There has been a lot of talk in the past few years about electronic dance music ('EDM') being the next big thing, an opinion that is more or less unanimous amongst music industry stalwarts and artists alike. We could safely compare the state and growth of electronic music now to the hip-hop scene from the mid to late 90s - ecstatic growth in popularity, rising digital sales and a sub-culture all of its own.
If there was really a doubt in anyone’s mind about the future of 'EDM', they need look no further than the catapulting of the euro style synth infused house that has surged into the limelight with the likes of David Guetta, Afrojack and Calvin Harris taking over production duties for many mainstream pop artists. This is also most likely due to America’s new found love for electronic music which has existed in Europe since the late 80s. If it goes stateside it goes worldwide… right?
So that brings us to the point. Why this exponential growth in electronic music? Why the sudden surge of artists, music and gigs in this genre? The answer, in my opinion is pretty straight forward. Technology.
First, the internet has opened up avenues and has given young people access to a host of music that would have probably gone unnoticed 15 years ago. The music we were fed was essentially handpicked by record label executives and handed to listeners in a platter – take it or leave it. Not so much anymore. You always have a choice on the internet. Recording companies have now learnt to catch trends instead of dictating them. If a label can catch a trend early, support and ride with it, they are going to be in a commanding position when it has become a phenomenon.
Secondly, and more importantly – 'EDM' is the future because technology has enabled every kid sitting in his bedroom to be a music producer/DJ. ‘The Bedroom Producer’ is the way the music world is going. Call it unfortunate or cuddle your fellow music purists in sorrow, but that’s just the way it is. Electronic music is now a DIY art form. Let’s be honest… haven’t we all dreamt of being rock stars? Well, the only difference is that now you can actually be one sitting at home. With the advent of the bedroom producer, the doors are open to so much more music and so many new ideas. Don’t forget, the chunk of 'EDM' heavyweights in the game today, started with just a laptop and some headphones.
The more commercially friendly electronic dance music gets, the more the new generation of producers will try creating it. However, this time around… it’s easier to be another Flux Pavillion than it was back in the day!
Words: Krishna Kaul (Label manager at ContraBass Records. An electronic music label set up by Universal Music India)
Image Credit: Sunburn
02 May 2012