Electronic dance music
Electronic dance music (also known as EDM as acronym, dance music, club music, or simply dance) is a set of percussive electronic music genres produced primarily for environments centered in dance-based entertainment, such as nightclub settings. The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set; wherein the DJ progresses from one record to the next via a synchronized segue or "mix". In the United States during the late 2000s the acronym EDM established itself as a short hand term for electronic dance music.
In 1969 a song called Popcorn was released by Gershon Kingsley and is considered by many to be the very first 'dance track' (McCurley and Flynn, 2013). The song would later be covered by the band Hot Butter in 1972 and become a bigger hit than the original version. Both versions using Moogs and analog drums would influence Disco musicians and producers through a greater part of the 70s with its catchy groove. By the later half of the 1970s, recorded disco music began to shift away from traditional orchestration (electric bass and guitar, live drums, and acoustic orchestras), and increasingly embraced electronic instruments. Synthetic sounds from synthesizers and drum machines became a feature of many disco records in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. 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. In 1979, the pair collaborated again on Donna Summer's highest-selling album, Bad Girls, which incorporated similar production techniques.
In the early 1980s, disco's popularity waned, especially in the United States. Major U.S. record labels and producers abandoned the style, only keeping it as an affectation in the short-lived wave of funky R&B called boogie. However in Europe, pop-oriented forms of disco continued evolving within the broad, relatively mainstream Euro disco scene. This included the late 1980s peak of the upbeat Hi-NRG style of electronic disco, dominated by a small cadre of mostly British producers. See Factory Records.
Many producers and bands experimenting with electronic sounds were pretty much well established or already working and experimenting with electronic/digital instruments (drum machines, sequencer, synthesizers,samplers) around this time, but the commercial availability was far beyond the reach of many studios or music producers. Although around this time acts like Gary Numan, Devo, and many disco producers which would go on to influence many EDM artists, would incorporate electronic/digital instruments with analog instruments.
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Meanwhile, competing forms of dance music, some lighter and some more serious, but all focusing on electronic timbres, took root in the post-disco club scenes, yielding occasional radio hits. Although not as strongly influential as later genres, these styles were mainstays in the 1980s club scene. They include the hazy, studio effects-heavy sound of dub; the strongly New Wave-based, upbeat fusion genre synth-pop; the syncopated hybrid electro-funk (often just "electro"); electro's Latin-pop cousin freestyle; the dark, rigid sounds of industrial dance music, and an unnamed category of commercial, danceable pop and R&B.
All these new genres and sounds were possible at the time because of the commercial availability of MIDI. MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, became commercially available in 1983. It allowed for Synthesizers, Drum Machines, Samplers, and Sequencers to communicate with each other digitally. All studios even smaller ones and independent producers could now afford to create new music/genres/sounds with out using any live (analog) instruments. MIDI is still used today by many producers and artist, even in none EDM genres.
Partly to help satisfy the dwindling market for disco-based dance music, some 1980s disco DJs breathed new life into past hits via custom remixes and re-edits on reel-to-reel tape, and then took advantage of newly-affordable electronic instruments and became record producers themselves, combining disco with other contemporary dance music styles. Without major-label backing, their music evolved quickly to satisfy audiences in isolated regional club scenes, yielding, for example, Italo disco in Italy, electronic body music in Belgium and Germany, house music in Chicago and New York (garage), techno in Detroit, and New Beat (precursor of Hardcore) in Belgium.
Democratization and recognition
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As alternatives to alcohol-fueled, "meat market" nightclubs, the warehouse party, acid house, rave and outdoor festival scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s were havens and proving grounds for the latest trends in electronic dance music, especially house and its ever-more hypnotic, synthetic offspring techno and trance, some of which fed back into mainstream clubs and radio. These scattered scenes, along with a bustling secondhand market for electronic instruments and turntables, had a strong democratizing effect, offering amateur, "bedroom" DJs the opportunity to become proficient and popular as both music players and producers, regardless of the whims of the professional music and club industries.
