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EDM sucks. But why?

EDM Sucks! But why? | Conductr Ableton Live Controller for iPad

EDM sucks. No big news. It’s been said thousands of times in the past 5 years. But does it really suck SO badly? Is it the music itself that annoys us? Or is its success?

Electronic Dance Music
Doesn’t mean electronic dance music.

“EDM” is the acronym for “Electronic Dance Music”. You already knew that, right? But the thing is, NOBODY thinks of EDM as electronic dance music. At least not solely nor literally.

If EDM really meant “electronic dance music” ONLY, we would talk about, let’s say, Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder’s cold-as-ice cosmic-disco 1977 smash hit “I Feel Love” as avant la lettre EDM. And we don’t, do we?

If the word REALLY meant what it is supposed to mean, Fingers Inc., Jeff Mills, Phuture, or even Underground Resistance, to name just a few, would be EDM. But they are not.

Actually, from the noisiest, raspiest industrial techno to the most mellifluous, soulful deep house, almost everything we’ve been dancing to for the last three decades should be tagged as EDM. If it only meant electronic dance music. But it doesn’t.

EDM is mostly used as a referral to a very specific kind of electronic dance music. Or best, to a certain way of marketing it.

Strictly speaking, you can not even define EDM musically. You just can’t. Skrillex. Guetta. deadmau5: rock-fuelled, mid-range-obsessed brostep armageddon; mammoth-sized synthetic-silk progressive house; hyper-compressed epic electro-trance drama. None of them share many common music elements. Except that they all sound quite easy, slightly cheesy, extremely punchy and very, very BIG. And it’s easier to remember the guy behind the knobs’ face —or the Molly-wasted Mickey Mouse mask— than the music itself.

EDM is not as much a genre as its is a stardom. And THAT’s what really bothers most EDM haters.

The industry of jealousy
Face it: you’d like to be that guy

Most EDM videoclips remind me of those of the hair metal bands back in the eighties. As a teen, I could easily project all my hormone-driven party, booze and outrageousness’ wish on those videos where the whole focus were the supposedly everyday images of the bands members dealing with fame, luxury, girls and, yes, party, booze and outrageousness. Music was just a background. What really mattered was the lifestyle. The object of desire of the audience. The reason why all of us wanted to play in a band. It was not just about the music. Music was the medium to get things: sharp clothes, fast cars, suntanned big titted California girls and, again, lots of partying. Being successful in the music business meant being an untouchable, licensed-to-everything party animal. It was the ultimate worship of the rockstar, an obscene “look where I got and you never will” that we, pimpled idiots, loved to death. Everything was based on jealousy.

And jealousy is one of the main motivations on EDM’s marketing. As it has always been on the mainstream music plateau. Everybody loves success.

The ultimate reterritorialization
Stop moaning: things will never be the same again

Before social media and EDM, electronic dance music was faceless. Sure, you got your Ritchie Hawtin, your Fatboy Slim, your Tiësto. But they were the exceptions to the rule. No one cared too much about WHO did it, but about WHAT he/she did. Or WHERE he/she did it —labels used to be important, as a guarantee of a particular sound. It was all about the tracks.

No faces. No Instagram. No selfies. Even today, not many know what they danced to during the original UK rave scene era, circa 1988, when DJs played mysterious, nameless dubplates. There was a whole ethos based on anonymity. Anonymity was a statement, a sign of confrontation against mainstream music’s rules of marketing. Deliberate ignorance of who made the music we loved —or at least how he/she looked like— was, as some post-structuralists would put it, a deterritorialization of the leisure industry; a revolutionary occupation of a symbolic space originally conceived as a controlled environment for marketing.

All that ended with EDM. EDM is the ultimate reterritorialization. It is a ferocious, brutal appropriation of a collective imaginary conveniently adapted for massive consumption. It’s the electronic dance music mythos for your 14 years old nephew.

But who’s to blame? The artists? The music? None of them. Not directly, at least. EDM is the music industry forging ahead regardlessly. When there’s nothing much left to sell to a certain target, you got to move on and create a new market. Create a need. Today, EDM covers most contemporary teenagers’ needs without referring to music that even their parents like —pop, rock, hip-hop, r&b. It makes them feel different. It makes them feel themselves. It is all about identity. It is tribal marketing. Plain and simple.

