What led the world to this chart-topping genre of music?

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is now at the top of the list when it comes to mainstream tastes in music. If you’ve been listening to music through any platform in the last few years – be it online, radio, television or festivals, you’ve been bombarded with a slew of electronic dance music DJs and producers. The most popular being names like David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Skrillex.  And now it’s truly become a worldwide phenomenon.

If you notice the top 100 Billboard charts, they’ve been taken over by collaborations and duo’s ranging from Calvin Harris with ‘Sweet Nothing’ or even Avicii & Flo-Rida’s ‘Good Feeling’. If mainstream music is your thing, EDM has to be too.

The rise of dance music has influenced pop music itself (and vice versa) and more and more pop icons are turning towards electro beats to guarantee hits. Producer David Guetta, a pioneer in the practice of marrying EDM to pop, cultivated mainstream success by collaborating with stars including Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, and FergieBeyonce’s  ‘Run the World (Girls)’ is heavily influenced  from the Diplo project and Major Lazer’s ‘Pon De Floor’ and features writing by Diplo and Afrojack.  Other examples include the dubstep breakdown of Britney Spear’s ‘Hold It Against Me’ or even Taylor Swift’s ‘Trouble’. (Didn’t think we’d be mentioning Taylor Swift here, now did you?)

By using stars to promote the genre, and stars using the genre to promote sales, it’s a win-win. And now the whole world has picked up on it. Festivals around the world are clamouring for dance-music heavyweights to play at their fests, and they come at a premium price, which people are now willing to pay to see their favourite DJ at a stage near them.


So what led to the spread of this craze?

Dance music achieved limited popular exposure in America during the mid-1990s. 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 revolutionizing their home turf. But, instead of EDM finding wider mainstream success, it was relegated to the margins of the industry.

In 2011, reports said the American dance music scene had finally reached critical mass with a “new rave generation”. This also meant a new generation of EDM & mainstream music consumers which opened doors to more and more artists.

And now, with festivals like Ultra Music Festival that have expanded from a one day fest to spread over 2 weekends and the huge popularity in the States, the love for dance music has spread far and wide. Most EDM listeners think of Miami, New York City and Las Vegas as the dance music capitals of America, and therefore the world.

So as a trendsetter, the US has done the EDM industry a huge favour. And as for now, the epidemic is still spreading!

Here’s a short film directed by Heather Dougherty and Meredith Dobes that shows the evolution of the EDM culture as a whole: