For anyone whose paid attention to the music industry over the past 5 or so years, we’ve been witnessing a Renaissance. A Renaissance that has been so desperately needed to restore faith in music. Bob Lefsetz blogged about his experience at the EDMBiz conference, this season’s epicenter of the meeting of the minds to make sense of this phenomenon. He notes the different aura and attitudes of both attendees and speakers in comparison to more stories conferences like SXSW… motivated, attentive, energetic, young! Best of all, a positive outlook.
Lefsetz was right on. EDM is a culture. Despite the acronym, however, it’s a culture that goes far beyond the music itself.
Ever since being introduced and captivated by the new sounds of the likes of this new wave of producers and DJs, I’ve been captivated and enthralled by the unique experiences that they bring to their fans. Why did Calvin Harris draw the largest crowd ever at Coachella? Why do festivals like Ultra Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival sell out well in advance of the lineup being announced? Why do you see so many people staying for the resident DJ long after the headliner has finished his set?
Because everyone loves a party.
This is why the money is flowing towards this culture. When in the history of time have you ever known partying to go out of style? And more than ever before, the party is being collectively consumed. Did you get a Snap from EDC this week? How about this morning? If you missed it, a video collage was released where attendees uploaded their day 1 EDC Stories to Snapchat for all fans to share in their experience. Fans are now engaged with the entire party, and not exclusively to their friends, or whatever corner of the fairgrounds you happen to settle into.
The ones on the outside looking in have completely missed this point. I talked to countless people at SXSW and CMW that didn’t understand the appeal for EDM.
"They’re just pushing play.”
"It’s all so predictable.”
"How is this so popular?”
"How is this a concert?”
"NOBODY’S DOING ANYTHING!"
So many old-timey music industry execs are losing their minds because they can’t think outside the box. EDM is social. Social among not only the fans, but the artists too! What percentage of the tracks they spin at their shows are by other artists? How many hit tracks are simply remixes of other people’s tracks? How many DJs host their own Podcasts and radio shows? What about the hour-long DJ mixes that exposed you to so many new artists? Everyone’s connected to get in on the next wave, and artists continue to lead the charge.
In the well-articulated article by Lefsetz, nowhere did he even utter the words “social”, “connected”, or “data”. Where’s the talk about data?? Where’s the money in that?
Brands want numbers. They want reach, clicks, and virality. We can measure data now better than we ever have before, and those with the best numbers get the brand money (hello, 7UP).
If you have the influence, you’ll get paid. And you measure influence by the numbers. You can eyeball the crowds at EDC or Ultra, but your ticket doesn’t say Hardwell or Tiësto. The FESTIVAL is what is being sold. The brands are all rushing off to the party.
This is true of anything in this culture. Festivals, artists, blogs, conferences, it all funnels to where people talk. The more that people talk, the more people listen, learn, and carry on your message. The better you are at making others talk, the fatter your wallet gets.
That’s the beauty of this culture. The incentive for you to be connected to your fans, and treat your tribe like friends has never been greater! If you want to be a part of a scene where you feel appreciated, come to this one. If you’re tired of waiting out the remaining two years of your favorite band's album cycle, start following an awesome DJ. If you get invited to a club, but you have no idea who the DJ is, go anyways. Chances are that you’ll still recognize a track or two, and you’ll have a good fucking time.