Why EDM sucks
Some haters’ reasons

A lot about —and specially against— EDM has been said in the last four years since the whole phenomenon started (as some specialists have pointed, I’m taking Swedish House Mafia first public play of “One” at Ultra Fest on 2010 as the “official” big bang of EDM).

Some of the reasons used by longtime electronic music listeners have been already treated in this post. But let’s take a look to what the non-specialized media said. Like Rolling Stone’s Italian edition did on its polemic “Rocker vs. DJ” videoclip.


1. EDM is not real music

“Electronic noises you’re trying to pass off as music”. Wow, wow, wow! C’mon, REALLY? After 100 years of electronic music —starting, at least conceptually, with Italian (!) Futurist Luigi Russolo’s “The Art of Noises” manifesto in 1913— and you STILL think that way? Tizio, you got a problem. And it deals with having your ears on hibernation for no less than half a century. But do not worry; a clarifying post about the music/non-music issue is on the way. Please, subscribe to our newsletter.

2. EDM is drug-driven/drug-inviting

Yes, EDM is drug-driven and drug inviting. Just like most rave music has been since 1988. Just like Disco. Just like Rock music. Punk. Heavy Metal. Psychedelia. Reggae. Just like any other popular music socially related to youth, party, gigs and clubs. You name it. Welcome to the real world.

3. EDM sounds all the same

No, it doesn’t. Unless you have your ears on hibernation for no less than half a century (see point 1).
Anyway, let’s try it again.

Check this:

And then check this:


Do they sound the same to you? If they do, stop reading this and go to the otorhinolaryngologist. Urgently.

But hey, anything goes, so let me play the devil’s advocate. Let’s say that it sounds all the same. Actually, that’s what can be concluded after listening to the hilarious —and quite tendentious, I’d say— “Epic Mashleg” released half a year ago by Sweden’s Dahleri:

The mashup, featuring 16 different EDM tracks mixed in one single minute, is brilliant. And yes, it seems like they all sound the same. But couldn’t the same joke been done with 25 minimal techno gimmicks? Or 50 old school jungle tracks using the “Amen” break? Or 100 gabber hits? Yes, it could be done.

Once something is successful, shit happens and dozens of newcomer clones arise. That’s a pretty obvious market rule. It’s been happening for decades, both in the pop and the electronic music fields. They call it “trend”. You should know that. And, once more, so what? As someone wrote recently —sorry about the absence of credit: I honestly do not remember where I read it—, when talking about dance music’s value, “it’s not the shock of the NEW. It’s the shock of the NOW” that counts.

4. EDM is easy, cheesy and commercial

Yes, you can say that. Just like 90% of the music featured on the charts. It’s been like that since the music industry was created. What was Elvis but a cheesy, whitey-ass, middle-class take on rock’n’roll? EDM is a cheesy take on electronic dance music just like Blink 182 was to punk-rock. That’s the main difference between “underground” and “mainstream” music. It’s nothing new, not even in electronic dance music —note that I’m not using capital letters. What about the cheesy take on Hip-House that ruled the European music market in the 80s and 90s under the Europop tag? Italo-disco, anyone? Happy Hardcore? Trance? Progressive House? EDM is just another chapter in a long going story. What’s the main difference now? That it is happening in the States. And, although being the birthplace of House and Techno, the US has no commercial electronic dance music —no capitals, again— tradition. But it has a strong Hip-Hop and R&B market presence. So they should be used to electronic music —yes, surprise: most Hip-Hop and R&B ARE electronic music too!

The thing is that in the US most longtime electronic dance music listeners have been historically related to the underground. And we all know how you feel when your favorite flavor is edulcorated, commercially wrapped and sold to a much wider audience. It hurts. It hurts badly.

5. DJs are not musicians

That’s right, more or less. But who on Earth believes that partygoers give a damn about it? DJs have a goal: make people dance. And they do it pretty well. How many DJs think of themselves as “transcendent” art makers? Not many, I’m afraid. If you want art —as conceived under a 19th Century-minded view—, go to a museum. We’re talking about partying, here.

