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How EDM Went From Underground To Mainstream

| August 09, 2016

EDM used to be a completely underground scene with random hits that would come above ground. In the 90s, we all remember hearing Sandstorm and Satisfaction at almost every Bat-Mitzvah, wedding, and sweet-sixteen we attended.

The progression of EDM from underground to mainstream didn't happen over night.

In the late 80s, house music was the biggest thing to hit the club scene in Europe. While the music was a huge success, the 2am closing time of clubs were not enjoyed by the people who wanted to keep the party going.

Underground raves came about to host nearly 10,000 people each night who wanted to enjoy the music without the strict closing guidelines. It all started as just house and techno, but like any genre, with time comes the development of it.

Now instead of these underground raves, we have giant festivals with hundreds of thousands of people at major venues.

While the music is always great, there is a lot of more effort put into these festivals to create a spectacle with all the stages and the lights. Instead of being in a warehouse with techno for hours on end, there’s giant stages that shoot fire and throw paint at you.



If you go to the main stage, the reality of how mainstream it is will really hit hard. The crowds are endless, and the songs are often repeated set to set regardless of the DJ. 

Younger generations who are getting into EDM expect more than just music, they want to be entertained. They want to be caked in the face. They want epic laser light shows.

Part of the widespread success is that there is more money to be made in the EDM industry than almost any other music genre.

With EDM being on the forefront, companies now use electronic songs to target our generation with commercials.

The only problem is that the DJs don’t necessarily get the credit. When “Where R U Now” by JACK U came out, everyone just called it Justin Bieber's song. But nice work Diplo and Skrillex, who won two Grammys in the electronic music category for it.

2011-2012 was the big turning point for EDM. Swedish House Mafia became the first electronic act to sell out Madison Square Garden. Fast forward to now, with the movie “We Are Your Friends” based entirely on the EDM industry. That was a big red flag that we had officially hit the peak of mainstream territory.  

If you turn on the radio, one of the first songs you'll hear is something from our genre. We are slowly but surely taking over. Who knows where we'll go from here but we're excited to see where the future takes us.

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