EDM took the world by storm, and not just the regular “I live in Russia and it’s winter” kind of storm, I mean these massive, global-warming induced superstorms that are like three disasters all shoved into one. As an Uber driver I constantly observe people and it has become clear to me that EDM transcends any kind of background or age group.
This is partially due to your basic band-wagoning and trend following, but another huge aspect of EDMs rise in popularity is because of how diverse the term “EDM” really is. Where average listeners have a pretty defined idea of what genres like rock or rap entail, the term “EDM’ by nature encompasses innumerable subgenres. By default, if something sounds like it wasn’t made with real instruments, most people will simply refer to it as “EDM”. Whether or not the type of music in question is actually EDM is irrelevant. What is relevant though is that the rise of EDM and all its sounds have lead to a general open-mindedness towards music. A mindset which is now in a better position to flourish than ever before.
Ages ago in a time period known as the early 2000’s there weren’t things like YouTube or Spotify to fuel an endless thirst for new music. Unless copyright infringement laws weren’t a factor is your exploration, you still had to end up paying around $.99 per song if you wanted to really expand your library. This lack commercially viable way to acquire new music in bulk along with the separation of music by genre lead to the separation of fanbases. Gangsta rap, punk rock and bubblegum pop appear so different in sound and subject matter that all but the most adept audiophiles wouldn’t want to spend their money on something they might not like. People found a style they loved and stuck with it.
A little over ten years later though, there is a nearly unlimited amount of music available for free (as long as you don’t mind ads) just a click away. New music is constantly being added streaming sites and artists with less than 100 followers on Soundcloud are making music up to par with the people who have millions. With the help of services such as these, the barriers put in place by genres are dissolving faster than ever and people are beginning to realize just how similar opposing genres of music really are, which in turn leads to some very important realizations about music as a whole.
Every genre of popular EDM has an older style of music that it is directly related to. Dubstep is completely an offshoot of reggae (It’s dub you can step to. Get it?) The term “Riddim” which now refers to a subgenre of dubstep was originally used to describe a type of downtempo reggae that was heavy on the bass.
Remember when Deep House had its own little explosion a couple of years ago? Well the beat that served as the foundation for Deep House was completely stolen from disco. So much so that another subgenre has come about known as Nu-Disco, which refers to the styles of house that maintain that beat in addition to being driven by 70’s-esque piano and guitar.
This “theft” doesn’t diminish the value of Riddims or Nu-Disco, it simply presents an opportunity for their fans to broaden their horizons and approach something they love with some historical knowledge. As an audiophile myself, I can say with full confidence that understanding where your favorite genre of EDM came from makes it 1000 times more enjoyable to listen to. Music isn’t developed in laboratory. There has never been a genre that has simply appeared out of nowhere. Like in biology, music has continuously involved since the first humans realized that sound can be manipulated to serve a purpose in society. Music has always been a product of whats come before and what was happening when it was made. If one is to truly understand music, they must understand both.
People have always danced to music. Whether it was Swing in the 1950’s, waltz in the 1700’s, or EDM today, dance music has transcended time. You can find the roots of dance music dug deep into humanity’s history. Everyone has seen the stereotypical scene in movies of primitive people dancing around a fire, honoring the Earth with endless drumming and chanting. If you think about it, house and techno are exactly like that kind of music. They’re just repetitive drum beats with different melodic ideas on top. Those all night dances by the fire are also quite similar to festivals. The sounds may not have been tailor-made inside a computer to fit the beat exactly, and we now have stages instead of bonfires, but the idea is the same. The music itself is inherently tribal, and when we come together clad in our most eccentric clothing to enjoy it, we have formed a new tribe. The shamans leading these dances were the first DJs and we continue to honor their spirit hundreds of years later with music and dance.