The acronym EDM stands for electronic dance music. Electronic dance music, or EDM, is the umbrella term for modern dance music that is DJ produced, rather than created by a band. Its history can be traced all the way back to the disco era. Not so much for its sound, but because disco was the period when extended dance mixes for songs were first created and played in clubs to keep patrons dancing all night long. The genre began to evolve into forms like techno, house and trance music over the years until it ultimately became what we now call EDM.
The music currently termed EDM gained its first popularity in the UK, back when it was sometimes called electronica. Artists like Underworld, Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Chemical Brothers all achieved some measure of success in the US, but not nearly as much as they garnered in Europe.
Festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza started featuring EDM music in some of its venues before EDM music-only festivals began to take shape in the late 90s. These new gatherings included Electric Daisy Carnival, which started in Los Angeles in 1997 before relocating to Las Vegas. The Ultra Music Festival has also been going strong in Florida since 1999. A more recent entry into the EDM festival circuit is Electric Forest Festival, which started in Michigan in 2008. These festivals feature wild dancing and equally wild and colorful clothing. They're an experience, as much as a concert.
Another big factor in the proliferation of EDM has been the collaboration between electronic music artists, like David Guetta, and various pop stars. Now that R&B divas are incorporating electronic musical elements into their pop songs, the style is becoming more palatable to the average American music fan.
Of late, EDM artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex have also begun landing their pictures on major rock magazine covers. This could be the beginning of an era where the most popular DJs are legitimate rock stars. Also, the age of your typical EDM fan is very young. Many of these kids are not going to rock shows like their parents were.
The popularity of EDM shows no signs of slowing down. Many young people are growing up with EDM the way previous generations had embraced rock & roll. Ready or not, the EDM generation is alive and well and here to stay.
Good news is you don’t have to wait for summer festivals to experience some fantastic EDM shows. The Winter White Tour now touring. East Coasters, this is the best in New York entertainment. Check out Steve Aoki along with Mat Zo, DSC CHK, and DVDJ Dread, January 31st, at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.
Words by contributing writer Jerry Marrello (Turning Stone Operations Manager)