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

UPDATE: as there are remarks in the comments on how this post missed to cover recent developments: please note that this article has been written in 2012!

“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.

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  • marvis

    You are giving a good overview on what is happening right now, but some of what you are saying sounds a little too pessimistic for me.

    As bloggers and DJs, we have been preaching how great electronic dance music is for years. If that message now reaches a very wide audience, then that is great! Of course, I do see the side-effects that you are mentioning: I am also not a big fan of commercialized electronic dance pop, but I find this relatively easy to ignore. With more and more music being released and more edm parties happening, there is just so much choice that it’s no problem to find venues with good music of almost every kind. I have been listening to and collecting electronic music of various styles for almost 20 years, and I have to say that it has never been easier for me to find good music – both on the internet and in clubs.

    I also have to be honest and say that I got in touch with edm through commercial acts like Scooter – they started to become popular when I was a teenager. I didn’t listen to that kind of music for very long, but I wouldn’t have gotten in touch with edm without the commercial acts – or at least, it would have taken me much longer to discover it. I guess this is also true for many others.

    As an event promoter, I have to add that it actually gets easier to promote events when there is more than just one party where a particular style is played. I do small underground events, but it helps when there are bigger promoters with deeper pockets promoting a particular style – alone, I could never raise the level of awareness that they can. I assume this works in similar ways in other places.

    I think instead of complaining, we should just ignore the music we don’t like and promote what we love.

    • DiscoDemons

      Thanks for your comment!

      True, the commercialization of electronic dance music has good effects too (as I already said in the main article). True, it introduces new audiences to electronic music (also mentioned in the article). My main problem with what’s going on at the moment is that this EDM hype gives people a wrong idea of dance (house, techno, etc.) music, and what it is really about. What people are calling EDM at the moment is in fact mainly pop music.

      Also, I don’t find it so easy to ignore, as I find myself confronted with it on a daily basis. However, I’m with you about promoting what we love – that’s why I’m still running this blog after all these years. :)


  • http://www.facebook.com/lukas.muerwald Lukas Mürwald

    The Wrong Kid Died!!!

  • Paul

    I don’t want to be racist or anything but one word that fucked it all up: America. ok there was always electronic dance music in America but it was still underground and everybody liked rock, metal and pop more so it never became populair.. you americans said it was gay and stupid for years even Eminem did.. (nobody listens to techno) here in Europe its kinda the only thing for us we grow up with it and if we go out its always to clubs (discotheek) the problem is that you americans see something and all you think of is how can we make as much money of this as possible.. it makes me sick :) but we here in Europe will always be making new stuff that is ours and then we can have fun with it for a couple of years untill u americans find out about it and rape the shit out of it.

    • DiscoDemons

      As the author of the original article I’m explicitly distancing myself from the opinions in this comment.

      • Guest

        incredibly unfair statement. You lost me at “you americans”. Thats one good way to sound prejudice.

    • A different paul

      This is an utterly facile comment. Detroit, Chicago, the birthplaces of music that has led us to where we are today. I believe they’re in America. I’m British, not American, but without America & its influence, things might not have got started in the first place!

      • dj rawcut

        amen A Different Paul!

  • Tommy

    Um. America is not a race.

  • Lowpass

    A big part of why dance music finally caught on in America is the American music business fell apart when people stopped buying CDs. There isn’t the money to record or tour (like on a bus, with roadies and gear) traditional bands anymore. Producer/DJs on the other hand are cheap and travel light. There’s no going backward there. I’m against elitist music snobbery anyway; that’s the route to something even worse than EDM culture, IDM culture (barf).

  • renfrew

    great article. spot on.

  • neyus

    It made me wonder if all this was just a coincidence or just a perfect timing. Before Skrillex became big, mainstream music back then slowly shifted into the “dance” scene and there were a few big artist that made it acceptable. I would think that Lady Gaga probably has opened the doors to the many seeing that most of her songs did not only sounded pop but certainly had dance element to it. Then Skrillex remixed her stuff, which was well received and I’m pretty sure from there on his fans just got glued into the whole dance vibe which eventually opened “MORE” doors to any other artist that might want to jump in.

    Not saying Skrillex started it all btw He is one of them I believe though. Just trying to go back in time and figure out what was the FIRST spark that has made what “EDM” is today.

    I agree with your article more specifically on the fact that, EDM not only has become its own genre, but has turned into whats “pop” today. It is also sad that there are a lot of young people out there today that will use the term “EDM” to define every sub genres of electronic music.

