EDM = Electronic Dance Music.
More specifically, EDM is a broad range of electronic music- including house, techno, dubstep, trance, hard-style, trap, deep house, etc – that is produced by a DJ and generally used in nightclubs, festivals and raves.
To some people, EDM is nothing more than loud, annoying sounds mixed together. A stupid American invention that symbolizes the country’s bandwagon approach to house music. Commercialized bullshit.
To others, it’s what they listen to when they wake up every morning, in the gym, with their friends, and at every social gathering. It means dressing up in neon clothes and dancing for 3 straight days at festivals with upwards of 300,000 people. Or going to crazy night clubs to see their favorite DJs perform.
Regardless of your opinions on EDM, the purpose this blog post is to inform you that right now, in this very moment in time, EDM is taking the world by storm. The scene is stronger than it has ever been in the past, and probably stronger than it will ever be in the future.
How do I know that EDM is “taking the world by storm?”
I know from experience. I’ve been living it.
Since January 2012, I’ve listened to, danced and partied to EDM in over 45 countries and 100 cities around the world. Essentially, the last few years has been a giant rave across 4 continents. Everything from music festivals, to insane night clubs, house parties, concerts, underground raves, pool parties, rooftop parties – you name it. I was there.
Over the past year living in Seoul, my self-proclaimed #1 party city in the world, I have been raving nearly every weekend at the insane clubs of Gangnam. I’ve attended shows put on by Tiesto, Kaskade, Steve Angello, Laidback Luke, Markus Schulz, Dash Berlin and dozens more. I also attended music festivals such as Ultra Korea, Sensation White and Global Gathering. The electronic music scene in Seoul is absolutely insane. Like out the roof madness.
Can you spot me in the photo below?
EDM is a global phenomenon. A revolution.
It exists in nearly every country, every city, every bar, every music festival, every club, every radio station around the world. The DJs of today are the rock stars of the past. They are flying all over the world to play concerts and music festivals for millions of people. The fans know the words to all the songs, enjoy dancing to the beats and love the happiness that this music brings to them. It is their escape from reality. It enables them to be free.
At the recent 2014 Internatinal Music Summit in Ibiza, the EDM scene was valued at $6.2 Billion.
Six point two billion U.S. dollars.
These days, popular music festivals around the world are now dominated by EDM. Just look at this list of the top 10 biggest music festivals in the world. About 8 out of 10 are centered around EDM.
Radio stations are also controlled by electronic waves. Check out the Top 100 songs right now (Dec 2014). Over 25% are EDM songs. Flip through the radio and you’ll hear more Avicii songs than Katy Perry.
EDM has also created massive business opportunities.
Well-known companies are spending big promotional dollars on DJs- just like Heineken, who has worked with Dutch producers Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto in their marketing campaigns. Bud Light has recently replaced Justin Timberlake with Zedd to be the face of their new promotions. Even Avicii has a new clothing line sponsored by Ralph Lauren. Other new companies are literally inventing technology to accommodate for the growing LED spectacles in EDM shows.
And lastly, according to Forbes.com, Calvin Harris racked in over $66 million in 2014 from concert revenue sales alone, ranking him 4th on the Forbes ‘Richest Celebrities Under 30’ list.
Despite all of this, I do think that we are currently in a giant phase and eventually, the scene will die down.
It’s interesting when you take a look into how music influenced the past generations. How almost every decade had it’s own extremely poplar music genre(s), which slowly faded away and evolved into the next genre(s).
The 50s = The Birth of Rock n Roll
The 60s = Rock n Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Psychedelic Rock
The 70s = Disco, Hard Rock, SynthPop, Reggae, Punk
The 80s = Disco, Pop, Hair Metal
The 90s = Alternative, Grunge, Hip Hop
The 00s = Auto-tune Rock, Dubstep, Hip Hop, Country
The 10s = EDM. EDM pop. EDM rock. EDM hip hop.
But let me be clear about something:
I’m NOT arguing that EDM is the greatest music of all time- because it certainly isn’t. I grew up listening to classic rock and alternative music. My favorite bands of all time are Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Blink 182, and they will always be my favorite bands for the rest of my life.
You simply cannot make the argument that Tiesto has more musical talent than John Lennon or Eric Clapton. You’ll never win that battle. It’s obvious that it takes much less skill to press buttons in a DJ booth than to shred guitar like Jimmy Paige on stage, or play the piano like Billy Joel.
But what I will argue is that EDM has taken over the world with force. These days, our generation likes to live young, wild, and free, and EDM is a perfect match our kind sort of lifestyle. We do it for the fun.