6. “No talent is required to perform Electronic Dance Music” (as read somewhere)

Oh, my! Again: REALLY? What are you expecting? Rick Wakeman playing for the dancefloor? Did you ever hear about punk? Where have you been for the last 40 years?

This kind of sentence reminds me of my mom when watching a Jackson Pollock painting says: “This could be done by a 3 year old”. As I use to reply when that happens: “Well, show me a 3 years old who makes Abstract Expressionism. I want to be his manager”.

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  1. kevin 2 April, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Well said, well said indeed.

    • Oriol Rosell 27 May, 2014 at 3:05 pm - Reply


  2. dude 25 May, 2014 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Yes, hip-hop can count as electronic music, but NOT R&B. R&B died in the 70s when Stax records went out of business.

    • Oriol Rosell 27 May, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Well, THAT R&B certainly died. But there’s THE OTHER R&B. Or at least, what they tag as “R&B” almost everywhere, from the Billboard hit parades to the Grammy awards categories. You know what I mean, right? Rihana, Aaliyah… More info here:
      Thanks for your comment!

    • Anonymous 29 May, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      LOL Don’t even compare hip hop to EDM. They are not the same.
      Hip hop is much slower & has lyrics. The only thing hip hop has in common with EDM is a repetitive sample that loops throughout the whole song.

      • Oriol Rosell 2 June, 2015 at 5:06 pm - Reply

        Agree. Actually, that’s exactly what I’m saying: it is related to electronic dance music as it is also made basically with loops electronically layered.
        Thanks for your comment!

  3. Prasanna Kancherlapalli 27 May, 2014 at 1:50 am - Reply

    You’ve got a point, but EDM won’t last. At least not in the mainstream. Sure it’s popular at the moment, but I can guarantee that it will start to decline around the second half of this decade (around 2016 or 2017). Nothing remains popular forever, especially with how repetitive and nauseating mainstream music is nowadays. And even people in their 20s (like myself) hate todays mainstream music. Right now, the EDM movement is exactly the same as what disco was in the 70s. Eventually EDM will lose it’s mainstream appeal and fade into obscurity.

    • Oriol Rosell 27 May, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Yes, I do agree: EDM as we know it will fade out at some point. But it will be replaced by something else, be it electronic or not. It’s pure market dynamics. Thanks for your comment!

  4. kaley 12 June, 2014 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    I don’t think edm will fade that soon … i see it being around for a while

  5. Wencesalao Ciuro 10 July, 2014 at 6:06 am - Reply

    there’s a fucking kid called marla olmstead or so, she is an abstract expressionist at 3 yrs old, she sucks, pollock sucks too.

    • Oriol Rosell 11 July, 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply


  6. Erick 21 July, 2014 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Do you really want to know what sucks? your website. Slow and ugly as hell1!!!

    • Oriol Rosell 22 July, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

      Hi Erick,
      We’re sorry the website design is not up to your standards. About it being a bit slowly: we’re constantly improving it.
      Thanks for your comment!

  7. snahkist 28 August, 2014 at 8:23 am - Reply

    music is a subjective affair. something is always going to suck to someone, somewhere. i don’t like edm. or house music, breakbeat, dubstep, techno, hardcore, drum & bass et al. i prefer more traditional forms of music. the fact that i don’t like it does not mean that it has no value. it means it does not belong to me. defending one’s taste in music (or any form of expression for that matter) from this perspective is, in a sense therefore, indefensible. you’re either preaching to the converted or appealing to deaf ears. perhaps the more pertinent question is, why do you need to defend something that you enjoy?

    • Conductr Team 28 August, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Hi Snakhist,
      I do totally agree with you. Personally, I don’t like EDM neither. But what worries me is the kind of reasoning that most critics are using. I just thought that a couple of things should be cleared.
      Thank you very much for your comment.

  8. Systemize 12 September, 2014 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I think you should have gone into more detail about the underground. I think it would have paid more mind to mention that the underground cares more about the sound, or art of it, rather than the image it gathers from media. Although you did write in good detail about the aspects and comercialism of EDM, i think you could have said more about how the underground is driving force behind many of the successfuly artists that are out there and their styles that they play wherever they may be. That “Daleri – Epic Mashleg” is a good example of how even mainstream artists can see the overused sounds and bpms that everyone is copying, but the lack of mention of how other styles (from the underground) are either leading or shaping the future of Electronic music is bothersome.