    As a musician I wanted to jump into the “EDM” scene but I’ve noticed people are making “predictable” “EDM” tracks now a days which I’m trying to avoid. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my own sound that doesnt necessarily sound like the rest. Thanks for this article!!

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  • Loudat

    The Americans love to rebrand stuff and sell it back to stupid people. Remember Kentucky Friend Chicken ? KFC…… it’s not a massve leap of faith to see where EDM came from. Same tasteless, greasy shit being pumped into the heads of societies bottom-feeders.

  • Luks

    what’s the new thing about ‘future techno’ ? 😮

  • josephnights

    As a kid growing up in the US I was always envious of how other countries embraced dance music. For them it seemed like no big deal – just another style of pop.

    Seeing it becoming part of the mainstream in America is actually really fun for me. It gave me chills to see all those kids at the vma’s jumping up and down as calvin harris dj’d.

    In a perfect world, we’d be hearing Siriusmo cuts on the radio, but that’s just not realistic; pop’s always based around a formula and sadly that formula often features Pitbull.

    Mainstream dance in America has obviously got a long ways to go, but you gotta start somewhere. And honestly it could be a lot worse of a start.

    “EDM” is a shit buzz-word and should be said by no one.

  • curious

    Wonderful article, the mainstreaming of EDM timeline reminded me of the pop musical/cultural cannabalistic crux that was 2007… “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…” oddly enough, right around the time Britney Spears blacked out the Pop scene; as Rob Sheffield said, “People love to make fun of Britney, and why not, but if “Telephone” proves anything, it’s that Blackout may be the most influential pop album of the past five years … Britney uses Auto-Tune the way Bob Dylan used his harmonica — for punctuation, for atmosphere, for an alienatingly weird sound effect. It’s a blast of vocal distortion, harsh on the surface, but expressive, capable of sounding wildly funny or abrasively pissed-off or seductive.” Not quite sure where I was going with this comment, but it’s always interesting to note overlapping parallels throughout the tapestry of contemporary historical specificities.

  • http://twitter.com/KasperSP88 Kasper S. Pedersen

    Really interesting read. You managed to put into words exactly what I’ve been thinking for the past couple of years. Thumbs up!

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  • English

    The term EDM shouldn’t event be used in this article.

  • JP

    Excellent critical article. I won’t even try to avoid using the “EDM” word because as an American who’s musical tastes came out of the early stages of this commercial explosion (I started religiously listening/following it 4 years ago), it wouldn’t be authentic of me to call it anything other than “EDM”.

    For this reason, I particularly liked the Hawtin quote which I had never heard, “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.”… i find that recently I get the deepest enjoyment from the more techy/groovy/underground but I still absolutely love some of the more mainstream progressive EDM that got me into the music in the first place. there’s a certain nostalgia I have for it because I fell in love with it first.

    it made me think of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave
    the most interesting aspect of this story to me is the fact that someone who is chained cannot see the light unless a person who is free first grabs his hand and pulls him up. this sort of recurring experience is one of those beautiful progressions in life that we can’t devalue, and for the same reason, we cannot devalue the effect that this commercial “EDM” craze will have on a collection of people who are inspired to dig deeper.

  • Martin

    Amazing article. I actually feel every ounce of emotion you’ve put into this piece. I can only hope that this EDM craze will pass and those who are genuine, will stay to support.

  • loukall

    so glad that you guys are a supporter of the “future techno” movement.

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  • james

    ‘Electronic dance music’ and ‘EDM’ aren’t different things.

    First there was ‘dance music’ for 20 years in Europe with some fringe scenes in the US (New York had a good scene up to the early 21st century, San Francisco has always been good), and then in the past couple of years the US has stuck ‘electronic’ on the front of it and shortened it to EDM and think it’s something new.
    Discussing whether Skrillex is an originator shows a startling lack of knowledge – he’s just the latest in a long line of electronic musicians that stretches back to the ORIGINAL US producers – Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Todd Terry, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson etc – that you guys ignored for 25 years. Get a proper grip on your musical history!

    • http://www.facebook.com/zoidberg590 James Lightfoot

      Heavy dancefloor dubstep was around a long time before Skrillex.

    • dj rawcut

      amen james :)

    • ztryte

      You missed Kevin Saunderson, one of the three godfathers of Techno!

