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The Evolution Of Electronic Dance Music


Andrea Domanick, reporter, Las Vegas Sun, and contributor, SPIN Magazine

BY ERIK HELLING -- A decade ago, EDM was "the red-headed stepchild" of popular music. But things have changed. Now, the biggest DJs are making more money than professional athletes, and casinos are engaging in an arms race to build the biggest clubs and book the biggest names. Why has electronic dance music grown so much? And will the growth continue?

Andrea Domanick, a contributor to SPIN magazine, says one decade has brought extensive change to electronic dance music, also known as EDM. In the 1990’s, the EDM culture was called rave culture, and was known primarily for its association with drug use. In 2006, however, the tides changed, according to Domanick. Several factors contributed to its growth, including increased visual stimulation and the rise of social media.

“Fans are inclined to share and find out events on social media to be interacting with their DJs on social media, way more than fans of other music genres,” said Domanick.

Domanick clarifies the difference between EDM DJs and the common conception of what a DJ is. EDM DJs, according to Domanick, are “experience creators”, who play songs in accordance to their audiences’ mood. VJs, she adds, cue up visual stimulations in response to the audience and the music the DJ is playing.

EDM has become a billion dollar industry, and Domanick states that most of that revenue is from live performances, like the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is quickly becoming a world hub for EDM, and famous DJs are starting to prefer Vegas to older hubs like Ibiza in Spain.

“The highest grossing DJ in the world, Tiesto, who earned 20 million dollars in 2012, declared in an interview with Rolling Stone for 2013 to be ‘The Year of Vegas’,” said Domanick.

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