Electronic dance music surges far beyond the dance floor these days, and it appears that the teenage years of the 2000 era will be dominated by the once underground EDM genre. Particularly popular among Millennials and younger Gen X’ers, EDM has catapulted into the mainstream forefront, dominating the music scene and crossing over into numerous genres. Once a rather obscure scene, how did EDM get to be so popular?
A look into how electronic dance music has risen in popularity and what it might mean about our society…
It wasn’t easy according to anyone who’s been in the industry since it really got started in the 80s. Unbelievably, EDM got started in Chicago when a couple of DJs needed to keep the dance floor filled in the post-Disco era. Inspired by the German electronica of German DJ Draftwerk, they began using several media to create dance edit blends of disco, funk, soul, and R&B. EDM pioneer David Guetta cites the resulting club scenes in Chicago and Detroit as his inspiration for his fusion efforts with hip-hop and electronica that ultimately supercharged Europe into EDM.
While Europeans tossed aside punk for EDM, the US scene remained obscure, and very few clubs nationwide grasped on. However, fans would hold raves in warehouses or hold private events as “house parties.” Many believe that raves surged the MDMA movement, and according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the majority of those who admitted to taking the drug correlate the incident with going to a club or rave to enjoy the euphoric and psychedelic effects of the drug in a invigorating environment.
Certainly, there is merit to making the correlation between MDMA’s effects and why they collaborate well with EDM. Many people who indulge in these two practices together cite a feeling of connection with those around them that they don’t get in their daily routine. Humans intrinsically need to feel an intimate connection with others, but might feel shortchanged in such experiences with cell phones, email, tweets, texts, and the like having people communicating through machines. It’s likely that this “new world” has propelled a new set of EDM fans into motion seeking out the connected world of EDM.
Regardless of the apprehensions of drug abuse, EDM is on the rise in a major way, particularly in the US. There’s like two primary causes of the resurgence of interest in the genre: money and exposure. The hottest European DJ’s are raking in millions, and so are the producers, arenas, festival organizers, record labels, ticket sellers and so on. Money talks, and apparently it’s been talking to the music industry bigwigs in the US.
Radio stations that once shafted the movement now fill the hours with EDM. Top artist hire EDM producers and DJ’s to mix their latest hits. Television and movie producers heavily encourage EDM theme songs, and arena’s are selling out regularly. In other words, there was billions to made by giving EDM the exposure it deserved, and apparently the people are buying. Arguably, without the heavy interest played by large corporations with financial interests in the music industry, EDM might still be buried as opposed to the creme de la creme of mainstream tastes that it is today.