  • Paul Montague

    I’m 34 and I have been a huge fan of electronic music since my two older cousins used to go to these “acid parties” in the late 80’s and Raves in the early 90’s. They used to let me listen to their tapes and New Order records. I soon followed suit and got my first set of decks in the mid 90’s, while attending legendary clubs like the Rhumba Club in Scotland.
    I’d say that there are a couple of things that have made it harder for less known, more underground Dj’s to expose themselves and their clubnights. Firstly the rise of the Dance festival scene in the Uk, has stopped people going to dance clubs as frequently because they spend much more money trying to attend as mont of these big name festivals, rather than going to smaller clubs more frequently and seeing local talent, thus making it harder to build a following.
    Also, the digitisation of the scene has made it easier for charlatans to Dj, buy, steal, mix, ripp off. People dispose of music more readily. Labels popping up everywhere, pollutinng the scene with so much shit. Gone are the days of tracks building momentum, before exploding into the mainstream.

  • ade

    I think you’re spot on with the rockstar/hip-hop mentality in the US but you didn’t touch on the underlying reason for it. That is this: The types of US kids at the core of this new EDM fan base are NOT the type of kids who would ever go to clubs on the weekends. With a few notable exceptions, “clubs” in America are synonymous with the stereotypical Jersey Shore type douchebags. For kids now legitimate, good dance music is totally divorced from clubs. It exists on the computer and at house parties where someone is playing an iPod. Or at festivals/concerts.

    I will say that since dubstep/”EDM” hit college towns a few years ago (when i was in college) I’ve noticed a shift to where the more dedicated fans of dance music are actually hitting up club nights with local DJs, which wasn’t really on the menu before. So I guess I’m optimistic that some of this energy with “EDM” will shake out into some legitimate development of EDM (sans scare quotes).

  • chuck

    I hope this CNTRL tour Hawtin/Dice are doing will open a lot of people to the other more underground club targeted genres of techno/tech house/deep house/minimal/experimental sounds

  • Michael

    Ugh, it bothers me so much when I see the douchebags at a show. Living in a city where the electronic scene is pretty big is awesome, but there are SO many people that just go there to get drunk, or “RAGE”. You know, the ones who wear the stupid tank tops and do the stupid little fake dances, whilst not even really enjoying the music. I think Ultra Music Festival and others like it need to take a break, they are bringing people to the scene who genuinely aren’t event interested in the music, what really matters.

  • Simon

    Another 34 year old guy here from Germany. In the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s in Europe/Germany there were no Techno/Trance/House/Hardcore/Breakbeat-parties, there were just parties or raves and all this music was played on the same floor by the same DJ. Not because they were stupid or had no taste n skills – it was just the time for being open minded and to enjoy this new unbelievable powerful and energetic thing called electronic music. Besides having an excuse to consume even more drugs it was mostly about the smile in the faces and the pure energy. For a few years categories didn’t exist or were ignored. This was a golden area. This area ended with Douchebags like Scooter. These brainless wankers were stealing one of the biggest rave anthems of 1994 (Ultrasonic – Annihaliting Rhythm – Fire Records), added some cool DJ-names in the ‘song’ (“Greetings and respect to Westbam, Sven Väth….) and became famous for people with pimped cars. Other big names like Marusha (“Somewhere over the rainbow”) also entered the billboard charts with songs that had very commercial stuff inside. THIS (mostly Scooter and the upcoming Eurodance shit) caused everything why I hated 4 to the floor for the next 10 years: The big names of the real scene started to get rid of everything that could cause happiness and positive feelings because nobody from the scene wanted to be suspected being commercial. In Germany this brought us a big big wave of minimal music in nearly all subgenres. People were getting used to flip out on the floor because after 5 minutes of pure boring mpf mpf mpf the hihat was starting. This is what I would call repetitive drug music. I switched to Breakbeats which developed to Drum n Bass and even there it started to get completly unemotional – nobody dared to bring in feelings cause nobody wanted to sell out. The loose of emotional moments (and I’m not talking about the emotions I should get from the Beatport Top Ten, cause this is pure Kindergarten with Kindergarten-melodies and preset-sounds that everybody is using ) is the biggest shit that happened to electronic music.

    So what’s left? Since there were acts like Justice/Digitalism/Bloody Beetroots the emotions were coming back. But I have the feeling that history will repeat because when I listen e.g. to “Feed the Dada” by Dada Life I worry that this has nothing to do with the emotions I was refering to but with a calculated autotuned plastic product. So I don’t want to be negative as I still keep my fingers crossed that the real emotions will survive – but I have the feeling that it’s going to split up again soon. Into ‘cool’ non emotional real scene music and music with plastic melodies for the guys with the pimped cars.

    • DiscoDemons

      Couldn’t agree more with you! Great summary of how the real artists went into the minimal underground back then because rave sold went mainstream – I think it’s already happening again (future techno, techno nouveau, etc.).

  • Austin

    While I HATE having to use the term edm instead of house/trance/electro/dub, it’s no different than lumping it all together into “dance music”. I think the term EDM makes those more well versed shy away because they hear it only when conversing with those less so. To them, it’s a sign of ignorance that they don’t want to associate with.

    what i dislike about both terms is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be listened to in “dance” situations. It’s beautiful music, not just sounds you listen to when you’re on drugs or “raging”. That’s generally how the users of the term “EDM” view it and enjoy it.

    Nevertheless, people should accept EDMers, because that’s what we do in our culture. That’s what’s awesome about it. Teach them and continue to lead the way and the movement.

  • Luigi III

    Well done…agree with a lot of your points.
    Dance music has lost so much of its value but the “hype” always fades and the real talent sticks around.

  • Lemur

    Writing this from sweden and are sick of all the hate of EDM. Had to comment on this!

    Don’t know how much you guys know about disco music, but when im reading this post i feel that im reading the same thing as the Dj’s of the late 80’s wrote. When Disco emerged from the gay scene into mainstream and became worldwide, then everybody wanted a piece of the cake. At this time Dj’s that would just play radio Disco music got all the gigs and the ones such as legend Nicky siano (and not to mention the club inveter David mancuso) started to complain at this mainstream disco movement that was all about fame, singing along tracks, and getting the most radio plays, rather than about just dancing. This scenario gave birth to the underground movement that was consisting of people, by this time not only gay (as it had mostly been from the begining), that did not afford the expensive entreance fees at mainstream disco clubs, or did not even get pass the entrance (latinos, black people). All these people had one thing in common they wanted to dance so they started their own clubs and made music that worked on their dance floors (eurodance, house).

    We are seeing excatly the same but in the opposite direction, now there is no requirement of a certain race or how much money you got, in fact there are no requirements at all in the EDM movement. This means that today the sophisticated dance music movement is actually the one that have the requirements. Unique dance music is today associated with fashion,(Prada, gucci, ylves etc are all playing, more and more, at their fashion shows newly released tracks from small producers that are upcoming), famous people, (celebrities hosts secret parties with upcoming artists to show, that they know whats “hot” at the moment, or that they know what the next “hot” thing is gonna be), and fore most a “movement” in it self( Edm is not a movement as everybody is a part of it, so to be a part of a “movement” today means exclusiveness).

    Having this said, we that are listening to unique, hearth made, and sophisticated dance music is soon gonna be swallowed by the mass as well, and then the time comes when a big record label or a magazine asks us; “I give you 3 years salary if you produce, or write about this thing called sophisticated music,(don’t know what the name of the next genre gonna be so i call it sophisticated music :P), and we begin at square one again.

    Know your music history and you have nothing to complain about.

    • Guest

      ……Did you just call dubstep, brolectro, trap, bigroom, and moombathon sophistcated music? Holy fuck pick up a music theory book, and everybody here does know their history, the 90s dance scene was garbage and unmusical just like our current dance scene. And i fucking lold at “heart made”, the large majority of these guys get ghost produced and make only what sells, boinkboinkboink wubwubwubw is not heart made sir, i’m sorry you’re so delusional

