Electronic dance music
Electronic dance music (also known as EDM, dance music, club music, or simply dance) is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres produced primarily for dance-based entertainment environments such as nightclubs, raves, and festivals. The music is largely produced for playback by disc jockeys (DJs) and is generally used in the context of a live DJ mixes where the DJ creates a seamless selection of tracks by segueing from one recording to the next.
Notable examples include the 1977 collaboration between producer Giorgio Moroder and vocalist Donna Summer on the song "I Feel Love", a groundbreaking dance/discothèque hit with no traditional instruments.
Birth of club music
Acid house and Rave
By 1988, house music had exploded in the UK and Germany with acid house becoming increasingly popular. There was also a long established warehouse party subculture based around the sound system scene. In 1988, the music played at warehouse parties was predominantly house. That same year, the Balearic party vibe associated with Ibiza based DJ Alfredo Fiorito was transported to London, when Danny Rampling and Paul Oakenfold opened the clubs Shoom and Spectrum, respectively. Both night spots quickly became synonymous with acid house, and it was during this period that the use of MDMA, as a party drug, started to gain prominence. Other important UK clubs at this time included Back to Basics in Leeds, Sheffield's Leadmill and Music Factory, and in Manchester The Haçienda, where Mike Pickering and Graeme Park's Friday night spot, Nude, was an important proving ground for American underground  dance music. Acid house party fever escalated in London and Manchester, and it quickly became a cultural phenomenon. MDMA-fueled club goers, faced with 2 A.M. closing hours, sought refuge in the warehouse party scene that ran all night. To escape the attention of the press and the authorities, this after-hours activity quickly went underground. Within a year, however, up to 10,000 people at a time were attending the first commercially organized mass parties, called raves, and a media storm ensued.
The success of house and acid house paved the way for Detroit Techno, a style that was initially supported by a handful of house music clubs in Chicago, New York, and Northern England, with Detroit clubs catching up later. According to British DJ Mark Moore it was Derrick May's "Strings of Life" that eased London club-goers into acceptance of house, with Moore stating that: "I was on a mission because most people hated house music and it was all rare groove and hip hop...I'd play Strings of Life at the Mud Club and clear the floor. Three weeks later you could see pockets of people come onto the floor, dancing to it and going crazy – and this was without ecstasy." 
North American commercialization of EDM
Initially, electronic dance music achieved limited popular exposure in America when it was marketed as "electronica" during the mid to late 1990s. At that time, a wave of electronic music bands from the UK, including The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Underworld, had been prematurely associated with an "American electronica revolution." But, instead of EDM finding wider mainstream success, it was relegated to the margins of the industry. Despite the domestic music media interest in "electronica" during the latter half of the 1990s, American house and techno producers continued to travel abroad to establish their careers as DJs and producers.
By the mid-2000s, a number of factors led to an increased prominence for dance acts in North America that was larger than previously observed. Daft Punk's performance at the 2006 Coachella Festival was considered by Spin to be a "tipping point" for EDM, as the appearance fueled nostalgia of the electronica era, and introduced the duo to a new generation of "rock kids". In 2009, French house musician David Guetta began to gain prominence in mainstream pop music after achieving several crossover hits on Top 40 charts, such as "When Love Takes Over", and collaborations with U.S.-based pop and hip-hop acts, such as Akon ("Sexy Bitch") and The Black Eyed Peas ("I Gotta Feeling").
The increased popularity of EDM was also fuelled by concerts and festivals, such as Electric Daisy Carnival, that placed an increased emphasis on visual experiences (such as video and lighting effects), fashion (which The Guardian characterized as an evolution from the 1990s "kandi raver" into "[a] slick and sexified yet also kitschy-surreal image midway between Venice Beach and Cirque Du Soleil, Willy Wonka and a Gay Pride parade"), and the DJs themselves, who began to attain celebrity-like statuses. Websites such as YouTube and SoundCloud also helped fuel interest in other genres of electronic music, such as electro house and dubstep. At the time, Dubstep also began to develop a harsher sound popularized mainly by U.S. producer Skrillex.
In 2011 Spin declared the start of a "new rave generation," with acts such as Guetta, Canadian producer Deadmau5, and Skrillex now followed by a new wave of mainstream consumers. Elements of EDM also became increasingly prominent in the music of mainstream chart acts, and collaborations occurred with producers such as Afrojack and Calvin Harris. Promoters could now generate higher profits from booking DJs over other types of music acts. According to Diplo:"a band plays, it's 45 minutes; DJs can play for four hours. Rock bands—there's a few headliner dudes that can play 3,000-4,000-capacity venues, but DJs play the same venues, they turn the crowd over two times, people buy drinks all night long at higher prices—it's a win-win." Other major acts gaining prominence during this period, such as Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, elected to hold concert tours at major venues such as arenas alongside nightclub appearances; in December 2011, Swedish House Mafia became the first electronic music act to sell out New York City's Madison Square Garden.
