Reasons Why EDM Is a Real Genre and Not Just a Marketing Term

Olyvia Salyer

Once upon a time, long ago (like three years ago), electronic music fans used genres to classify their music. Words like “dark ambient,” “italo disco” or “gabber.” Your parents called it “techno.” But now that the electronic music industry has exploded comes the dissemination of the great equalizer, EDM, used openly by brands, publicists and pretty much anyone looking to dry hump the newest musical trend.

Electronic music fans are standing here rolling our eyes. First off, EDM is a pretty much the dumbest name for a genre since Donk. You couldn’t at least choose something slightly more descriptive? Maybe an acronym that doesn’t sound like an STD? Well, we’re fucking stuck with it now, and that’s a problem. EDM has gotten so huge and all encompassing that it’s surpassed mere marketing tactics. It’s a real genre now. Hell, it’s a way of life, complete with mainstream cultural appeal and all the trappings that come with it. Here are some reason why.


Jazz was the “devil’s music” in the 20s, rock ‘n’ roll was evil in the 50s, and 80s rap pretty much directly caused crack use and teen pregnancies. These days, EDM is a harbinger of hate. Live events take place in huge warehouse spaces littered with 17-year-olds surviving a mild OD. Nothing your parents say should stop you from raving out to Tiesto at 3am in a neon tutu. Besides, they’ll come around eventually and, six years from now, end up asking you if Skrillex is cool. They always do. Which brings us to our next point…


This is where the money comes from. If you go to weird ravey things, you noticed this summer that all of the sudden there were kids at these events, especially the festivals. And I mean kids. Like fourteen years old. The weird thing was that these tweens actually knew the music, and were decked out like mini-midget-ravers. I don’t know where the parents were, but it’s definitely an indicator that this music is no longer just for the nerdier fringes of the 18-26 demographic. We’ve already started to tap the next generation, and EDM hasn’t even come close to reaching its peak yet. Soon we’ll be selling EDM snap bracelets and lunchboxes and school dances will look like Go.


Yesterday, I checked the Billboard Top 200 and Skrillex, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia, and the fucking UKF Dubstep 2012 compilation were all on the list (toward the end, but they were still there). iTunes top 100 also featured Swedish House Mafia and Alex Clare. The biggest names in electronic music are invading the mainstream, and the mainstream masses will demand that this new music is labeled as something. Right now it’s Dance/Club Play, which is even nerdier than EDM.


There will always be a divide between pop and EDM, but it’s pretty hard to deny that pop music is closing in on a dance music sound. Mainstream artists like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber are hiring producers to include more “wub-wubs” in their music. And several EDM artist (read: David Guetta and Calvin Harris) have even fully crossed over into the pop realm to produce top hits with the likes of Rihanna,, and Nicki Minaj (really though, the pop world can keep David Guetta).


All the parties and live shows, the drug culture, the fashion choices. EDM as a whole stretches far beyond just a type of music. It is an “experience.” There is nothing like being moved to tears with five other rave-babies backstage at your first Armin Van Buuren show, or sharing Kandi with a circle of random dudes while waiting for Rusko to take the decks. It’s all about the love, man. Peace. Love. Unity. Respect.


With a foundation built upon ten or discreet sub-genres, EDM is probably gonna stick around for a while. Even if tomorrow the dubstep bubble finally bursts and the world comes to a consensus that screechy, wubby music full of predictable drops is stupid, EDM has still got trance, all the genres of house, drum & bass, garage, techno, minimal techno, disco, and more. Plus, new genres are being invented all the time. I bet by spring we’ll have an altogether new genre combining bluegrass vocals with cosmic disco beats or some shit.



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