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.fennell.9 Sean Fennell

    many contradictions in this article, such as: Criticizing Americans for
    pooling all subgenres of electronic music into the term “EDM”.
    Pffff…gimme a break man the article itself is pooling all the worst
    parts of the “scene” into one giant group (deadmau5, avicii, paris
    hilton, SHM) and painting it into this face of “fist pumping American
    douche-bag with pumped up kicks”. It’s accusing America of generalizing
    yet does the same thing by combining these unrelated incidents into one
    giant smut ball, and that’s simply not how it went down. I’m from
    Chicago myself (birthplace of house music [way before my time]) and well
    here’s a story: I was on my way home from a dance music festival (on
    the train) and striked up a conversation with a fellow attendee and
    stranger to me, we are both 24. We were talking about which
    artists/performers we liked best and I was like “Yeah I wish Bassnectar
    had been there I have a lot of respect for him because his sets
    encompass all genres and he tries to put out a good message and connect
    with fans” And the guy was essentially like “I don’t care what their
    message is or what they are like in person, as long as they bring the
    beats”. I respect that philosophy but also see the flaw in it.
    Then…this other dude (40 years old) sitting near us started asking
    about the show and who was playing so we started naming names, Afrojack,
    Skrillex, Benny Bennassi etc. The guy had no idea who any of them
    were, but went on to tell us about his clubbing days and began to name a
    bunch of old school house DJs such as Frankie Knuckles “The Godfather
    of House” and many others who I knew little to nothing about. How back
    in the day they used little 808 drum kits and everyone was on ecstasy.
    The other attendee began to subtly mock him for not knowing who deadmau5
    and Bennassi were and I immediately saw the irony of the situation.
    Here I had the original gangster and the proposed poser with myself in
    between (both physically and in appreciation of “history vs hype”). My
    take: Its a gap in generations and each generation is different. This
    article pretends that dance music is some kind of sacred European
    tradition when the truth is that it started in the USA. Yes it has
    evolved drastically but I personally love all the incarnations AND I
    E C H N O!!!! (Way too much time I’ve spent arguing with friends about
    that misconception) Yes I will settle for calling it Electronic Dance
    Music. Beyond that the article goes on to say its all becoming pop
    music. If you think that’s the case then I suggest you do something
    about it by promoting the artists who are not Pop music by seeing them
    at smaller venues, and if that’s not enough for you, then start
    producing your own music! The future is in your hands and mine so if you
    say its “EDM Doomsday” then thats just as much your fault as it is the
    button pushers and posers. Just saying.

    • aethiery

      Good story, and great comment. I stumbled on the house scene in 2008 and have been all but obsessed ever since. Last year, my friends who previously told me for years they hated my house music are suddenly Calvin Harris and Avicii fans. I thought they’d converted and tried to show them all the other non commercial genres of electronic music (psytrance, trance, minimal)…and they turned their noses up! Some people are just ignorant, and there’s no way you can change them. I decided a few months ago that I would start learning how to produce and DJ music that I personally love, influenced by all my favorite artists be they trance, house, classical, etc. I know I’m just one person, but I do feel like I’m taking things into my own hands, lol.

  • johnnyflash

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF-EPyiR3qw Halleluja!
    Music is subjective,as other art.if kids like to have fun for “EDM”, then im happy for them, i just dont go there.there are still a lot of underground music and places to go.Commercialisation?that happend and will happen to all kind of music.and to everything where its possible.
    This article would have been cool 10 years ago,or in the 90’s.
    Richie Hawtin, is a legend for U , for me is another “EDM” figure, who maybe has just less success then david guetta or whoever.
    These are legends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ_trFB_X0s (1996/7)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u0c769Y_bM (1998)
    actually these are the real legends of electronic dance music(without completness): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgwHRK4n-rY

    Theres a lot of good shit coming from the states,and many things just started there.god bless it!
    Now everybody can be a dj- download tracks for free,and have a fancy apple book,where automated softwer mixes precisly, u just choose the tracklist. piece of shit.
    magazines, blogging about electronic music is mainstreem too. U, dear blogger,are part of “EDM” phenomenon,too. sorry.
    And U are right, history repeats itself.

    eurodance, pfffffffff.that was already a pop.and another huge subject full of controversies,make a blog of it! :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–_KyuZMsnA
    Some commenters claim that electronic or techno music was born in the USA.. hmm, im not shure it is so easy to state that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsk6AcjQF24
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RjMuB8Qkd8 (Netherlands is in europe..u know,pass the dutchie..)
    Cheers from Hungary, thats in europe too.apparently.

  • Jann Del Corro

    Every word in this article speaks what I feel about these sad times for EDM…

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tyson-J-Magdaleno/766134223 Tyson J Magdaleno

    P-Tots, GoGo Sluts and Dub-Step!!!

  • Jack Twizack

    I’m still safe here with psytrance <3

    • http://www.facebook.com/zoidberg590 James Lightfoot

      We don’t have to worry about commercialization there! Most of the best stuff isn’t even available for sale lol. It is truly a phenomenal and transcendant genre, which is enjoyed in every country in the world.

  • me

    Stupid fucking article. U and all ur blogging buddies r what’s wrong with edm… bro.

