminol

    This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. Styles like techno or goa or d&b will never appeal to the masses without some pop star singing over the top of the track. I think what happened was that the music industry freaked out 5 or 6 years ago when they realized hip hop was growing stale. Rock couldn’t replace it and at the moment and country is not socially acceptable enough unless your from the southern U.S. let alone Europe, India or Japan. The music industry was looking into a future with huge financial losses without a new pop music and started desperately to try and find a replacement for hip hop. Synth pop 80′s music was this back then you had bass breaks like Sir mix alot and 2 live crew later, then Eurodance i.e. Robbins entertainment and now it’s Insert name of most hated producer here. Wala here we are today. Don’t worry though it never lasts more than about 5 years max. That may seem a long time if your 20 but if you really love electronic music you’ll still be here when your 40. Plus once the pop goes away you get really really good music. Think early to mid 90s house or mid to late 90s trance 98-02 progressive house MMM that stuff will never get old and it will come back again. For instance the first kind of music I got into was Goa. It disappeared at the turn of the century completely but since 2009 about 50 different Goa labels have popped up again for the first time in 15 years. The nails are already in the coffin of EDM pop. All we can do is help to hammer them down

  • Jaime Vqz

    so How do I call it then? or should I call it separately, I like deep house, Tech House, House, trance, Eurodance. if thats not Electronic Dance Music = EDM, then what is it? how do I call it?

    • DaVolf

      thank you.

    • No6655321

      Yes, call it tech house, trance, eurodance, acid, jungle.

      You don’t say, I’m going to a music concert you’re going to a rock concert or folk or country or rap, etc. You go to listen to techno, hardcore, drum and bass, etc. not EDM.

    • David

      it used to be “electronic music”

  • Flower Child

    EDM is beautiful. You’re definitely entitled to your own opinion but no one at EDC/UMF/TOMORROWLAND/any insomiac event or edm festival will miss you anyway, at least not with that attitude :) Don’t let the door hit you on your way out

    • Clint

      What is beautiful about everyone being about money and no one caring about the music? The beauty is hollow my friend… The scene was beautiful before it became saturated by future soccer moms and people that would have preferred NSYNC in the 90s over rage against the machine. There is beauty in people having fun and good vibes but not at the expense of everyone’s intelligence and knowledge of the music itself.

      • thankmelater

        EDM is the pop of Electronic music, basically invented by the media as a way to market everything popular electronic and turn it into a mone making machine…..

        at the moment it is embracing the new music breaking through to the larger audiences which is where EDM is living in order to stay relevant.. it doesnt really matter what EDM is, the media doesnt care that this is drum and bass and this is trance, they only care to maximize profits and go straight to the poin

      • Po

        Will anyone stop fucking judging EDM as a whole based on mainstream songs. Just look a little deeper into indie and you will find amazing producers. Noone seems to hear the good fucking part of it

  • Snowmonster

    I don’t agree with you when you say Dubstep just recently joined the scene. Dubstep has been around for a while and feel victim to the same commercialization we see here

    • Frankimus

      “Dubstep” has been around a very long time…in one form or another. Remember UK garage? Golden.

  • Phéna Proxima

    I looooove electronic dance music. Been into it since 2000, starting with trance, and steadily exploring and learning about other corners of the electronic music world. There’s always something else to discover, and always so much wonderful music out there. Which is why I hate this fucking EDM shit and find it incredibly depressing. It’s soulless, cheap, flashy, and utterly homogenized. To me, the emergence of EDM is like having a wonderful girlfriend of many years who decides, for no very good reason, to become a trashy, retarded skank. I take solace in two things; first, that there’s still and always will be fantastic and inventive electronic music, even if it’s underground (maybe rightfully so), and second, like a bad dream, this bullshit will eventually stop.

    • Backslap_Bob

      I listen to second wave Detroit Techno and I think trance is the same sort of soulless rubbish you describe of EDM.

  • MainstreamEDMSucks

    You all havent heard the good part of EDM. All these stupid mainstream producers dont deserve any fame. There are so many good indie EDM producers who put a lot of work in their tracks. They should be praised like the shitty Steve and others

    • August brooks

      Steve aoki is barely tolerable, steve angello is insufferable. Who are you referencing?