In the late 80s, rave culture began to filter through from English ex-pats and DJs who would visit Europe. However, rave culture's major expansion in North America is often credited to Frankie Bones, who after spinning a party in an aircraft hangar in England helped organize some of the earliest known American raves in the 1990s in New York City called "Storm Raves" which maintained a consistent core audience. Coinciding at the same time, were the "NASA" parties in NYC by DJ Scotto which was featured in the 1995 movie kids (film) and forthcoming was concert producer p.a.w.n. Lasers in Pennsylvania who later became the most well known laser company at raves in East Coast by cross-promoting these rave events State to State as far south as Florida and Louisiana. After this, hundreds of smaller promotional groups sprung up across the east coast such as Ultraworld (MD,DC), Park Rave Madness (NYC), G.O. Guaranteed Overdose (NYC), Local 13 (NJ), Caffeine (NYC), Liquid Grooove aka Liquified (GA), Columns of Knowledge (CT), Special K aka Circle Management (PA), Zen Festivals (FL), Disco Donnie (LA), Ultra Music Festival (FL), and later the west coast, causing a true "scene" to develop.
By the mid-1990s, the presence of electronic dance music in contemporary culture was noted widely, and its role in society began to be explored in published historical, cultural and social science academic studies. Commercially at this time, acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers, began to get noticed by listeners, music critics, and mainstream music producers. This would lead mainstream performers to work more and more with EDM artists, and mainstream music producers to experiment with more electronic sounds. MTV produced and aired 2 TV shows that played EDM, Amp and The Grind. Both played and aired a large amount of EDM each episode. They also released albums with EDM on them named after those shows.
Electronic music achieved limited popular exposure when it was marketed as electronica in America during the same period. At that time, a wave of dance music acts from the UK, including the 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 were still forced to travel abroad if they wanted to establish their careers as DJs and producers.
Mainstream growth in the USA
In the mid-2000s, a number of factors led to an increased prominence for dance acts in North America, larger than ever before. Daft Punk's performance at the 2006 Coachella Festival, which featured the introduction of a unique pyramid-shaped stage design and lighting rig, influencing what Spin described as an "arms race" for visual effects in electronic music. Spin also considered the act 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 attendance.
French house musician David Guetta began to gain prominence in pop music after the 2009 release of "When Love Takes Over" (featuring the vocals of Kelly Rowland), which became an international hit on both pop and dance music charts. The success of the song led to further collaborations with other pop and hip-hop acts, such as Akon and The Black Eyed Peas. His collaboration with the latter, "I Gotta Feeling", was a major success for both The Black Eyed Peas and Guetta; in the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number two, behind "Boom Boom Pow", prompted by sales of 249,000 downloads. Eventually reaching #1, on July 30, 2009, it was reported that the song, along with "Boom Boom Pow" helped earn The Black Eyed Peas the longest run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 by a duo or group (17 weeks).
The increased prominence of EDM was also fueled by concerts and festivals (such as Electric Daisy Carnival), placing increasing emphasis on visual experiences (such as video and lighting effects), fashion (which The Guardian characterized as an evolution from the 1990s "candy 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 as personalities. Sites such as YouTube and SoundCloud also helped fuel increased interest in EDM and other forms of electronic music (such as, most notably, dubstep and electro house, which developed a hard rock-influenced sound popularized by producers such as Excision, Knife Party, Rusko and most prominently Skrillex).
In 2011, Spin declared the start of a "new rave generation", led by names including Guetta, deadmau5 (who went as far as closing the traditionally alternative-centered Lollapalooza festival in Chicago to a rain-soaked crowd in 2011), and Skrillex, with a new wave of mainstream consumers. Both domestic and foreign artists no longer viewed America as the "final frontier" when it came to EDM and the market was now wide open. Elements of EDM also began to emerge among songs by "top 40" artists, with some collaborating with other EDM artists such as Afrojack and Calvin Harris. EDM producers and DJs also began having success in cities such as Las Vegas; Diplo even argued that promoters could turn in a larger amount of profit from DJs than other acts, stating that "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 acts gaining popularity during this period, such as Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, were going as far as holding concert tours at traditional live music venues such as sports arenas rather than nightclubs, with SHM becoming the first ever dance act to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York City. Despite live events and the internet helping the spread of EDM, radio has still been credited with helping increase mainstream attention to the industry: 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 . Despite the growth in popularity, some producers and DJs, such as Carl Cox, have objected to the perceived "commercialization" of dance music, characterizing many modern EDM acts as having developed a stereotypical and cliche style that does not reflect the art of DJing.