    • Oriol Rosell 12 September, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

      Yes, you’re right. I’ll try to write something about that soon. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Mike GForce 27 September, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Hi there.

    Nice article.
    I agree on lots of things you said.
    But I for myself have to admit – this EDM culture does suck plain and simple.
    I have been part of the rave music culture during the 90s. And to be honest it sucked already back then.
    I will try to give a clear perspective of mine why I think so, even being a warrior for electronic music for a long time.

    The EDM culture is pretty much todays rave culture.
    Some pieces of music you could dance to, to some you couldn’t even figure a pattern. I don’t think this has changed to either the better or worse.
    So what sucks?
    Back in my rave mahem days, rave culture was not exactly as pop as it is today. We have had our tunes and the rest of the world did not care. But over few years – from mid 90s to the late 90s and into the new millenium, rave music was all over the place too.
    And the more it went into that direction, the less inspiring it got. The music got lame because the tunes had to be redifined for an ever be bored audience.
    Yes. If music and the artists did not change the drift fast enough people got pink.
    It happened up to a time when people started to be confused to what electronic music genre is what. And it reflects even today. That irritation is still there. Even worse less people care.
    Give ’em their electronic music mess and let them move in any pattern they think it is dancing.
    Saw it yesterday, see it today.
    People are not there for the music, but for the rumors, the myths.
    Can you imagine how much we hated the kandy ravers? Can you imagine how much we would hate them today if we had to be there again? The same way.
    They are there. But as I said not for the music.
    They are just there to be seen. “Hey mommy, that dude with the blue paint in the face and that nasty green glow stick, that is me.”
    And what distracts even more from the music are the drugs.
    Hands down. People are there for the drug experience.
    I hear some people rebel against that: “But I never do drugs!”
    Right. These people also exist. But for most people it is about PARTY. And party is mostly about rolling and being on drugs (be it legal or illegal drugs). The music does not matter which is than that the music can be changed into anything – as long as it is electronic music and ‘somehow’ “danceable”.
    Raves and EDM festivals are just that: A massive invasion of an area by people going out of their daily mind to electronic music.
    So EDM fits indeed a little bit better because even heavy metal and rock music fans are raving.
    But with EDM it became more clear what it is about.
    The lamest part of the rave culture however is the ever occuring drug theme.
    Just when I thought it is over and people are enjoying the music for the sake of just that, I have to realise I have been thinking wrong.
    Just browse the vast space of the internet. It is everywhere. Even some DJs and producers tell me that drugs are part of it, that the music has been developed with drugs in mind – even the top acts are all about it.
    But I see the point, or at least I learned to accept it.
    It is true. No drugs, no electronic music as we know it today.
    Trance, especially Psytrance and Goa would not work. It is all neo spiritualism or shamanism. Without drugs pretty useless junk.
    Alien music, created to make your mind go boom beyond logical reasoning. And getting this sober is pretty tough. It can be done when one is highly affected by the music alone, but most are not.
    And who the hell is gonna dance all night long without the proper drive? Nobody.
    There lies another problem. Electronic music festivals or events are all about getting your butt covered in sweat or you are fake as heck.
    Constant restlessness. And what is the point of being burned out and standing in the middle of a raving crowd with no way to leave to refresh yourself? Exactly. So you are better prepared for some serious shit.
    I’m not even talking about the money aspect as I think that would be a problem to any kind of music scene. Everybody is jealous about the amount of music an artist can make, no matter what music he/she plays or sings along to.
    For me EDM culture is totally fake.
    Fake? Yes. It exists, the music, the DJs, the artists, all the raving people, the drugs. It is all real. What is fake is the whole thing as the music lacks any common ground.
    Am I saying it is not music? No.
    I say the music lacks cultural ground.
    Rave music and EDM ‘culture’ has no connection to daily life situations, no connection to peoples cultural background (And I’m not just talking about someone being from China so that makes it all being Chinese culture in there – so easy it is not). There are no connections to lifestyle and fashion. It is all about the sound and let’s not forget irritating light shows to accompany it.