    • http://www.noansw.er Exceptionell

      You mean indie electronica? EDM is just a shitty term that record companies coined around 2008 when they reintroduced electronica in the US.

  • Damon Adrian

    i can’t believe downtempo isn’t edm. Downtempo is the best genre of elecronic

    • dpsttmpst

      Electronic music was never about boundaries such as what is dancy or not. I say EDM is a pointless umbrella term like electronica, because there are some styles of techno, house, trance, breakbeat, and jungle that are downtempo/ambient influenced. This alone defeats the music presses’ purpose of the radio-format “EDM” term.

    • David

      I like it. Tough to call any specific genre “the best” :)

  • dpsttmpst

    EDM has unfairly but truly become a bad word associated with anything that is electro house, brostep, drumstep (brostep, again :P), regressive house (its not progressive at all :P), and similar music. Kids want the filthiest bass and biggest drops, but nothing else. The same cheap gimmicks found in Billboard Top Chart radio music. At the end of the day, what they are calling “EDM” is actually electropop.

    If electronic music such as Goa trance and progressive psytrance got a little more love nowadays, the big festivals would still have their variety and integrity just as they did back in the late 1990s & early 2000s. I wanted to be part of that that era of driving, deeper, atmospheric vibes, but I was too young to participate in it. I am a grown adult now, but I am NOT compelled to participate in today’s big name festivals because they don’t play the good stuff anymore. Just gimmicky rubbish equivalent to Kidz Bop. Psytrance festival have my eye now, but they are far few in the States compared to Europe’s vibrant psytrance scenes.

    • Tyrell Lamb

      One thing you can also mention now that’s recently on the rise up is Trap. I like a bit of Trap but am not afraid to admit it is a disgrace to electronic music. You’re right. The scene is going backwards, with sellouts like Avicci making the big money while the true talent lies under the pile of garbage.

      • dpsttmpst

        Trap music actually has been around for quite some time since the early 2000s as part of Dirty South hip hop (such as crunk and bounce), as it was never considered part of the electronic music scene nor developed with it. The only reason it has recently been associated with electronic music is all thanks to the infusion of brostep and electro-house influences in trap music in the early 2010s.

        I feel that electro-house, big room music, brostep, and trap are not the best representatives of electronic music. No one ever talks about music such as Goa trance, psybient, or progressive psytrance at festivals such as Tomorrowland and Ultra Music Festival.

        • Tyrell Lamb

          Yes this is the problem. Commercialized electronic music in general, labelled as ‘EDM’, ruins it for all electronic music. The public’s perception of it is ruined.

          No one ever talks about experimental genres such as Ambience or Chill-Out either.

          When you ask talk to the average person about Electronic Music what comes to mind? “Dubstep takes no talent, electro house is plastic and repetitive garbage, etc.” That’s all that comes to their mind. Dubstep, Trap, House, etc.

    • Paul Meza

      this comment cracked me up, lol @ “Regressive house,” I can’t stop laughing at that comment, lol!

      • dpsttmpst

        Don’t get me wrong, deep quality grooves of progressive house still do exist in its second wave incarnation (late ’90s-early ’00s)…but there are only a small handful of musicians doing it.

        The stuff that Beatport markets as “progressive house” is that regressive house I said about…actually electro house to be exact. Beatport does a major disservice to electronic music as a whole with their poor categorization, and they are supposed to be a top marketplace. They don’t even do FLAC files.

  • Oscar

    I live in Cologne, Germany and when I was like 14 I really liked dj antoine and other edm crap but then I found out about the citys great techno/house scene and ever since I’ve seen great artists like rødhåd and ben klock on a regular basis. I feel priviliged cause every weekend I have the choice between different brilliant djs. I cant image moving to the states because nowhere there is a scene like in germany. we go partying in order to dance and not to get wasted and hit on chicks! Thats the spirit. no need to dress up. and by the way, its not only berlin!

  • hate edm

    I HATE EDM!!! ALWAYS HAVE ALWAYS WILL, DIE DANCE MUSIC DIE!!! Music has really gine to shit ever since people have started to worship some scrawny stupid talentless whore wearing a retarded oversized mouse helmet, EDM has always been repetitive, too fucken tedious

    • FU


      • hate edm

        I’d rather burn myself alive than listen to edm, I cum on edm XD

  • really hate edm

    Pick up a fucken guitar and play something pleasant for the ears instead.