  • eric

    who the fuck cares what music you listen to and how popular it is just listen to what ever music you like honestly

  • Jimbo

    One thing here is definitely wrong:
    “even at European mainstream EDM festival like Tomorrowland you will meet more North and South Americans than Europeans combined.”

    This is quite simply not true, I have been to TL 3 years in a row, and although there are more and more of you every year, Europeans are still in the majority.
    40% of Tomorrowland tickets are from Belgium alone.

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  • http://twitter.com/M4NNNNY Manfred

    Protectors, long-time preservers of a specific genre- be it edm, rock n’ roll, indie, whatever- often feel violated, even wronged when their genre goes “mainstream.” True, there isn’t anything more irritating then someone saying “Yeah I really love dubstep, Skrillex is my favourite,” or “Avicii is so good. Eric who?” we firstly feel the sense of irritation because our uniqueness, our love for EDM in general has been shattered, mired by “posers” who see themselves as true fans. But let’s not forget the very nature of music- to be spread, to be shared and loved by one and all. I’m relatively new to the EDM scene -first heard armin in 2010- but I for one feel happy feel that more and more people get into it. Why the segregation, why the preservation of your sounds you hold so close to you? Music changes and evolves like humans, maybe that’s why you don’t see sopranos sprouting around belting out arias. This sole flaw in the human psyche makes genres like indie so popular; people want to feel exclusive, want to feel special.

    You know what’s ironic? The segregation of the dance scene from normal pop music, and then another division within dance music between ravers and long time preservers of the genre. While you guys are busy fretting over the destruction of your beloved genre, i’ll go enjoy what it brings for me. Loosen up!

  • Ovarkill

    When i look at history,
    i clearly see where we came from.
    And it is a misery,
    because i know that we go wrong.

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  • http://twitter.com/dr_mario_XXX professional hater

    IDM will always trump EDM. The hugest difference, as the author was so wise to point out, is that money corrupts all creative endeavours. Exploration, not sales.

  • basketOfries

    Drum n Bass for ever underground. Dont test unless you come proppa. People I know who listen to “EDM” cant stand drum n bass makes it that much sweeter.

  • vitamindevo

    Its up to us, the producers to change the face of music. The content creators, promoters and artists that are all involved in the scene. What I hear a lot of whiny hatered on the west coast from the 30+ peeps, All i can think about is how I was when i was 18, and All i wished for was that when I grew up I would play at 18+ parties and do my best to care about people that age, cause back then I barely had any opportunities compared to the amazing oops kids have now. Yes there are TONS of producers, and events now a days, which makes the world that much better! Come on lets face it after parties, and under-grounds will always be there. But lets do our best to Rock out with what we have and create some incredible everlasting memories!

    • http://www.facebook.com/djalexjarvis Alex Jarvis

      Dude…I am a 30+ guy, and all the whining and complaining and hating bugs the crap out of me too. Its music, its parties. Music gets popular because the people who listen to it like it. Parties end up the way they do because of who shows up. If people have a problem with the music and the parties they should go play their music someplace else and try harder to have parties that live up to their rigid expectations.

      • alex

        you right dude, if you dont like it why you here ?????leave

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  • Gabriel Eugenio
  • http://www.about.me/mattauckland Matt Auckland

    Great post by the way.

    As someone who’s been in Dance one way or another since the late 80’s, both as a DJ, Manager, DJ Mag Online Editor (before the Top 100 became a pile of w*nk), and now as a radio broadcaster with the likes of Ridney and Artful (former Artful Dodger), I do also dislike the term EDM.

    As much as I hate the term, it is useful for SEO and Twitter/Instagram hash tags. EDM though is Dance music and vica versa. In much the same way as Dance music is a catch all for the many sub-genres (that seem to breed like rabbits) out there, so is EDM. Think of it as the English-US translation of Dance music.

    Currently though Dubstep (love it or hate it) is the flavour of the move, and in a sense can be described as Pop music. By definition pop music is popular music, so if Dubstep and the many Skrillex clones out there are popular, then it is Pop Music. There’s no escaping that fact. But in the same way during ’91, ’92 and 93 (to my knownledge) dance music was a staple part of the UK Top 40. The Prodigy took Everybody In The Place to number 4, right behind KLF with Justified And Ancient, two tracks which where born in the illegal Rave scene of the UK, and in some sense share the high energy sounds of Skrillex and dubstep.

    History repeating, perhaps, but if you love the sound, and those events and feelings form special memories and bonds of your own as the 90’s scene did for me, is there really anything that wrong with it.