Electronic Dance Music: Its a Movement

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Photo courtesy of Ferdinand Villadiego

Electronic Music Enters Mainstream Music

Electronic music has been making a splash in popular music played over the radio today and is being widely utilized by many different artists of several genres of music.  Electronic dance music or, “EDM,” has made its way into the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, according to http://www.mixmag.net, the “World’s Dance Music and Clubbing Destination.”

Mixmag published that the Billboard Music Awards announced that for the first time, EDM award categories will be added this year, including top EDM artist, song, and album.  There have been many debates over the electronic dance music genre since the dissemination of EDM into mainstream music, mostly among members of the electronic music community.  The debate essentially has been about what is EDM? 

Electronic music has so many different variations from the production techniques to the music’s speed to the beat being spun.  Some of the more popular sub-genres of EDM include techno, “electro” house, and the ever-popular dub step genre.  A DJ by the name of “Skrillex,” has had the greatest influence over other DJS on the rise of dub step in the mainstream music scene over the last few years, giving him the reputation of being one of the best dub step DJs today.  According to Forbes Magazine, Skrillex has already won three Grammy awards, making 2012 one of the first few years to award electronic music categories.

The EDM phenomenon began just a few short years ago and has already virtually taken over several mainstream media outlets.  Today electronic dance music of all sub-genres is being featured in blockbuster movies, like the new Ron Howard film, “Rush.”  Television commercials, like many K-Mart “back to school” ads and a new Halloween Jolly Ranchers ad play dub step music and songs all over the radio by artists like Miley Cyrus, Brittany Spears, and Bruno Mars all incorporate electronic dance music.  As written on Mixmag’s website,

“Electronic dance music is a whole new movement.”

So What is Electronic Dance Music?

Electronic music is exactly that: electronic.  It isn’t made by instruments but rather on a computer using production software.  It is made mixing different beats, synthesized sounds, and different drum beats.  The speed at which electronic music is played at as well as the different beats, or mixes, made decides what type of electronic music it is, like dub step, techno, or “electro” house.  EDM typically is played in dance-based environments, primarily dance clubs.

EDM shows are often  considered to be “raves,” due  to the nature of the electronic music scene, the genre has been considered taboo by the mainstream music scene since its arrival in the music scene in the 1980s.  However, electronic music is not only popular in club scenes. 

Professional belly dancer, Rachel Case, said,

“I first heard of EDM when I was belly-dancing.  It was an excellent musical classification that helped promote a new style of dance.  I think, because of the broad audience of EDM, it made different types of dance meld together too.” 

EDM is also being incorporated in rap and hip hop music, pop music, and rock genres, like hard rock and industrial rock.  Case also said,

“A lot of belly dance now includes pops and locks commonly seen in break dancing and forms of rave dance. Because of the rise in popularity of EDM, some composers have specifically altered some music to fit in with belly dance culture.”

How EDM Can Potentially Revolutionize Music Today

Local electronic music producer and DJ, Jacob Feldman, said that,

“EDM really has no boundaries.  There are so many different sounds you can make and so many ways to harmonize and elaborate existing music genres, it’s really incredible.  There are just no rules; it can go with almost any type of music, even sad types of music, and make it danceable and fun.”

The production of EDM is typically fast due to the technological advances in production equipment and the fact the EDM is made primarily with computers and mixing boards.  The limitless sounds and synths available in electronic music give producers and DJs the ability to give the listeners exactly what they want.  Electronic music genres can be incorporated in just about anything, like pop, hip hop, jazz, rock, and reggae.  Mistakes can be fixed with the click of a button and every beat in electronic music is malleable.

Avid electronic music listener, Jennifer Dawn Olmstead, said that,

“EDM not only describes the music itself, but also the people that listen and follow the music.  Ravers, if you want to call them that, or kids that just like to dance and dress in bright colors, come alive at electronic music shows.  It’s a whole different culture from what we’re used to in mainstream music, everyone is just so nice and loves the music.  It’s not just a type of music; I think it’s a way of life.”

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