In June 2012, media executive Robert F. X. Sillerman, the original founder of what is now Live Nation, announced that he would be establishing a company known as SFX Entertainment to invest into the EDM industry, with plans to spend $1 billion US in acquisitions in its first year alone. In a similar manner to his past venture, it has acquired several regional promoters and festivals (including ID&T, organizers of the annual Tomorrowland festival in Belgium), along with Beatport and two major nightclub operators in Miami. The company also received a $10 million investment from the communications services and marketing company WPP.
On December 20, 2012, WHBA, a Class-A FM owned by Clear Channel Communications and serving the Boston metropolitan area, flipped from an Adult Hits format to an EDM format with the moniker "Evolution 101.7," claiming to be "the first real EDM station in the country;" the station soon changed its call letters to WEDX. WEDX is an extension of Clear Channel's iHeartRadio Internet-based Evolution platform, and has brought BBC Radio 1 personality and influential EDM icon Pete Tong on board to produce programming and content for the format. However, while this single station has recently adopted a relatively pure Electronic dance music format, and the EDM genre is being used increasingly by pop acts, EDM itself has yet to gain a hold on American radio and television broadcast outlets. There are only a handful of FM dance stations in the U.S. along with limited television exposure via local shows, while MTV offers only a late-night block of EDM when there are fewer viewers. In contrast, Internet-only sites offer a wide range of choices for Electronic dance music.
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 consistent use of the term Dance Music when referring to artists in reviews. In 1995 Nervous Records and Project X magazine held their first award ceremony titled "Electronic Dance Music Awards" which, though not a commonly used term at the time, is a very good, early example of the need to separate or explain the classification of the music (classical dance)/(electronic dance)in the USA. In academic writing both terms Dance Music and Electronic Dance music made sporadic appearances. Meanwhile, the term Dance Music has been used commonly in Europe since the early-mid 1990s in both TV, Radio and Music Releases. Due to the popularity and commonplace/commercialization of Dance Music in Europe there was never an addition or need for the addition of Electronic to the term Dance Music (as reflected in CD titles and radio interviews over the past two decades) it was just a given. During the mid-late 2000s Dance Music began to gain ground in the USA and enter their commercial sphere, it was around this time that the term EDM surfaced online. Some users speculate that it arose from the need to "rebrand" dance music in the USA having suffered almost two decades of social intolerance toward its different genres, indeed Techno was often used as a derogatory term in the USA. Debate has been heated since the abbreviation EDM this can be seen in page edits and revision of both this page and other pages relating which is largely due to the generational gap between those who grew up when Dance Music was popular (and still is) in Europe and those who have discovered the genre(s) in the last decade where the equally valid EDM has come to fruition. Whilst EDM has become the common blanket term for it's genres in the States, in many parts of Europe and online the UK has opted to remain with the common usage of Dance Music or Dance.
The related term club music, while broadly referring to whichever music genres are currently in vogue and associated with nightclubs, has become synonymous with all electronic dance music, or just those genres—or some subset thereof—that are typically played at mainstream discothèques. Sometimes, club music used more broadly to encompass non-electronic music played at such venues, or electronic music that is not normally played at clubs but that shares attributes with music that is.
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 too 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 and Happy Hardcore among others.
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In the 1980s, many genres of popular electronic music, including EDM, were constructed by means of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers, and these genres generally emphasized the unique sounds of those instruments, even when mimicking traditional acoustic instrumentation. Some of the most widely used synthesizers in electronic dance music include the Yamaha DX7, Korg M1, and Roland's Jupiter and SH-101. In addition, the most widely used bass synthesizer is the Roland TB-303, while the most widely used drum machines are Roland's TR-808 and TR-909.