    Go back to the 50s. I know lot of it is a little bit cheese too as we only have retro views as we speak now.
    But look deeper.
    It all was connected. The music was always mirroring the actual cultural image, the fashion, the lifestyle, the politics (in jazz especially though this became more vital during the 60s and 70s), even what people have been eating.
    And the music got reflected back into society. It was one.
    Even when it was thought to be rebellious – like the rock’n’roll or even jazz – it was all part of the society and over time it was even accepted by the elder people.
    Though it happened in the USA – which makes rock’n’roll, blues, country, jazz, swing etc All American music, even I can understand all of these connections and why the music is very good.
    That is why today and for quite some years already, lots of musicians, singer-songwriters, artists etc. are giving us great new albums that could have been coming from the past – without sounding lame or backwards.
    Can you imagine a Psytrance track about a chocolate cookie? But with more organic music styles it can happen and make sense too.
    Have some cookies and cream.

    As I said, EDM lacks any real connection. It is meant to get lost. But how lost does one have to get to be satisfied with reality otherwise?
    So lost that music has to be this kind of alien music, right? Right.
    So what else does suck?
    Modern popstars are tuning in.
    This never happened in the 90s.
    Popstars just did their thing, creating popmusic for the normal people listening to the radio or watching TV, buying normal popmusic albums.
    The rave was ours.
    Today popmusic sounds like it is all part of this EDM movement. One gigantic blob of music. And everyone is stearing the pot.
    I don’t bother to try to seperate underground and mainstream as I type this long thingy here.
    I never cared about that.
    But seeing popstars just jumping into this EDM thing as it was meant to be makes it alittle bit more lame than the rave stuff we have had in the 90s.
    Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe EDM is not the modern rave culture at all.
    Maybe the rave culture does not even……….NO.
    EDM is modern rave culture only with a more mainstream acceptance. This is why popstars can blend into this mess of EDM. Also the modern sound to popmusic is all electro, or most of it. Mix in some guitar riffs, play some notes on a piano – here we go.
    And in all of it I do miss some real connections to normal life.
    No matter what popstars are singing about. The way they package it and bring it to the masses, it lacks sense for reality.
    This is why I never liked Prince. All artsy-fartsy with ground lost under his feet.

    You can now ask me if I want to listen to other peoples hearts being broken, some chocolate cookies been eaten or about some lonely cowboys standing their man. Yes.
    If it comes all like it came from Elvis, Chuck Berry or as it comes from Imelda May, The Baseballs, Brian Setzer and many more, YES.
    The genre does matter and especially on what ground it was developed.
    As I repeat myself here, jazz, blues, country, rock’n’roll, rockabilly – all of it came from social ground, with real life in the background and real life in mind while it was created.
    Maybe some artists and singer-songwriters have been spiritually touched, but they never lost the ground under their feet (most of them kept it real while just having fun).
    I can not see this in EDM business. And I never saw it in rave business in the 90s.
    It is like cheap acting. EDM is all about acting – yet lacking the reality.
    I do wonder what EDM business tries to paint us for a picture.
    What is it about?

    I also often hear that PLUR thing. We have had the same problem. But forget about PLUR. That has been another marketing trick. Nobody transformed into a raver just for the PLUR thing.
    You have been a raver by nature or you haven’t been.
    So I furthermore wonder why I have been a raver myself – not. I actually know why I have been there, and I don’t like it the way it happened. I really do wish things have been different, never throwing me into this useless universe of music that was everlacking real cultural background.

    Remember the disco stuff? Even this has had cultural background. So today it doesn’t fit so much anymore as it basically has been swallowed up into this EDM phenomenon.

    Don’t worry. There are a lot of other genres or music scenes I could stomp into the ground too. But EDM is the thing to be in everyones face now and so it will be over the next years.

    I hope this is not too confusing the way I have written it.
    Thanks for reading.