    • FU


      • hate edm

        That would still be more pleasurable than listening to edm

  • Katy

    Thanks for this article. I am new to electronic music myself (and I’m from the US) so I really don’t know anything about it, but this article has enlightened me and inspired me to learn much more about this music.

    • FU


  • Thatguy

    Your right, because other music genres aren’t silly like EDM. I’ll take my bass, alcohol and dancing; over country talking about trucks, god and beer.

  • Thatguy


  • Chad Allen

    Why work so hard to put everything into a category. Wankers or not, I think they have the right idea. stop trying to put all the ducks in line!!

  • Ho Ho Ho

    EDM is bullshit. Typical America corporations trying to sell shit to the masses. People who say ‘music changes’. Gtfoh. Yeah it changes but the people who make the music should change it not some corporations and sell out artists. What the true House, Techno, Trance, Drum & Bass ect. fans want is for the music to progress on a natural path. Everybody saw what became of Rap music once the industry got a hold of it, and fans of Electronic Music genres don’t want a similar fate. But of course the pop music followers don’t care. Festivals are complete wastes of time, ones that were considered underground are now barely any better than Glastonbury. In the UK, you got underground clubs that are for specific genres. True fans come there, no pop music follower. Even the more mainstream Electronic Dance clubs have specific nights where a certain genre will play to attract underground followers of Electronic Dance Music. Then there is raves. I’m still a teenager, so I hit raves. Lot pf people there not only for drugs but to dance and here music that majority of teenagers there age ain’t into. So you got hardcore underground fans there. But these mainstream songs that reach top 10 in the overall UK charts are not really House Music but you have retards who have never used or heard of Beatport and Traxsource telling me otherwise. That’s what kills the genres and some of these clowns are trying infiltrate raves.

    • FU


  • mec

    being gay, i remember going to gay clubs where they mixed every pop songs from any genre with the exact same house beats. it got so bad that the only difference between songs were the lyrics. i have to say i hated that scene and i only tolerated the gay bars for the potential of meeting a hottie. since then i’ve been far removed from edm till recently when a member in my gay volleyball team started playing music from his ipod. it was the same shit i used to hear back in the late 90s early 2000 except this weren’t remixes, they were the original products. i had no idea pop music had descended so low and it’s all thanks to EDM.

    i quit the volley team that day.

  • boo

    the level of ignorance with regards electronic music in general is rife here, sad state of affairs really – and a lot is due to this EDM product …

  • Marc

    I’m 20, few years ago I discovered trance music (ASOT, armada music). I listened to this music aproximately 5 months, then I decided to search the origins of trance music.

    When I listened early-middle 90s trance/Hard trance music I thought that ASOT and armada were a liars , nowadays trance music is disrespectful to the 90s trance producers like Pete Namlock, Torsten Fenslau who created tracks full of creativity,feeling and soul.

    The main difference between nowadays trance music and early 90s trance (which we can apply to others elelectronic genres) is that in the 90s freedom of creative expression is valued over commercial success;the electronic genres (in general) are suffering a progressive dead,aren’t suffering an evolution as the “producers” say .

    In conclusion EDM is a virus that captive kids who think that music they listen to is very good,they don’t know where is the good stuff. To value nowadays electronic music we have to compare it with other periods but a lot of kids don’t do this ( they are hypnotized by the marketing of their idols).

    Greetings from Spain and congratulations for your article.

    • dpsttmpst

      You are walking the same journey I took in the 2000s. I too have grown to like the experimental natures of 1990s classic trance and oldschool progressive house. Today’s incarnations have abandoned that mysterious experimentalism for commercial formula instead.


    If you dont like it. Then just dont listen to it :/ no need to shit talk some peoples taste in music. Everyone who is shit talking edm is probably old. Go on listening to your rock and country and shut up

    • Its worthless, accept it

      the only people who get butthurt when faced with the facts, are the ones who are insecure and know its true.

  • Its worthless, accept it.