In January 2013, Billboard introduced a new EDM-focused Dance/Electronic Songs chart, tracking the top 50 electronic songs based on sales, radio airplay, club play, and online streaming and by November the same year, Music Trades magazine was calling EDM the fastest growing genre on the planet. In addition to the growth of EDM through live events and the Internet, radio and television were also credited with helping to increase mainstream attention: analysts noted that sales of Calvin Harris's "Feel So Close" and Swedish House Mafia's "Don't You Worry Child" dramatically increased after they began receiving contemporary hit radio airplay. EDM songs and artists have been featured in television commercials and programs, while some artists have produced more pop-oriented songs to make their work more accessible to a mainstream audience.
Criticism of commercial EDM
Despite the growing mainstream acceptance of EDM, a number of producers and DJs, including Carl Cox, Steve Lawler, and Markus Schulz, have raised concerns that the perceived over-commercialization of dance music has impacted the "art" of DJing. Cox sees the "press-play" approach of a new generation of EDM DJs as not being representative of what he calls the "DJ ethos". Writing in Mixmag DJ Tim Sheridan questioned whether or not EDM was responsible for affecting the art of traditional DJing. Sheridan contends that the emergence of "push-button DJs" who use auto-sync functions and pre-recorded sets featuring "obvious hits" rather than a diverse selection of music has led to a situation where "the spectacle, money and the showbiz [had] overtaken all—even notions of honesty."
Some house producers have openly admitted that "commercial" EDM required further differentiation and creativity. Avicii (whose 2013 album "True" featured songs incorporating elements of bluegrass music, such as its lead single "Wake Me Up") stated that there was "no longevity" in the majority of EDM. Deadmau5 has also criticized the homogenization of EDM, stating that the music he hears "all sounds the same"—he emphasized his diversification into other genres, such as techno and, in 2014, he released a techno song under the moniker "testpilot" for Richie Hawtin's label, Plus 8. During the 2014 Ultra Music Festival, Deadmau5 made remarks attacking up and coming EDM artist Martin Garrix, and during his set later in the evening (where he filled in for Avicii, who was unable to attend due to medical issues), he played an edited version of Garrix's song "Animals" remixed to the melody of "Old McDonald Had a Farm". Following the performance, Deadmau5 was also criticized on Twitter by fellow electronic musician Tiësto for "sarcastically" mixing Avicii's "Levels" with his own "Ghosts 'n' Stuff", asking in response "How does one play a track sarcastically? "Am I supposed to sneer while hitting the sync button? Or is that ironic?”
In May 2014, the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live parodied the stereotypes of EDM culture and push-button DJs through a Digital Short entitled "When Will the Bass Drop?". The short featured a DJ named Davvincii—who is seen performing a number of unrelated tasks—including playing a computer game, frying eggs, and collecting money rather than actually mixing, and pressing a giant "BASS" button to cause the heads of attendees to explode.
Corporate investment in EDM
Following the mainstream success of EDM it became increasingly attractive to outside investors; with some comparing it to the dot-com boom of the late-1990s. The beginning of corporate consolidation in the EDM industry began in 2012; especially in terms of live events. In June 2012, media executive Robert F. X. Sillerman—founder of what is now Live Nation—re-launched SFX Entertainment as an EDM-focused conglomerate, and announced his plan to invest US$1 billion for the acquisition of EDM-related properties. His purchases included a number of regional promoters and festivals (including ID&T, organizers of the annual Tomorrowland festival in Belgium), along with two nightclub operators in Miami, U.S., and Beatport, an EDM-oriented online music store. Live Nation itself also invested in the EDM market with the acquisition of Cream Holdings and Hard Events, and the announcement of a "creative partnership" with EDC organizers Insomniac Events in 2013; Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino described EDM as the "[new] rock 'n' roll."
Advertisers have also increasingly associated themselves with the EDM industry; for example, alcoholic beverage companies such as Heineken and Anheuser-Busch have maintained marketing relationships with the Ultra Music Festival and SFX, respectively. Heineken also incorporated Dutch producers, such as Armin van Buuren and Tiesto, into their marketing campaigns. Soft drink brand 7 Up introduced branded stages at both Ultra and EDC in 2014. Avicii's manager Ash Pournouri compared the increasingly commercial EDM industry to the transformation and commercialization of hip hop, which occurred in the early 2000s, arguing that the "corporate world" was beginning to "catch on" to EDM.
U.S. radio conglomerate iHeartMedia, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel Media and Entertainment) has also made efforts to align itself into the EDM industry; the company hired noted British DJ and BBC Radio 1 personality Pete Tong to produce programming for its "Evolution" dance radio brand, and announced a partnership with SFX Entertainment in January 2014 to co-produce live concert events and EDM-oriented original programming, such as a Beatport countdown show, for its top 40 radio stations. iHeartMedia president John Sykes explained that he wanted his company's properties to be the "best destination [for EDM]", and felt that its planned Beatport top 20 show would provide increased mainstream, North American exposure to up and coming producers.
EDM festivals have also had considerable economic impacts on the cites which host them. The Ultra Music Festival brought 165,000 attendees in 2014, and more than $223 million to Miami's economy, while the inaugural TomorrowWorld festival brought $85.1 million in revenue to the Atlanta area—as much revenue as the finals of the 2013 NCAA college basketball tournament that was also held in Atlanta.
