What is the Phenomenon Characterized by Electronic Dance Music?
For many electronic music producers, the biggest trend in dance clubs is characterized by a phenomenon called EDM. The term “EDM” (short for electronic music) was actually coined by Don Williams, but the actual phrase was used by him as a way to describe a totally new form of music that had begun to take off in the clubs and on his radio show. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the term used almost as often as “rave.” It’s hard to deny that what is known as “EDM” has been embraced by club culture as something totally fresh and as unique as any other style of club music. However, what is EMD (or electronic music) and how did it get to where it is today?
It may seem incredibly obvious, but the actual origins of the term “EDM” are somewhat mysterious. Don Williams did start referring to the whole thing as “dance music” sometime around 1996, but exactly when or why is uncertain. The closest we can come to pinpointing the birth of the term, however, is the formation of the very first major American professional dance music organization, the NADA (National Association for Music Artists). The term didn’t stick, but its essence was refined and turned into a slightly more friendly sounding “edm.” From there on, it’s been nothing but a staple term for both clubs and individuals searching for just that.
What has become of the term “EDM”? As it seems, the sky is really the limit. Don Williams continues to use it frequently, but there are others who see no need to use it at all. This is not uncommon with younger people whose trends are still in the underground. If you look back at the history of electronic dance music, you’ll notice that its beginnings weren’t really heavily promoted.
It wasn’t until rave culture became a mainstream phenomena that the term “EDM” began to be widely used. Prior to that, even those who were into electronic music and listening to clubs and DJs were somewhat uninformed. It took clubs like Studio 60 and others to popularize the style to the point where even the non-enthusiasts (people who rarely go to dance clubs) could understand what it was all about. In fact, the rave generation is famous for beginning the modern era of electronic music.
So how did electronic dance music gain mainstream popularity? It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason. There’s no real blueprint, although a good place to start is looking at the rise of rave as a worldwide phenomenon. Other world events, such as terrorist attacks, could have had a similar effect, but the aftermath of 9/11 changed everything.
As more Americans began to go to dance clubs, the image of urban decadence reached the public consciousness. Suddenly, electronic dance music was cool, it was hip, and most people could even dance. From there, it just spread like wildfire.
It wasn’t long before American and European dance clubs began to feature EDM as a regular routine. At first, these weren’t labeled “dance clubs” per se; they were still called “party houses.” But slowly, the lines began to blur. Many clubs began to offer dance lessons. Many of them also began to feature DJ programs that allowed radio stations to broadcast dance programs across the dance floor for dance club attendees to choose.
These days, you can find many a nightclub featuring electronic dance music, or “dance parties,” throughout the world. They are still not as mainstream as they once were. However, they’ve reached a level of popularity where people of any age can experience them. And it hasn’t slowed down since.