Ear-candy synths reverberate amongst a crowd of 300,000 people. The synths soon build into a climatic drop, suddenly striking a uniting pulse within the crowd, as they dance and rail their bodies to beat of the music. Lights of green, yellow, and red glow across the stage, shining a luminescent light on the stage, and everywhere are people adorned in neon clad tank tops, flower wreaths, and colorful, elaborate costumes.
This scene is none other than the Electronic Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas. Garnering the electronic acts of electro house cacophony with Steve Aoki, progressive house favorite Kaskade, and dutch house aficionado Afrojack, Electronic Daisy Carnival has become one of the staple festivals of electronic music and has marked an age in which DJ’s have assimilated to mainstream America; selling out venues like pop stars and gaining the popularity of rock stars, making guitar solos out of bass drops.
So what does the paradigm shift mean, and what does this mean for the music industry? There’s mixed feelings. Some say that all music travels in a cycle and electronic music is no exception, and will someday meet its end -- I disagree.The age of electronic music has just begun and will only gain more notoriety for the years to come.
So what sets electronic music apart from other musical fads come and gone, that have been left undiscovered?
DJ’s and producers are relevant. In a time where technology reigns supreme, music can be made in the comfort of home with a laptop and software. The arduous and costly work of forming a band is no longer necessary, making it easier for venues to gather more electronic acts than actual bands. Their ability to sell out venues and not just festivals (something that is rarely seen) has become very crucial to their explosive growth and immediate success.
Joel Zimmerman as the ubiquitous moniker Deadmau5 sold out six consecutive nights at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, breaking Rage Against The Machine’s previous record. Kaskade will be the first electronic act set to play the Staples Center; a venue usually reserved for events like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the MTV Video Music Awards.
Most noticeably big name festivals such as Coachella, EDC, Ultra Music Festival (UMF) and Lollapalooza are starting to sell out much faster by including more electronic artists. Granted, EDC and UMF are for the most part, wholly electronic music festivals, Electronic Daisy Carnival sold out for the first time with a consensus of about 345,000 and Ultra Music Festival sold out for the past two years garnering more than 165,000 in attendees all over the globe. With the inclusion of more electronic acts such as Calvin Harris, Avicii, and Justice, festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza are selling out within more groundbreaking times than previous years.
Although DJ’s and producers have gained much positive reception from a younger demographic, they have also received their fair share of criticism. Many have invalidated the talent behind DJ’s and producers, questioning their overall musicianship -- however the 2012 Grammys was a testament to the genuine talent behind these entertainers. This was the first year in which electronic artists such as Deadmau5, David Guetta, and Skrillex were nominated for more Grammy’s and undoubtedly marked the legitimacy behind electronic music. Dubstep cacophony master Skrillex, was nominated for five Grammy awards, including Best New Artist, and took home three for Best Dance Recording, Best Remixed Recording, and Best Dance/ Electronica album.
Electronic music has not only changed music in America but has made an irrevocable imprint into America’s culture and the lives of many young Americans. Just like the 60’s had rock, the 70’s had disco, the 80’s had new wave, the 2000’s now have electronic music. This factor alone can ensure electronic music’s stay for quite some time. The music can be soft and heavy, melodic and aggressive, intimate and intense, beautiful and repulsive, minimal and epic. It’s a tangle of contradictions, which can only appeal to a wider demographic, and more audiences.
The experience at these festivals is all too personal and intimate. The euphoric experience has led to use of P.L.U.R.,meaning peace, love, unity, and respect for fellow ravers with the exchange of colorful beads as a gift. Although they have gained negative reception due to the use of ecstasy, for the most part these festivals are an uplifting and positive experience. Just like any other music, electronic music is now the universal language all across the globe.