Is EDM "Real" Music Or Just a Big Business!?

Photo Credit: Mixtribe CC BY 2.0

It’s electronic, people dance to it but is it music?

EDM Party
Photo Credit: @patricksavalle CC BY 2.0

Most people associate EDM with massive festivals, flashing lights, taking Molly and getting high.

EDM, which rose from the ashes of the disco era, has many critics. Advances in recording technology have left some wondering if the barrier to entry is too low.
“The music is cheap to produce, it’s superficial, and people largely go to shows solely on the hopes of ‘turning up,'” wrote Dan Chinitz of The Daily Badger. “The current backlash against EDM is reminiscent of criticisms that culminated at a 1977 White Sox game. At the game, those who abhorred disco filled a crate with disco records and blew them up on the field between games.”
That may sound like a harsh statement, but Chinitz’ opinion was backed up by a recent article on For those who don’t know, Beatport was founded in 2004 and is recognized as one of the leading authorities on and sellers of EDM.
Katie Bain is the Senior Editor of in Los Angeles. She said the genre is the new McDonald’s and has become formulaic and predictable.
“Just like fast food chains realized there was big money to be made with a cheap and generic product around the world, so too did record labels, multi-national brands, and opportunistic artists when they started exporting EDM,” Bain wrote.
Regardless of one’s opinion, the genre of music has become a $6.3 billion industry.
Artists like Steve Aoki and DJ Tiesto can command as much as $1 million per gig. Producers like Calvin Harris, Skrillex, A-Trak, Avicii and David Guetta, have squeezed out hit after hit placing some of them on Forbes annual top earners lists.
So what’s with all the criticism?

Calvin Harris – Photo Credit: Hakkasan Group

They are reminiscent of David Crosby’s idiotic comments that Kanye West should not be taken as a serious artist because he doesn’t play instruments.
Surely Sir Paul McCartney would beg to differ. So did Marissa Haegele also of The Badger Herald in a follow-up rebuttle.

“The idea musicians who produce using computers instead of guitars are somehow less legitimate and less skilled is uninformed. Society does not give value to art by the number of chords a guitarist plays, the amount of breath a singer uses or the number of brushstrokes a painter employs.” Marissa Haegele – The Daily Badger Herald

“As I or anyone who’s ever tried to produce can tell you, making electronic music is far less intuitive than any conventional instrument,” Haegele argued.
One thing is for certain. EDM, which is almost 30-years-old, has gained serious traction of the last ten years. Some even credit the music for resuscitating the scene on the strip in Las Vegas.
Producer David Guetta believes the genre that has made him Rich will have staying power, much like Hip-Hop, which many thought was a passing fad.
“It’s an evolution. The thing is that, every musical genre starts from the underground, gets trendy, then it becomes popular, and then it dies, or it is reinvented in a different way,” Guetta told CNN.