The introduction of MIDI interfaces allowed personal computers to be used as sequencers to control the instruments, and by the mid-1990s, computers were fixtures in multitrack recording studios, augmenting or replacing dedicated recording and editing equipment. By the early 2000s, computer software for audio synthesis and sound manipulation allowed for bedroom EDM studios to become completely computer-based.
Currently the music is now mostly made using software that contains sequencing, sampling, synthesizers, effects, and multitrack recording features. The ability to produce and create has become much easier economically and physically since producers no longer need to buy large amounts of equipment. It sometimes encompasses music not primarily meant for dancing, but derived from the dance-oriented styles.
Venues and performances
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In most modern music, the artist/producers will perform in front of the audiences, but EDM artists are heard mostly through DJs in dance clubs. In the '70s to '90s, clubs would occasionally hire artists/producers to perform live, but on most nights when people went to dance venues they would be listening to DJs. Night clubs and discos such as Paradise Garage and Studio 54 in New York City, or The Warehouse in Chicago would employ DJs for every night they were open (so-called resident DJs), and have their sound system prepared more for DJs than for a live act. By the late '80s to early '90s the DJs themselves were the main attraction. Nightclub attendees began to enjoy the abilities of DJs in how well they could keep the crowd dancing and the groove going. DJs, although not producers, began to produce more of their own material while trying to match the groove or beat already set by what they were playing. This led to DJs making remixes. These remixes made it possible for DJs to extend songs or make a previous non dance song danceable. Thus, DJs began to experiment with artist and singers to create material. Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" remix by the DJ duo DNA and DJ Jellybean Benitez working with very early Madonna demos are a prime example of this. Eventually the recording of DJ sets became highly sought after by nightclub attendees. The DJ would sell the tapes or CD and earn a few dollars in its sale, the sound quality of the DJ set recordings were usually fair to poor, since many of them were recorded using normal commercial tape recorders. As this practice grew, more and more nightclubs began to properly produce DJ sets. Clubs and venues such as Ministry Of Sound, Limelight, and Groove Jet would frequently release full CDs of the DJ sets and have them commercially available in record stores throughout the country. All of this would create a popularity for DJs that would elevate them to the status of a performer or producer. EDM performers (disc jockeys and producers), by the '90s, would start to perform at both indoor and outdoor dance music festivals called "raves". As the '90s drew to a close, more and more DJs and performers/producers branched out and performed on traditional music festivals either "spinning" a DJ set, or actually perform live. More currently however the EDM world has become much more mainstream, with DJs pulling in crowds of 20,000 or more on a daily basis. These concerts are different from raves as they are legal and held in legal and public venues. The concerts are often still referred to as raves.
|BRIT Awards||British Dance Act||1994–2004||The BRIT awards in the UK introduced this new category in 1994, and it was won that first year 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 'Zedd feat. Foxes - Clarity'|
|Grammy Award||Best Dance/Electronica Album||2005–Present||Most recently won (2014) by 'Daft Punk - Random Access Memories'|
|DJ Mag||Top 100 DJs poll||1997–Present||DJ Mag is a UK-based Dance music magazine. Their "Top 100 DJs poll" takes place every year DJ Mag and was first top-spot #1 is presently (2013) claimed by Hardwell. Each year the results are announced and a large award ceremony held|
|Winter Music Conference (WMC)||IDMA: International Dance Music Awards||1998–Present|||
|Dancestar - The World Dance Music Awards||2000 - 2004||Dancestar ran from 2000 to 2002 in London UK and 2002 to 2004 Miami USA. The event was initially broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK with performances by Public Domain of their UK top 10 hit 'Operation Blade', before expanding its reach across the globe in later years using MTV as the platform.|
|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|| Artists were nominated based on sales & airplay, and the winner, chosen by fans in online voting, was David Guetta.|
- Love Parade (1989 - 2010) was hugely popular German dance music festival that ran until 2010 when it was permanently cancelled after a crowd rush at the Love Parade caused the death of 21 people, with at least 500 others injured.