    • Oriol Rosell 30 September, 2014 at 12:29 pm - Reply

      Hi Mike,
      Wow… THAT was a real comment! Thank you very much for taking your time to express your opinion in such an intelligent and well documented way!
      I do agree with most of your views, although I must point out that, at least in Europe, there is a strong political conscience among the illegal rave scene, as it’s been articulated mostly by ex-anarcho punks and people involved in any kind of counterculture. But on the other hand, as you say, the drugs are always there, and most of the time it seems like the revolutionary speech is a mere excuse to get high.
      Again, thank you very much for taking your time to comment!

  10. Idi 'Big Daddy' Amin 18 October, 2014 at 1:46 am - Reply

    There are more important things than partying.

    • Oriol Rosell 21 October, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

      Definitely yes.

  11. Zander Hawkes 29 October, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Very. Very. Very. Very. Good. Article. Especially coming from someone who doesn’t like EDM. It hurts me, as an edm lover, to hear the arguments so many say against edm that aren’t real arguements. Like someone mentioned earlier, music is subjective. Like you mentioned in this article, it’s mainstream that’s one of the issues.
    I’ve played guitar for ten years, been in small bands locally, and had dreams of being a rockstar. I used to hate edm. Now I love it more than ever, and don’t see myself going back to the band way of life. But I still appreciate the indie and rock and roll. I just couldn’t see why others hated it so much.
    Thanks again.

    • Oriol Rosell 29 October, 2014 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Hi Zander,
      Wow, thank you very much for your kind words!

  12. Dazed 31 October, 2014 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Nice article.

    I liked the way you presented a step by step analysis regarding several aspects that are relevant the scene.

    I realized that most of the music industry profit, the commercial stuff, is aimed at teens. Whether we like it or not, kids are the driving force for making/breaking a commercial artist. Take a look at big events like tomorrowland, or umf. The majority of people attending are from the 16 to 20 years old gap.

    This is where the marketing, social media, MTV brainwash work their wonders.

    Most of these people like this kind of music because they are told to. They know Avicii, Hardwell, all those big names because they are marketed and everybody is listening to their stuff. They hear this spoon fed stuff everywhere that they end up liking it. Remember the first time you had a beer in your life? Yeah, it’s like that.

    Ofc there’s also people that doesn’t like this stuff. And the two main reasons are because they are not into this genre of music, or/and, because they actually dig deeper in the electronic music scene and find more attractive stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong here, there was always been commercial music. Taking a look at 1999/2000 the commercial stuff was, if I recall, Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Modjo, just to name a few. This was commercial, but this had quality. Commercial stuff nowadays is so soulless, so… More of the same…

    Then we have the disinformation side. EDM stands for electronic dance music. So, like you said, be it house, deep house, techno, these are all EDM genres. The genre we’re talking here is big room (or big/main room “house”), or at least, this is how the promoters refer to it.

    Like when three guys decided to call themselves swedish house mafia and start releasing stuff that was no way near house. Then all of a suddent, kids went crazy with all of this “house music” stuff that in reality, has little or nothing to do with house music.

    Let’s face it. The commercial stuff, sounds all like the same.
    With the Skrillex/Avicii comparision you got a good counter-example to what I’m saying here. But the thing is that there aren’t many more.

    I understand that your article was from an “outsider” to the electronic scene perspective, like, from someone who’s not directly involved. I can be wrong here, this is just the feeling I had after reading the article.

    If you were, let’s say, a seasoned music producer who also happens to DJ pretty much around the world, when you listen to this kind of music you would be like:

    “This synth is from the Sylenth factory soundbank, the arpeggio sequence is from Nexus, the “Pryda Claps” are from the mutekki Vengeance Essential and the bass is from Massive. They didn’t even care change the patches.”

    Remember the music from the 90’s? Most of the tracks had that familiar feeling about the drums. Drum machines like the Roland TR series (the 909 is in vogue again nowadays), Alesis HR-16, and a few more were all the producers have to generate drum patterns. They did what they could with the limitations those machines had.
    Now, synths are the other way around. You can and should tweak stuff, or you end up sounding like this guy that has the same synths you have.
    And I’m not even talking about the track arrangement here.
    This is the main reason for the “they all sound like the same” affirmation, and at the end of the day, I feel forced to agree with that.

    On a personal level, what annoys me the most is that this hype affects me and I can’t seem to run away from it.

