Contrary to popular belief, EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music, and not Ecstacy, Drugs and Marijuana. EDM is about love, peace, happiness and a sense of upliftment – all through music. Most top DJs around the world advocate the fact that [electronic] music is a very powerful drug in itself, and people don’t need drugs to enjoy it. For example, Paul van Dyk is famous for quoting that “there is no E in PvD“.
The most prevalent sub-genres of EDM are House (Deep House, Pumpin’ House, Tech House, Hard House, Progressive House, Soulful House…) and Trance (Progressive, Melodic Trance, Vocal Trance, Psychedelic Trance…). Trance is essentially of European/U.K. descent, and in the U.S. there are several other popular EDM genres like Garage, Breakbeat (or just “Breaks”) and Drum-n-Bass. Possibly the oldest genres of EDM were Techno and Euro Dance, which still enjoy a sizeable and dedicated following. Electronica and Underground artists like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers enjoy a cult following as well, because of their individual styles and sounds. And then there are other types of electronic music that people enjoy a laid back sunset to, instead of dancing their heads off, most notably Chillout, Lounge and Ambient. The list goes on and on…
There are some versatile producers like BT, who have successfully interbred genres time and again, defining and redefining the science and art of electronic music. Electronic music can be produced on a shoestring budget with nothing more than a bedroom and a computer (Moby did it, but not everybody does), and as a result the commercial aspect is not as disillusioning as it is in other genres of music.
As a general rule, people who like rock can’t stand EDM, and people who like pop can’t tell the difference (IMHO, pop is not a music genre but an agenda). The beauty of electronic music is that because it is completely artificial and often only instrumental, there can be an infinite number of layers to it and it can mean completely different things to different people. The themes are usually centred around happiness and love, which sometimes [naturally] borders on sadness.
EDM DJs (Disc Jockeys), especially those in the top 50, are treated no less than Gods, and you should check out some videos of DJ Tiësto to see what I mean.
In recent years, Progressive Trance and Progressive House is becoming more and more popular with the “working class” as a sort of cross between high-energy trance and laid-back lounge. Electronic music (mostly due to rapidly advancing technology) is also increasingly finding its way into rock and hip-hop, my favourite case in point being Linkin Park.
In summary: it’s music, but it doesn’t rock 😉