Something you hear all too often when discussing music is how certain genres are “dead.” Recently I’ve heard people say dubstep is dead, rock is dead, jazz is dead, real hip hop is dead. EDM is dead. At a certain point, I bet someone has said every single genre and subgenre is dead.
Good thing that doesn’t make it true.
The fact is no genre of music has ever just disappeared from the Earth. The music scene is constantly changing and fads are definitely very real (especially in a culture fueled by technology), but the reason genres of music switch places in the spotlight rather than simply vanishing is because each genre of music speaks to a different group of people.
A common adage is that music is a universal language. While this adage can be proven false by those truly educated in music, what is true about music is that it transcends anything superficial about a person. It doesn’t matter what you look like or who you love, if a type of music calls to you then that is something you share with everyone else who feels the same.
So even though the number of blog posts about how “EDM is dead” have been on the rise recently, here’s a few reasons why electronic music isn’t going anywhere.
1. Music of the Millenials
House music may have come about in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but it had never reached the same kind of attention before millennials were old enough to listen to it. Every generation that has been able to enjoy popular music through a mass produced medium (live concerts, records, radio, etc.) has had a genre of music that defined it. The silent generation had jazz. The baby boomers lucked out with rock n roll. Generation X had rap. Every time there has been a dramatic shift in the world of music its been a result of the younger generation adopting a new style that is looked down up by their elders. Well we millennials have electronic music.
There are two things that really separate millennials from generations past. The first is technology. The second is an emphasis on leisure. We live in a time where someone can have groceries delivered to their door by pressing buttons on a device that also makes calls, and bottle service and other such luxurious VIP options did not exist at clubs or anywhere until the millennial generation grew up. At first this may sound shallow, but it’s actually something to be grateful for. Whereas the silent generation was defined by the Great Depression and WWII, millennials get Apple watches and huge music festivals. As a result their music might not have the same revolutionary flare, but it sure is fun to dance to it.
2. Quality Over Quantity
The reasons genres of music attract different people is largely related to the qualities that style of music embodies. Music is created with intention regardless of who made it or how unsubstantial it may seem at first. The intention behind it may not go deeper than making a song that sounds cool, but if that’s the case, then it’s likely that the people who enjoy it will enjoy it for equally simple reasons. When one examines the qualities that extend from electronic music, the cynics will immediately list excessive partying and other such misconceptions. However, the people who are actually involved in the scene know that electronic music actually exemplifies qualities such as friendship, community, and most of all, fun. Those are qualities that extend into an EDM-head’s daily life, and that’s something the true community will never let go of.
3. Technology is Your Friend
One thing people who proclaim the demise of music don’t often consider is the permanence of recording technology. 40 years ago, if someone actually found and destroyed every single copy and recording of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, the world would actually be devoid of that album. Even if the Beatles decided to re-record all the songs the album wouldn’t be the same. Fortunately though it is not 40 years ago and we have digital downloads and streaming services. I don’t know exact percentages, but I would guess more than half of music is listened to through digital means today. If your laptop gets stolen or destroyed, you can sign into your iCloud account on a different computer provided you didn’t already have your files backed up on an external hard drive. Technology is only and always moving forward, so as easy as it is to listen to music nowadays it will be even easier in the future; and the people who love electronic music won’t ever stop listening to it.
4. Return to Sender
The first point that was made in this article was that what makes genres of music so influential is their ability to appeal to people. That’s what at heart of all music. People. If there was actually nobody on Earth who liked a certain kind of music, it would not exist. Not only would nobody enjoy listening to it, no one would enjoy making it. Despite what any EDM blogger may be feeling about the state of the music industry, there are still millions of people buying rave tickets, downloading the latest tracks, and staying up for two days straight in the studio.
It doesn’t matter what happens to the world, electronic music will live on through them.