    There are legitimate reasons as to why EDM is not respected. Its a product made purely for profit, it is made using formula’s based on what has sold well in the past, hence every track having the same arrangement, the same cliche build and drop, the same abrasive super saw synth sounds. In order to reach mass appeal, mainstream “artists” need to take a one-size-fits-all approach, meaning they don’t take risks, they stick to what they know will sell, this is what inevitably leads to the mediocrity we see in the mainstream music industry. If you aren’t capable of recognizing this, it simply means you have been brain washed and are unable to appreciate the difference between a shiny plastic product vs a genuine artist making a genuine artistic expression.

    • just another ‘edm’ producer

      There is a lot more going on then just saw waves buddy. Trust me, I have been producing electronic dance music for almost 18 years, I am 30 now. Its the same as it ever was, the music is just different now, get over it. Beyond the music, this scene was and will always be about peace, openness, togetherness exploration, evolution and expanding ones mind to name a few things. If you have to continue living in the 80′s then do so and dont fuck with the now. Dont superimpose any left over predispositions about what is real art and what is a farse because its not easy to make good music regardless of what type it is and if it gets released professionally the the artist in question obviously did a good job because an entire group of A&R executives liked what they heard and poured a lot of money into that artists dreams. Dont Hate what you dont understand.. thats the moment that you get old.

      • dpsttmpst

        The problem isn’t the times, it is the representation. The big names only want a market of electro house, brostep, and trap as the only best that electronic music has to offer. The underground world of electronic music is constantly eclipsed by this. Also, a lot of mainstream producers have a great fetish for 1980s pop and won’t do something fresh.

        I am an electronic music listener…and I am very tired of drops, loud volume, and trite gimmicks as the sole representative emotion of electronic music. I want fresh music, that is all.

    • Darryl DjSoulless Mead

      @just another edm producer. Afuckingmen I couldn’t have said it better myself

    • veridia

      Yep, all these supersaw leads are produced by people who are completely soulless and have no love for the music they are creating. They just do it for money.

      Ok, sarcasm aside. Could you imagine DJ Hardwell if he did what he did solely for the money and actually hated what he was doing? What kind of person could live like that? Enduring hour long sets of music he cant stand at deafening volume just so he could be popular. Its time to face the truth, these people actually love what they are doing and do it for more than just money.

      That said, It’s easy to criticize art if you make the classic dodge of just
      criticizing the artistic intent without actually criticizing the art

  • http://www.facebook.com/kilmamusic Kilma Music

    I find this article is quite lengthy and comes across pretty negative. How about we shift that to educating the noobies instead of hating on them. We have the power and knowledge to teach people but we can’t shove our opinions down their throat and expect a positive responce. http://bit.ly/VeoJCi

    • Xen

      Maybe the noobs could actually PAY ATTENTION to the damn veteras. the way I see it they couldnt give a FUCK what it was like before them. I personally have tried to make a difference with this issue, all I get is shitty teenagers who say “you are old, get out of our way” (IM 26 for fucks sake!)

      • http://www.facebook.com/kilmamusic Kilma Music

        In ten years they will be the same old jaded vets if they “follow” the old vets thought process. I mean there is something to learn from both the new comers and experienced. Sometimes I think people jump so quickly into “battle mode” they forget that it’s about not only educating these newer artists but being open to learn something ourselves. These quick attack that some vet make come off as insecure instead of helpful. If people want to be respected they can’t attack these kids.

      • Dan Toose

        “Maybe the noobs could actually PAY ATTENTION to the damn veteras.”

        As a veteran (I’m 40, and DJ’d back in the 90s and 2000s at clubs and festivals) and a teacher (professionally), I have to say your attitude of entitlement to being paid attention to sucks hard, and it’s no wonder the teenagers are telling you to get out of the way.

        If you want to influence people – BE IMPRESSIVE! Actually do something that demonstrates to them that you’re worth respecting, and that you have something worth listening to.

        What are you doing to influence these teens to help them experience something better? Unless it’s positive and pro-active, you’re probably just giving them a bad association with ‘the scene that was before’.

        The whole thing that made the underground movement in the past so freaking cool was that there was none of this separatist BS with folks getting high and mighty about their ‘veteran’ status. The ‘veterans’ were very accepting to me and everyone else I saw arriving – They shared stuff with me rather than give me a lecture for not being into these things already.