- Boom Festival (1997–Present) in Portugal started out specializing in Psy-Trance, but eventually moved to expand into House and forms of chillout.
- Creamfields (1998–Present) Based in the UK now tours all over Europe as well as hosting their main event in Daresbury, England.
- Sensation White/Black (2000–Present) originally starting in the Netherlands is another event that spread across Europe but did not make the move to the USA until 2012. Dependent on the event (White/Black) attendees would dress solely in that colour.
- Global Gathering (2001–Present) takes place annually at Long Marston Airfield, England and has again spread out across Europe.
- Bang Face (2003–Present) is well known as one of the more broader ranged dance music events that takes place annually in the UK.
- Qlimax (2003–Present), again based in the Netherlands is a leading hardstyle event.
- Tomorrowland (2005–present) takes place in Boom, Belgium has become one of the most notable music festivals in the world due to its elaborate themes and stages.
- Defqon.1 Festival (2003–Present), is one of the biggest hardstyle festivals in the world. Festival takes place in Netherlands.
- Electric Daisy Carnival (1997–present)
- Ultra Music Festival in Florida (1999–present)
- San Francisco LovEvolution technoparade (2004–present)
- Electric Forest Festival in Michigan (2008–present)
- Spring Awakening in Chicago (2008–present)
- Electric Zoo festival in New York City (2009–present)
- Wavefront Music Festival in Chicago (2012–present)
Other festivals, including Lollapalooza and Coachella have increased the number of EDM acts represented. Coachella in particular took an adventurous path giving electronic acts a high profile in a time when they were seldom booked alongside rock bands, in the United States at least. Rawley Bornstein, an MTV music and talent programmer, described EDM as "the new rock and roll," as has Lollapalooza organizer Perry Ferrell. Ray Waddell, touring editor at Billboard magazine, noted that festival promoters have done an excellent job at branding.
- Dance music
- Disco polo
- Timeline of electronic music genres
- List of electronic dance music record labels
- List of electronic musicians
- Rave music
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- Factory Records
- Examples from 1992 to the present can be found via a search for both Dance Music and to a lesser degree"electronic dance music" from 1995 (with quotes) on Google Scholar.
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- "Dave pierce presents national radio show 'Dance Anthems' and daily mix of dance music – the Mix at Six from 1997" url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Pearce#BBC_Radio_1".
- ""After 20 years, electronic dance music has made it big in the US" url=http://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/aug/02/how-rave-music-conquered-america".
- Smith, Rowan (Mar 28, 2012). "The History of the Abbreviation/Acronym EDM".
- ""Dance/Electronica" url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/programmes/genres/music/danceandelectronica/current".
- McLeod, Kembrew. 2001. "Genres, Subgenres, Sub-Subgenres and more: Musical and Social Difference Within Electronic Dance Music Communities." Journal of Popular Music Studies 13, 59–75.
- N.J. basks in the glow of the brave new rave: Electronic dance festivals go mainstream Newark Star Ledger May 16, 2012
- MTO 7.6: Butler, Turning the Beat Around
- Beadle, Jeremy (1993), Will Pop Eat Itself?, Faber and Faber, p. 207, ISBN 0-571-16241-X
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_BRIT_Awards. Missing or empty
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award_for_Best_Dance_Recording. Missing or empty
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award_for_Best_Electronic/Dance_Album. Missing or empty
- http://dancemusic.about.com/od/djs/a/Dj-Mag-Top-100-Djs-Winners.htm. Missing or empty
- http://www.dancestar.com/about_dancestar. Missing or empty
- Unknown (November 18, 2012). "American Music Awards 2012: A big night for Justin Bieber". Online news. CBS news. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- "Love Parade report blames organisers for stampede – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- Maloy, Sarah. "Lollapalooza's Perry Farrell on EDM and Elevating the Aftershow: Video". Billboard. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Hewitt, Michael. Music Theory for Computer Musicians. 1st Ed. U.S. Cengage Learning, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59863-503-4
- Electronic dance music glossary by Moby for USA Today published December 13, 2011