The term "electronic dance music" was used in America as early as 1985, although the term "dance music" didn't catch on as a blanket term for the genre(s) until the second half of the 1990s, when it was embraced by the American music industry with their "Dance" charts (which continue to this day), as well as the consistent use of the term "dance music" in reference to artists in reviews. In July 1995 Nervous Records and Project X magazine held their first award ceremony titled "Electronic Dance Music Awards." 
Writing for The Guardian, journalist Simon Reynolds noted that music industry adoption of the term "EDM" was part of a drive to re-brand "rave culture" in the United States; an attempt to "draw line between today's EDM and 90s rave". While "EDM" has become the common blanket term for dance music genres in the USA, in many parts of Europe and online, in the UK the usage of "dance music" or "dance" is more commonly used.
What is widely considered to be "club music" changes over time includes different genres depending on the region and who's making the reference, and may not always encompass electronic dance music. Similarly, electronic dance music sometimes means different things to different people. Both terms vaguely encompass multiple genres, and sometimes are used as if they were genres themselves. The distinction is that club music is ultimately based on what's popular, whereas electronic dance music is based on attributes of the music itself.
Just as rock, jazz and other musical genres have their own set of sub-genres, so does electronic dance music. Continuing to evolve over the past 30 years dance music has splintered off into numerous sub-genres often defined by their varying tempo (BPM), rhythm, instrumentation used and time period. The broadest categories include house, techno, trance, hardstyle, UK garage, drum & bass, dubstep, progressive, electro and hardcore.
In an April 2014 interview with Tony Andrew, the owner and founder of the Funktion-One sound system—considered a foremost model of audio technology and installed in venues such as Berghain, Output and Trouw—Andrew explains the critical importance of bass to dance music:
Dance music wouldn’t be so successful without bass. If you think about it, we’ve really only had amplified bass for around 50 years. Big bass is only a couple of generations old. Before the invention of speakers that could project true bass frequencies, humans really only came across bass in hazardous situations—for example, when thunder struck, or an earthquake shook, or from explosions caused by dynamite or gunpowder. That is probably why it is by far the most adrenaline-inducing frequency that we have. Bass gets humans excited basically. Below 90 or 100 Hz, bass becomes more of a physical thing. It vibrates specific organs. It vibrates our bones. It causes minor molecular rearrangement, and that is what makes it so potent as a force in dance music. The molecular vibration caused by bass is what gives dance music its power. It is what makes dance music so pleasurable to hear through a proper sound system.
Andrew also warns that too much bass, as well as too much sound overall, can be harmful and a "good sound engineer will understand that there is a window between enough sound to give excitement and so much that it is damaging."
Music festivals devoted to the electronic music scene are a major aspect of the EDM subculture. Modern, commercial electronic music festivals represent an evolution from the largely underground rave culture of the 1980s and 90's, with a particular emphasis on the health and safety of attendees, and lineups featuring large numbers of acts representing various genres—ranging from prominent headline acts, to up and coming or local talent—spread across multiple stages. Recent festivals have placed a larger emphasis on visual spectacles, including elaborate stage designs with complex lighting systems and pyrotechnics, along with the attire of their attendees.
Notable U.S. electronic music festivals include the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, New York City's Electric Zoo, and TomorrowWorld—a spin-off of Belgium's Tommorowland festival held outside of Atlanta. The mainstream popularity of electronic dance music has also led major multi-genre music festivals, such as Chicago's Lollapalooza and the Coachella Festival, to add dedicated stages hosting electronic music acts.
|BRIT Awards||British Dance Act||1994–2004||The BRIT awards in the UK introduced a "British Dance Act" category in 1994, first won by M People. Although dance acts had featured in the awards in previous years, this was the first year dance music was given its own category. More recently the award was removed as was 'Urban' and 'Rock' and other genres as the awards removed Genre based awards and moved to more generalised, artist focused, awards.|
|Grammy Award||Best Dance Recording||1998–present||Most recently won (2014) by "Clarity", Zedd|
|Grammy Award||Best Dance/Electronica Album||2005–present||Most recently won (2014) by Random Access Memories, Daft Punk|
|DJ Mag||Top 100 DJs poll||1997–present||The British dance music magazine DJ Mag publishes a yearly listing of the top 100 DJs in the world; in 2013, Dutch producer Hardwell unseated Armin van Buuren as the #1 DJ on the chart.|
|Winter Music Conference (WMC)||IDMA: International Dance Music Awards||1998–Present|||
|Project X Magazine||Electronic Dance Music Awards||1995||Readers of Project X magazine voted for the winners of the first (and only) "Electronic Dance Music Awards". In a ceremony organized by the magazine and Nervous Records, award statues were given to Winx, The Future Sound of London, Moby, Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia, DJ Keoki, TRIBAL America Records and Moonshine Records.|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Electronic Dance Music||2012–present|||
- Timeline of electronic music genres
- List of electronic dance music record labels
- List of electronic musicians
- Rave music
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