  • my theory is..

    I guess EDM and rave parties are all about partying involved with drugs. EDM listeners don’t JUST listen to EDM, even they do with earphones on their ears, they normally draw a party going around their head. Plus the fact that the pop(ular) music of its generation or era mirrors the soul and background of the people who lived in that moment, I think so called EDM shows how our society is going around now. Young people these days are already numb and emotionless to the risk and worries, since they have grown up in so many ‘risks’ such as environmental issues, short of resources(like oil, water, rare metals etc.), health risks, upcoming depression right in the US economy. (yep, US economy does matters, since you guys all know that ‘commercialized EDM’ started from US. See?)
    So young generation these days are already exposed to these media-involved risks, which already is a big cause of bunch of anxiety patients, they shows more avoidant behavior patterns than the older ones used to when they were young.
    And since avoidant personalities built up in younger generations, they easily get caught into drugs and parties, which both shows mind-blowing and worry-free characteristics. And this caused the EDM to spread.
    Some of you would might think;”hey.. in 60′s there were lots of hippies from war threats with commies. But why are the young generation NOW aren’t doing same?” Well, the generation is different! Also, ‘the problem’ is different. In 60s, there are just ‘war or peace’. But in these days, it’s not just that simple. The economy back at then was much more softer than these days. Look how people rate Obama. They say exact things what they are worried about; It’s already so hard to explain this complicated shit to you! There’s just too many of them.
    Also, younger generation’s exposure to the electronic sounds and ‘futuristic’ environment makes them more familiar, rather than feeling awkward and hull as older generation would might feel. You can save your thanks to Steve Jobs for later since this will get worse every fucking moment.
    There are several more minor reason that younger generation these days were ‘brainwashed’ by EDM. They might picture themselves as the ye old underground electronic dance scene listeners, which might look cool for kids to admire. Or they might just want the right music for their drugs.

    Whatever it is, my conclusion to this whole big shit theory is that our society definitely is causing this. I suggest you to look around. What makes you anxious? And what would possibly make THEM, the young generations nowdays anxious? over-complication of this society is causing young generations to admire ‘bad’ things; they think they’re doing ‘bad’ things, which makes them to feel free from pressures of being decent human being in their daily life. The adverse behavior from their normal life makes them happy. I find it very sad.
    Thanks for reading or not. Whatever.

    • my theory is..

      btw you’re free to reply, but I won’t read it ’cause It’s just my theory and I myself also think this sounds kinda bullshit. I’m just trying to focus on the need of listeners. FYI, I’m not on drugs.

      • John

        Touche my friend. I never thought of it like this before but it makes a lot of sense.

  • Darryl DjSoulless Mead

    Edm is still the name for collective electronically produced dance music. The problem isn’t the music. It’s the commercialization that makes it intriguing to people who would’ve never went to this type of festival before. People see the market for mass profit and capitalize on it. This is pretty much the same path that almost every successful genre unfortunately takes. Rock was underground, taboo, and forbidden in its inception. It was looked down upon just how everyone used to look down on edm and raving. Once it starts to gain popularity the scene changes though. More and more people flock to it, because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Music is music. Plain and simple. It evolves and changes and new genres are always being invented. You can’t change that. People who deny the evolution of music probably also deny the evolution b of man because the concept itself is too much for their poor little brains to comprehend. If music didn’t change we’d still be listening to tribal sounds with drums and such. Music will forever evolve as long as we populate the earth. It’s the perception around the music that changes. So now that people are making it a commercial business, edm is attracting more and more people who have no fucking clue what raving is about or how it started and have no idea who they are listening to on stage. It’s become too lucrative of a business. Once a new fad comes out and these douchebags find something else that’s even cooler than festivals, the hype will dye out and hopefully we will get our scene back.

    • JimmyRushmore

      No it’s not; only Americans use the term “EDM” to refer to everything from house to techno to drum and bass. In most other parts of the world it refers specifically to the commercialised US festival house sound. You’ll never see EDM on a flyer in the UK, you’d see House, Techno, Garage or any number of specific genres instead.

