I make music. It’s usually some form of hard techno and sometimes house. I’ve even dabbled in trap. But what do those genre’s mean on the radio? Not much. It all falls under the umbrella term EDM. Kind of like, back in the old days, every form of electronic dance music was called techno (it still is in some circles). I think in a lot of ways, EDM is what we make of it. Initially, I found myself fighting the term, because it ignores the specific titles of the genres I love. Like the magic that is a real, groovy house track… Or the happy anxiety that hits during an abstract and creative techno track. However, I also realize, as the sole person who is responsible for marketing my music, that the goal of an artist today is to give people the opportunity to experience their art in a sea of other artists doing the same thing. As an artist, I also understand that at the end of day, the goal for this type of music is to give people the soundtrack to a good time.
Today, that means EDM. In the 70’s that meant disco. By the 90’s, it was called electronica. Each era will have it’s own name for the things we love. However, it doesn’t mean it has to be bad. I think as consumers and as DJs, we have the option of choosing what to support.
Are you playing a track in your DJ mix because you think it will get retweeted by a person who, A) didn’t even make the track you played in your mix and, B) doesn’t care if you played the track on your Soundcloud with 500 followers because their publicist has already made sure the track got 40k plays in a day?
Are you buying the song on iTunes because you really like it, or is it simply stuck in your head from heavy radio play and the two-faced industry of music “bloggers” who post songs based on how much they’re paid (payola)?
By no means am I bashing pop music. I love pop music. Michael Jackson’s Thirller & Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories are among the best records ever made. They are even pop AND dance records to boot! I’m bashing blind support of a commercial machine which doesn’t care about you. Dubstep started off as a rather cool music style, and slowly formed into the madness that is Skrillex’s brand of brostep. However, take note, that Skrillex is out there, doing his thing everyday. I think that’s cool. The real problem is all the people who have dissected his every sound to copy him. A similar problem happened with house music with artists like Swedish House Mafia. Again, I’m not saying your genre of music is bad. I’m saying, supporting copycats and trend chasers is usually something that will not offer a rich level of artistic quality in the long run.
If you’re a DJ… Dig deeper. Find the deep cuts. Don’t be afraid to play a “no name” artist. They’ll not only be more grateful, but you’re also helping them get one step closer to the success they deserve.
If you’re a listener, remember that artists rely on your support. I know you have a lot of options, but try to rely on your own ears for what you want… not “curated” lists created by corporate suits who only want to make more money.
So, what is EDM? It’s whatever is financially successful right now. Let’s try to make it some damn good, hot jams.