Is Corporate America’s Involvement in EDM a Good or Bad Thing?

Electronic Dance Music has emerged over the last several years to become one of the most popular genres of music in the world, if not the most popular, among young adults in particular. According to the International Music Summer Consumer Report, the entire Electronic Dance Music (EDM) industry is worth $4 billion per year. The industry recently made its way into the stock market under the name, SFX Entertainment. Shares offered are around 17 million with a total offer amount at approximately 250 million. This is a huge deal for EDM enthusiasts, myself included, but the repercussions will undoubtedly be both good and bad.

Although this seems like great news for the scene at first glance, listeners of the music have mixed feelings about money getting involved in the music. This past year alone, several DJs earned over $20 million for performing live events which showcased what many people believe to be “recycled tracks.” Essentially what this means is that some of the biggest names in the scene, including Tiesto, Calvin Harris, and Steve Aoki play the same songs heard on popular EDM radio stations, without much variation in their sets. This has sparked a huge debate among DJs, both well known and small, about how much “performing” the performers are actually doing. It is a well-known fact that the role of the DJ is not to create songs on the fly or have a completely “live” show with current technology. DJs play tracks they have produced themselves in the studio or tracks produced by others. The art is in the mixing between songs and the crowd interaction.

However, the question must be asked, “is the act of investing more money into this scene a good or bad thing for listeners?” The fact is that, with more money in the industry, big name DJs will now earn even more than they currently do, potentially making them less inclined to go above and beyond in their performances and studio work which is already seeming to be the case for many. As the scene becomes flooded with corporations, advertisements, and commercial America in general, it is likely that ticket prices for events will continue to rise steadily, as there will be a bigger market for them. In addition, a scene which once had the allure of being an underground scene only, is now on center stage of the entertainment industry simply because money got involved, which angers many old schoolers. As for the music quality itself, there are luckily some promising young talents in the industry such as Disclosure and Mat Zo to name a few, bringing fresh, new, and eclectic sounds to what was quickly becoming an overly saturated genre. As for the scene as a whole, however, it may only be a few years before people begin to grow tired of corporate America getting involved and jacking up the prices for a lower quality “product” than what we saw fifteen, ten, even five years ago. The question is, will this love of EDM by the masses last, or will it quickly fade back into the underground, where it once was.

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