      • Darryl DjSoulless Mead

        Huh, that’s funny. Because I know people from Australia and the UK that still refer to it as Edm

        • JimmyRushmore

          I’m from the UK and have been a DJ for ten years; and let me assure you, the only time the word “EDM” is used is when it specifically referring to the big room stuff. In fact no-one in the UK even used the term EDM at all until recently – the catch all term was just “dance music”.

      • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

        wow that’s a hell of a claim especially when you factor how ENGLAND is who has commercialized electronic music and continues to spit out tons of bullshit pop artists who are all calling themselves EDM artists! you must be young

        • JimmyRushmore

          Are you retarded? No-one over here uses the term EDM. NO-ONE.

      • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

        anytime of the day week or year you wanna compare billboard charts you’ll be able to see right off the bat what country pumps bullshit. fuckin stevie wonder could see it clear as day

  • Julio Cerda

    I totally agree with you in that this EDM getting cheesy thing really comes from the evolution of a genere. But i really think EDM it’s a social phenomena more related to the natural evolution of the party business, which mechanism descrives as a collective, positive, exciting and at the same time relaxed situation, achieved by the facilitation of substances by the party provider, in order to stimulate katarcis.

    We must never forget that all kinds of house music started form club party, and have been stimulated to perform and grow by sustaining the dj’s economic life project, forcing those who are less prefered to have smaller booking chances, and perform for reduced or selected audiences.

  • chris

    I can’t say I hate what the scene has become, I am a huge trance head but big room stuff can be pretty fun to jam too at a rave. It’s just a natural part of evolution. The blues guys were probably pissed when jazz became popular and so it continues. In time early house, electro, ect will be dead and gone to everyone but the hard core fans… But just as you can still go to quieter, less heard of places to hear jazz I’m sure that type of space will exist for techno and early house.

    Also using the term EDM is a great way to find out who actually likes the same genre of music you do while not excluding those either new to the genre or uninterested altogether. When you say “I listen to EDM” and the guy/girl your talking to asks “ok… what kind?” You know you have a keeper ;)

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  • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

    thank you for writing this article!!! I feel like such a hater when I think about what has become of the “underground” electronic scene. I really appreciate reading someone else’s opinion on this topic since the newbies have destroyed a part of my soul. This scene used to mean something, there used to be a entire culture behind this ya know the whole PLUR thing!

  • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

    speaking as a club owner and veteran of event production (89 1500+ to date) I am confident saying that all the kids that jumped in purely for the business side of things is what destroyed our scene. Gone is the day kids just pool their resources and put on a show just to jam out and enjoy the music.

  • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

    I really REALLY miss the days when no matter where in the world you were if you heard some one bumpin that old 4 on the floor pattern you knew a friend was close by. Or you were about to make a new one. Now a days I can go to a show and not have one person just strike up a conversation. where did the love go?

  • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

    Its just sad that the newbies will never know what this movement was supposed to have been about. I see these kids running around suckin on their face fist pumpin some god awful cheesy 80′s videogame synths thinkin theyre about something. It just sucks that’s all. All that’s left is concerts featuring electronic “music”. no scene

  • http://www.brokenfaders.com tech-one

    on the flip I’m crazy thankful for what I got to experience! shit changed my life for sure!

  • Original raver

    Original Raver – Just read your post, I have enjoyed “Dance music” ever since i went to my 1st rave back in the 80,s. This was in the early days of illegal raves, where you tuned into a pirate station, and then played cat & mouse with the law until you finally got to the rave, My favourite memory is legendary, it made the national news, about 10,000 of us got hemmed in by the law on the M25, we were sat on the motorway close to a bridge going over the motorway, A massive articulated curtain sider lorry pulled up, pulled the curtain back and to reveal the biggest mother of a sound system and proceeded to get the party started, We Partied until sunrise. I have enjoyed partying ever since, I still try to go at least a few times a year, – i have noticed the evolution of the whole scene, and know exactly where you are coming from. I was in ibiza this year and it was Mayhem,
    over commercialised, full of piss heads who don,t have a clue how to behave and enjoy the music, i even got called Grand Dad by some lippy little bunch of girls, who obviously have never heard of “Respect, i wouldn,t mind, but actually i am not a grand dad as much as i look forward to being one one day. the whole vibe has changed, there was a time when everyone was there for the music.

