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WHAT'S THAT NOISE

Here’s how quickly electronic dance music has taken over the world

Reuters/Toby Melville
Pulsing along.
By Amy X. Wang
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Entertainment industries love to declare things “dead.” Their latest grave-digging pronouncement is on electronic dance music—a once-booming fad, some say, that’s now falling out of favor.

Is it, though? At the International Music Summit in Ibiza this week, music analyst Kevin Watson presented a report (pdf) that suggests the genre is still growing. And healthily, at that.

EDM is now worth $7.1 billion, or roughly 60% more than what it was four years ago, says the report. It pins that boom to a few specific things:

  • Explosive growth overall in music streaming, in which EDM is one of the most popular genres.
  • Surging interest from new regions like Asia and South America (China, for instance, opened four out of the 20 most popular new dance clubs in 2016).
  • Dance music coming more and more into the norm in the US and other established music markets.

Watson points to an increased number of dance-related live events as evidence that EDM is beginning to see ”sustainable wide-scale appeal” in Western countries where the genre’s been around for a while. Electronic music group Major Lazer also produced the most-streamed song on Spotify in 2015.

But though the genre is raking in steady cash, its growth has slowed over the last year or so. Nightclub owners in Las Vegas, among other critics, claim EDM is becoming somewhat passé—arguing that music fans and partygoers alike are tired of EDM DJs and their repetitive sets. One club manager told Page Six that venues pumping out EDM from their speakers all night are simply “not cool.”

Still, what’s uncool in one place is always shiny and new in another. For countries like China, EDM appears very much the latter.

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