The Current State of EDM

The sad state of EDM as of 2015

Sad State of EDMIf you’re like us, you’ve been a long-time fan of electronic dance music. We used to get crazy at desert raves with like-minded people who truly loved community and the free spirit of “hippie” raves. The old-school was the only thing we knew. Any given night we’d hear DJs and songs we never heard before. At the end of the night, I had written down 10 DJ names onto my arm with a pen, so I can attempt to get a tape, CD (maybe a download) of the artist’s mix. There was one person in the “booth”, the DJ. The only person that needs to be there.

In the 90s and 2000s, there was an underground community of ravers and if you listened to house music (everyone would call it techno) you were not the popular kid. If they asked me who is your favorite artists, I would say DJ John Kelly… The room would be quiet and nobody would know or care who that is. They may have also labelled me a “druggy”…

Now let’s fast forward a bit, to 2010. The tired verses of Hip Hop tracks kept getting boring, the mainstream needed something now. Artists like Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas capitalized on a “new electronic sound” and brought it into the spotlight. The average Joe did not listen to electronic beats until these tracks hit the radio. The public needed some time to get used to the new-age music, but it’s obviously used to it now and craving for more. How did this “techno going mainstream” change the industry? Too many ways to describe them all here, but lets look at some…

Being a DJ is NOT ENOUGH

This topic has been beaten up enough, but DJs have been responsible to move crowds. In the old days, you had to spend lots of money on records and the more unknown a dope song was, the more it was worth. When you found a white label record that rocked the crowd, that was your super-weapon. Nobody heard it before, but after your set, everyone wanted to hear it again… The only way they could was to attend your next show. Skills and song selection was the two main aspects of being a good DJ. You could even have crappy gear as long as your set rocked… *I remember playing on belt-driven Stantons and still laying down a decent set…

The State of EDM 2015Now this is mostly gone. The mainstream did what it does to any genre: profits from it. DJ gear makers saw the “electronic revolution” and started making DJ equipment cheaper and more user friendly. Easy to get into DJing. You can get a controller for $150, torrent some tracks and boom you’re a DJ. Naturally, there was 100 DJs on every street corner who downloaded the same torrent packs, possibly got the top 10 from Beatport and saved up enough lunch money to get the DJ controller. Since all of them wanted to play, they would not charge to play (I call these people “Free Js). Sure I played free gigs at first just to get some experience, but I stopped playing out because it wasn’t fair game to professional DJs. I’m just a hobby DJ, so I’ll play at my house party or some friends’ house. Not at a club. I’ll leave that to the professional. The DJ was worthless… Because they did not charge for their craft, it made it harder for everyone. Because there were so many “Free-Js”, people had to stand out somehow, so being a producer was next. You have to have your own tracks if you want to be taken seriously. Let’s look at what this did: it made it so you had tracks that nobody else had (much like before, the white label records). This put a bit of the mystery back into DJing, too bad lot’s of these tracks sucked. There was still a way to be different though, and that was the point. Not for long, since software companies were already heavily working on programs that can make a track sound great, you can learn it in an afternoon of watching tutorials on YouTube. Boom, everyone is a producer now, and of course these guys won’t just sign up for any label to be released, no. They all have their own record label. Yeah, 15 million labels, nobody making money, just saturating the market with a steady stream of mostly crap music. Why is there such an urge to be a DJ? Fame. People want to be famous. All kinds of media is to blame and perhaps some other things, but one thing is for sure: only a fraction of people get into DJing and producing music FOR the music and the love of the scene. Most of them do it for fame, money, status, sex, etc…

The End Result Is a Genre Going Down In Flames

Sad sad sadSo there came EDM. A term coined originally in the 90s and used to describe electronic music as a whole. There were other terms like “Electronica”, which became an actual genre. Dance music or EDM has come back in 2011 (yes, we also helped bring it back) to describe a love towards Electronic Dance Music. Yes, all the genres of it. I personally love Drum and Bass and some beefy Electro House. Some days I find listening to Hardcore Gabber fun, other days I get consumed by Armin Van Buuren’s a State of Trance series. Then on Fridays before going to a club, I put on some Glitch Hop while I’m getting ready to pump me up… Point is: we like most of the sub-genres of Electronic Dance Music or “EDM”…

The Unfortunate Hate on the Term EDM

To make things even worse, people start to associate “big room” cookie cutter (easily produced from soundbanks and presets) music with EDM. In fact, people are using EDM as a genre, not an umbrella term like we do. It results in things like: “Its Not EDM, it’s House” movement and such, honestly this makes me smile every time I see it. It’s all good, people need something to hate and if that is going to be the term our brand was based on, let it be. Purists will always know the terminology as it was meant.

Concluding the Current State, What’s Next?

As festivals get smaller and people forget thinks like “CAKED UP” and “LMFAO”, I think it will all go back to “normal”… Grunge and rock will come back with a fusion of electronic music. Other types of music will start having an electronic element and the Bigroom Sound will slowly fade and will only be heard in afterhours clubs and special venues again. Why was the EDM revolution a good thing? Because it opened many minds, created great new talent and turned millions of people into hardcore fans of electronic music, and to those people: we LOVE YOU! We DO THIS FOR YOU!

Victor Savelle, EDM Nightlife

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