  • Original raver

    By the way that picture that has come up next to my comment is not me, i don,t know where the fuck that came from, it just appeared when i posted the comment, ha,ha, looks a bit YMCA to me

  • Honesty First

    It doesn’t make any difference to music. Genres are for
    idiots. The best songs & artists shall continue to define music, whilst
    these midi-kids shall dance their lives away to generic forgettable crap that
    shall be forgotten just like Jungle is today.

  • Paul Meza

    I got into eurodance music with the emergence of “Classic Eurodance” in 1992 until 1997 when it pretty much officially died, but then came Progressive house – oh glorious Progressive house! Then came Trance, once again very cool, and fresh. Then came Hands up, which was very experimental again….so then we came to today’s music. I enjoy electro-house, but don’t get me wrong, it feels regressive. It has been around for years now, and it hasn’t changed the way other genres changed overtime – that’s scary. The reason I find it scary is because it has managed to stay on top unlike other past genres (though Classic Euro ruled the world for 6 years) because of these djs who play atrocious sets.

    I was hoping that drum & bass or psytrance, or goa or classic euro or something would’ve came back by now and replaced electro….but there is no sign of it being replaced, why? again, big time corporations and djs supporting it and keeping it the same, with no intention of seeing it progress or EVOLVE.

    Instead of evolving, EDM is in a devolution state, wtf?!?

    One example of Classic eurodance evolving: 1995 was its peak, by 1996 it merge with progressive and trance elements, and eventually it died, which is normal. This is not happening with electro…the same way it was made 5-6 years ago is being made today, lol.

    • dpsttmpst

      The underground is where the evolution of electronic music is taking place, but it is “off the grid”. Goa trance and psytrance never disappeared and continued develop long after the 1990s. Progressive psytrance, a variant of psytrance born in the early 2000s, is a melting pot of influence from 1990s progressive house/trance, minimal techno, and earlier tech house. Psybient has had continued development since the last decade and hasn’t slowed down. The only downside to the underground is that there is less variety of outdoor festivals to go to, especially in North America where it is continuously dominated by the commercial festivals/concerts.

      You know, I have grown disgusted with using “D” between “E” and “M”, because not everything in electronic music is about dancing. It is about breathing and feeling the listening experience. Drop the D out of EDM, what is left is just electronic music.

      • ararar2

        it’s only in English that the D is present.

        In other languages that I know you just say electronic music, and that can include public bathroom music too of course but most people don’t think about it like that.
        Most people don’t call it that way though,. They call it house if it’s house etc.

        • dpsttmpst

          I used the saying figuratively, not literally. What I meant is when some people only see electronic music as “boom-boom-boom” or “ump-ump-ump” music, and nothing else. Remember in the past, when some people used to erroneously refer to nearly all forms of electronic music as just “techno”?

          • ararar2

            oh I know people who still do that :P

          • dpsttmpst

            LOL, most definitely! They are the same kind of people who cannot tell the difference between country music and heavy metal. Hearing problems, I guess?

          • ararar2

            My impression is that it’s people who grew to like whatever music was popular when they were young (jazz, which must have been pretty edgy at some point in history too!), and then they stopped caring about it and just listened to random background pop on the radio when in the car, but mostly nothing, except maybe classical music and stuff.

            They don’t like anything that came later and thus don’t know anything about it either.

            Electronic music is in a particularly bad position when it comes to this because it’s an acquired taste. Metal too, it’s just “noise”. I like both.

    • Felix Kaspar

      Yeah, no… Eurodance and Trance aren’t very cool… but that aside, what do you mean by “Electro”? That is the same stupid terminology like EDM. Electro is a subgenre of electronical music e.g. Afrika Bambaataa, Cybotron etc. It seems that you are really uninformed.