What caused this widespread revolution?
Well, no one knows exactly.
For decades, the rave culture was deeply rooted in the underground scene. It used to be a world for off-centered people to escape life. Whatever happened inside the club, most definitely stayed in the club.
But now, that “underground” electronic music scene has changed. It has evolved.
It may have been due to the mainstream crossover of music genres over the last 15-20 years. A gradual transition of DJs working with famous pop singers in their new releases.
Just think about David Guetta. He has co-produced some rhythmic-pop crossover smashes with pop and rap stars. His popular song “Turn Me On” with Nicki Minaj has attracted all of Nicki Minaj’s fans, just like “Play Hard” featuring Akon scooped in all of his fans. I’m talking about millions and millions of people jumping on the bandwagon, just from just one song.
The music video for “Turn Me On” has 260 million views on YouTube and “Play Hard” is at 283 million. Together, those two videos have been viewed by about 1/14th of the world’s population.
Did you watch the last Grammy Awards? Daft Punk -a famous French DJ duo- was on stage receiving the award for album of the year. The robotic duo took their rightful place not only at the top of the electronic pyramid, but the entire music industry.
Also, it was just announced that Nicky Romero is collaborating with One Direction for his new remixes.
The list goes on.
But if I can pinpoint the biggest reason for why EDM has spread so fast, it is because of social media.
The generation that us millennials are growing up in has seen exponential growth of the internet and social media, which is connecting all of us around the world.
With every worldwide festival, a new rush of photos flood Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and all other social media networks from the fans themselves. Therefore, us millennials (people born from the early 80s to the early 2000s) are always kept in the loop, unlike any generations in the past.
Here is a recent example of what I mean by “kept in the loop.”
Last weekend, on December 5th, 2014, DJ Tiesto played a massive show in Sydney, and posted this photo of him on Instagram.
Within 24 hours, this photo had 36,151 “likes” and 129 comments. And those are just the people who engaged with that photo. Can you imagine how many people just saw it on their feed out of his 1.3 MILLION followers? I’m going to guess at least 200,000 people were aware that Tiesto played a kick-ass concert in Sydney just from Instagram alone.
Tiesto also shared that same photo on Facebook and received a quick 20,148 likes within the first 3 hours. Do the math.
No musicians in history had the power to influence the world like this in such a short period of time. Do you think that anyone knew about Nirvana when they were tearing up stages in Seattle in the early 90s? It simply didn’t exist.
The EDM scene, unlike any other scene in music history, has promoted itself using mainly word of mouth and social media, to grow into the dominant musical entity that it is today.
And now it has come to the point where the scene is just selling itself.
My Personal Experience
I am a huge EDM listener, raver and fan.
I love everything about the scene. Going to music festivals. Meeting amazing people from all over the world. Dancing to my favorite songs. Wearing crazy things. No experience can top this for me.
When I started college in 2009, the EDM scene was starting to take off. The song “Levels” by Avicii came out my sophomore year, and it was literally played at every party and social event. I think that every single person knew the catchy beat to that song.
You know the beat- it goes something: Da da da da da da, da da da da da da da da
Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
What really put me over the edge was when I studied abroad in Prague back in 2012. Upwards of 5 nights a week, I found myself raging at some club around the city with my friends. There were always big name DJs playing at clubs. It was too damn fun.
Over the last few years, I’ve been to around a dozen EDM music festivals- including EDC Vegas, EDC Chicago, Ultra Korea, Summer Set, Bonnaroo, Sensation White, Let it Roll, World DJ Festival and more.
My favorite EDM genre is progressive house and trance. My all-time favorite DJs are Tiesto, Avicii, Markus Schulz, Above & Beyond, Alesso, Calvin Harris and Dash Berlin.
So, whether you like it or not, EDM is taking the world by storm and I really don’t see it ending at least in the next few years. It will be interesting to see how the EDM scene evolves and plays out leading into 2020.
But for now, I’m going to continue to sing, rave, and dance in every country that I go to. Because it’s pretty damn fun, and it makes me happy. I have plans to attend some major music festivals in 2015 like Electric Forest in Michigan and Tomorrowland in Belgium.
I’m going to keep riding the wave as long as I can.
Everyone in the world may not speak the same language, but they can smile and dance in the same language- and that’s how we connect without using words.
Comment below and tell me your thoughts about EDM!
P.S. Have you seen GoPro’s new video of Tomorrowland 2014? It’s amazing, check it out!
What are your thoughts about EDM?