    Imagine how it would be if are a deep/tech house DJ who can’t stand this type of music but someone (we’re talking big promoters here) booked you to play at a large venue between two big room artists. You say, no way Jose but thank for your time, and the booking agency gets pissed off because they “lost” (by lost I mean they didn’t cash on your behalf) a large chunk of money. But that’s fine, you’re rock solid on their A&R so you get away with it.

    Till the same promoters pull the same stunt 5 months later to a similar venue with similar line up, but this time you have a two day gap between this event and another already booked gig with the flight taking 8 hours. This time you feel like, you have to say yes when all you want is to get back home from a one month and a half tour to spend some time with your family and get back into the studio to finish that remix for this artist you really like when the deadline for this project is in two weeks and you haven’t even opened the stems.

    All of this just to bring the promoters to the discussion. Ten years ago it was impossible to have, lets say, Richie Hawtin playing on the same night, at the same venue with an artist like Hardwell. Nowadays is perfectly normal. Nowadays is perfectly normal to have DJ’s like Dennis Ferrer being pulled of the booth because they aren’t playing beatport top 10 tracks.

    However the big/main room scene is definitely in it’s descending phase. We are starting to see artists like Deadmau5, Daft Punk, Hardwell, just to name a few, wanting to expand their horizons. Deep House and Techno will definitely take some bullets when these guys decide to jump boats and bring their legions of fans.

    To finish this text wall, I just wanted to say that there will most likely be error on this comment since English is not my native language. Also keep in mind, that this comment reflects my personal opinion about this subject. Nothing more, nothing less, for what it’s worth.

    And most important, I wanted to state that I really liked the article and will definitely check this site more often. I’m just trying to share some insight regarding stuff that happens behind the scenes.

    If I sounded too cocky or full of myself during this comment, that was not my intention when writing this.

    Keep it up.

    • Oriol Rosell 3 November, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Dazed,
      Thank you very much for your comment! Very, very interesting and with an enlightening insider’s point of view. Do not worry: you dodn’t sound cocky or anything. It is a brilliant text.
      As you suspect, I am not directly involved in electronic dance music at all (note that I’m not using capital letters!), although I do play electronic music.
      Again, thank you very much for your comment!

  13. Daniel FI 24 November, 2014 at 9:12 am - Reply

    I see all these assumptions about edm dying but trust me it will stay longer than any other genre. You only say its gonna die because you want it to. Electronic dance music is not only house, dubstep and trance it is also pop music remember that.

    • Oriol Rosell 25 November, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Hi Daniel,
      Thanks for your comment. I didn’t mean that EDM will die as a genre, but as a tag. I think it will evolve into several new sub-genres. Mainstream electronic music has always been there and always will.

  14. Dance Maniac 1 December, 2014 at 6:05 am - Reply

    What leaves me cold about EDM is the lack of funk. It’s as if the music has been de-queered of any latino/gay/afro influence. It’s rhythmically anti-dance, a sound made for the shoulders and the head and not for the waist/hips. I find it sad that dancing has been reduced to a kick drum hitting the listener in the face instead of seducing and moving the thighs.

    Daft Punk – mostly responsible for people like Zedd – were always incredibly funky and soulful, Even Justice seem to be able to channel 70s funk and 80s R&B when required. But EDM removes any semblance of hypnotic Moroder basslines or beguiling Chicago house hi-hats. It’s flat midrange music where dynamic subtlety is replaced by predictable crescendi.

    It’s incredible to watch an entire culture of sexual experimentation, fashion and freaks become the soundtrack to a frat boy’s party. I guess sonner or later music genres stop being “danceable”. Little Richard was rock and roll – dance music always has an emphasis on the roll – but by the 70s the roll had been lost and rock became contemplative. That opened the door to disco. Even Detroit techno in the 80s was terribly funky – Derrick May being the best example – but if you go to a techno party in 2014, I can guarantee you the funk will be AWOL. Same for house – it’ stale. Hiphop in the 80s meant breakdancing. In the 90s it was about driving a car, smoking a spliff and nodding your head to the downtempo beat.