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  • Levi Matson

    I consider EDM to be onky a tiny fraction of electronic music / electronics. I the mid to late 80s “dance music” started to gain more popularity with artists like Erasure (arguably synthpop), and more mainstream artists like Kylie Min

  • Levi Matson

    EDM is only a tiny fraction of electronic music / electronica, and I consider EDM to be ONE SPECIFIC STYLE of electronic music. After the general introduction of electronic music to the masses in the 70′s with “disco”, in the late 80′s “dance music” finally started to pick up some traction with artists such as Erasure, New Order, Human League & Pet Shop Boys (some are arguably synthpop), and more mainstream artists like Kylie Minogue. Then around the mid 90′s a spin-off of dance music known as Eurodance emerged. Both Eurodance and and dance music thrived, although having their high/low periods of popularity until the mid 2000′s, when the term “EDM” was created. One point I agree with on the author of this article is how EDM these days is being made with a predictable forumula: the 128BPM, the repetitive vocals, the “drop”, etc. and after the (counterproductive) term EDM was created, along with it came the ANNOYING introduction of the grunge-gock-like distorted male vocals and the more-so annoying introduction of a dubstep-like synth mixed in with EDM… so oh boy now they’ve overcommercialised [ruined perhaps] some of this stuff so that it will also appeal to both rock junkies and pop-music fans by borrowing some of those elements.

    • Malik DrumFunk Martin

      But Electronic Music and Electronica are two different things. At least they were 15 years ago…

      • Levi Matson

        As I recall, the name “electronica” was created in about 1995 by U.S. media companies so they could have a better way to categorise this all encompassing genre in their magazines, stores, etc. and that “electronic music” is just the newer 2000′s term that was probably made popular by people who didn’t know the real word to describe this umbrella category of music. So “electronica” is a synonym for “electronic music” with myriads of styles under it such as D&B, EDM, IDM, EBM, drone, ambient, etc. Or were you meaning to say that “electronica” refers only mostly to the big beat & breakbeat genres it was mostly known for in the mid/late 90′s such as Prodigy, Sneaker Pimps and Chemical brothers?

  • Dominique de Graaff

    Today’s Big Room music for me is just like listening to the typical European ambulance sounds. I really liked the Progressive House Genre. And i mean the melodic uplifting type of Progressive House. Big Room producers abused the popular Progressive Genre and polluted the Progressive House Databases of shops. Since a year or two, its nearly impossible to find good Progressive House tracks without stumble upon another European Ambulance Track. Because that’s how i call it: White noise with alarming out of sync sounding oscillators made up of false notes that buildup to a never coming climax. Oh ugh i hate it so much. It makes me think of military bunkers full of panicking brainless trigger happy shooting idiots surrounded by screaming alarms with rotating orange flash lights for infinity.

    It attracts (sorry, really sorry..) dumb people that ‘follow orders without thinking’. Its just like a fashion.. no matter how ugly it is.. people will identify themselves with it as long the media is pushing it.

    No, i’m very selective. There are Progressive House tracks i do not like because of repetition. But there are .. godly tracks i do like. Just like in Trance.. and even classical music. But i never ever have found any ‘godlike’ production in the ‘dumbed down’ “big room” genre of today.

    Needless to say: Just look around you.. how insane has our world become. The music is just a reflection of that. Take a look at Milay Cyrus for example.. that cute adorable Disney girl.. in just a couple of years transformed into satans whore. Sorry for the bad language, but there was no proper way saying it.

    Fortunately there are however children of the current generation (sparse..) that told me: “i hate the music of today, your generation of music was much better..!” And i’m born in mid 80′s, so i grew up with Eurodance and happy hardcore here in the Netherlands. I really hope Big Room will die out fast because it destroyed my entrance (beatport is polluted!) to find real progressive and uplifting music.

    There IS beautiful music out there. Even today! But that kind of music is not getting the attention it deserves. The music industry is being controlled by the same who control the ‘news’ sort of speak. With expressing my believe i just want to clarify that i’m not religious person; I don’t know what it is but something EVIL is pushing an agenda upon us.

    • dpsttmpst

      Big room house was born when electro house house guys polluted progressive house (around mid-late 2000s). Progressive house used to have serious grooves and rhythm, but was thrown on the backburner. Trance too, mainly the non-psychedelic kind, got hit with the electro house bomb. There are still a few progressive house artists with the character of Circulation (Matt Jackson & Paul Davis), but ambulance sirens and jackhammer noises are more appealing to the kiddies.

      Never give up on the emotion you love out of the kinds of electronic music you like, even if it is in a different genre.

  • hohol

    Hi,I agree European or not dance music is mainstreamed and finances of it unfortunately rule.