    EDM is electronic, but it’s not hip shaking music. Watch a clip of Zedd or Hardwell playing to a crowd – fans cheering like football aficionados at a rock show. It’s hierarchical, not communitarian. People are not dancing in a circle, lost in the groove. They’re taking pictures of a star. It’s not tribal and mind altering, it’s controlled exuberance. Ersatz ecstasy.

    Of course there is fun in the music. It’s effusive, brash, crass, predictable, popular, populist and everything cheap thrills should be. But I find little joy in it.

    I miss the funk! 🙁

    • Oriol Rosell 1 December, 2014 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Dance Maniac,
      I do agree 100% with you. Actually, I think that the asexualization, progressive “whiteyfication” of electronic dance music is what helped it to go mainstream. It’s the same that happened with rock’n’roll. The mainstream needed a white Elvis.

  15. Alejandro 5 March, 2015 at 4:23 am - Reply


    • Oriol Rosell 10 March, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply


  16. Joao 19 March, 2015 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Man are seriously defending this beat loop, pattern repeting “music”?
    These people have no musical ideas. I suggest listen to some serious musicians.
    Examples (modern musicians, so you don’t complain about last century blablabla):

    – Chick Corea (jazz)
    – Bireli Lagrene (jazz)
    – Thom Yorke (alternative)
    – AVishai Cohen (bass player, world music/jazz)

    Honestly, listen to some tracks from these dudes, and tell me this EDM is not child play..
    I’m not trying to offend you, just want you to open your horizons.
    I have nothing against using electronics in music, i do enjoy Art of Noise, Herbie Hancock or Caravan Palace.

    The problem is, most of this electronic music is just bad..

    • Oriol Rosell 27 March, 2015 at 8:02 am - Reply

      Hi Joao,
      Thanks for your comment. If you want to get into really compositional complexity, I would suggest you to try Iannis Xenakis, Alban Berg or Iancu Dumitrescu. The thing is, we’re talking about dance music here. And, as I’m pretty sure you already know, it means music for people to dance to, meaning people with no contemporary or classical dance training. So, obviously, it has to be repetitive —nothing new, on the other hand: check out Steve Reich or Terry Riley— and simple, as it must work for everybody. Try djing Chick Corea at a rave…

  17. Anonymous 29 May, 2015 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Good article. As a EDM lover, I can agree with all of this. Big Room House & Dubstep makes me want to vomit. They all sound the same.

    When it comes towards EDM, I prefer deep house or progressive house. Listen to the EDM of 80s, 90s, & early 2000s, then compare then with stuff they play today. The old school EDM is definitely better.

    The only thing I really despise about ALL EDM is the “culture.” I hate raves & ravers. I worked at a rave once. NEVER AGAIN!

    I think ravers are a bunch of faggots. And they do drugs. I like other underground genres too (like hip hop), but let’s be honest, a hip hop party makes a rave party look like shit, & there aren’t as many wild stuff going on. Raves have no rules, & when I was working a rave, I saw things I wish I never saw—-butt-naked dudes, crossdressing queers, furries, bronies, hippies, & just about every kind of social reject you could imagine. I’m a nerd, but man, these people were LOSERS. I never had to worry about any of those things when I went to hip hop party. In hip hop parties, there’s the occational drug use too, but at least people keep their clothes on. Needless to say, I was traumatized by the insanity from the EDM culture & had to take a shower to wash the “filth” it left behind on me.

    If the EDM “culture” wasn’t full of drugs & homosexuals, I would have no problem with raves. I like EDM, but can’t stand the EDM culture. It is an abomination.


    • Oriol Rosell 2 June, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      I understand your point of view, although I can not agree with your comments about homosexuality. If raves are not your type of thing, cool: ignore them. But live and let live, man.

  18. realmusiqftw 19 June, 2015 at 12:12 am - Reply

    why is punk in the same sentence as em ? i feel like the writer secretly loves edm….

    punk has nothing to do with fake macbook music.

    • Oriol Rosell 26 June, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

      As far as I know —and believe me, I know a few things about it—, punk was mainly about making music without any technical restriction. You didn’t need any particular skill to make music. That was the point: anyone could do it. Remember the “here’s three chords, now go and form a band” thing? I think there are several similitudes between that idea and the “democratization” of music though digital technology.

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