“I haven’t listened to him since he became ‘main stage cheese’. Ever since he sold out to produce ‘festival bangers’ none of his tracks have been true [insert genre here] or has he put any of [insert genre here] into his sets.” How many times have we heard a friend or fellow EDM enthusiast say something similar? Selling out is something you can almost guarantee every producer may get accused of especially when they start experimenting with new sounds and styles. But what if I told you selling out can happen to a culture as a whole?
The EDM culture started, and to some reached its “peak”, in the 90’s with the old school warehouse parties, thunder dome, and little commercial presence. I’d easily argue that today is the peak of EDM culture; it’s sudden revival has made the scene not only a bountiful cornucopia of musical genres but a major economic asset to the economy with EDM and it’s culture soaring to commercial success as pointed out in “It’s Not Just a Party Mom, I’m Boosting the Economy” written by fellow iHeartRaves blogger Alexa S. The fact a culture we know and love so well is a commercial success and if anything still growing is proof enough we are at a new renaissance of the culture. We have left the days of being “underground” or a “counter culture” far behind and have become a fad of our own; we are now a pop culture, a trendy one at that.
With being the cool kids on the block we’re going to have to suffer through poor media portrayals as just another party scene. Terrible movies from directors seeing the trend as a way to make a quick dollar: *cough* We Are Your Friends *cough*. Being pop culture also means sharing our space on the dance floor with a few rowdy bros and gals, but we shouldn’t be too upset about them, just give them some quick PLUR education.
Now this is not an entirely bad thing. Sure we see some quality drop in the quality of music some producers put out as they start catering to the bros who come to join our fun. The fact that EDM culture is now popular is not inherently claiming that the culture itself has sold out, we’re not seeing the fans, kandi kids, and the like rent out space on their bodies to display advertisements. Instead we see big business buying into the culture in hopes the advertising or other investment pays off.
Think about it, 7-Up teamed up with Insomniac this year to host it’s own stage at EDC Las Vegas this year, a move similar to Sprite bursting into the hip-hop culture and promoting it’s own hip-hop events in the 90’s (yes, the correlation runs deeper than being ½ of the recipe for lean, a drink popular in the hip-hop scene). Big box stores attempt to capitalize and make some money off EDM culture with stores like Spencer’s pushing out low quality LED glove sets and rave attire that often doesn’t last through one event. We also see it with other name brands: look into what clothing your favorite producers and DJ’s have been rocking, maybe even their headphones, maybe even the track they recently put out (here’s looking at you Diplo with “Doctor Pepper” ), sunglasses, headphones, etc., odds are they are getting paid to rep something they are wearing.
7-Up’s Stage 7 at EDC LV 2015
However some artists still keep it real, they will know how big of an impression they create and will rep smaller companies that are in the scene for more than a paycheck we see many heavy bass oriented artists such as Excision, DATSIK, Downlink, Protohype & Nerd Rage not only rep DAMASCUS rave clothes brand also sold by our own iHeartRaves but create designs with them. Damascus’ philosophy can be found on their site: “Our philosophy is ‘Create with us.’ Our goal is to have the brand ecosystem made up of people that are passionate about creating the greatest and most enjoyable things our world has to offer, with the most of it to us, being music and production that revolves around the electronic culture movement that is happening right now. We want people to wear and see our brand and be able to recognize others wearing it easily, connect and feel like they know the person, just because they share the same love, goals and have an open understanding of everything that we (as mankind) consist of.” a statement parallel to our own at iHeartRaves & Emazinglights, the #1 leader in gloving and LED poi.
As members of the EDM culture we should be conscious of the companies and brands we buy from and make an effort to keep PLUR as more than just a feeling we share in front of a DJ set. Eventually the trend of being pop culture will die, but our culture won’t, so let’s make the most of being the cool kids while it lasts (our favorite DJ’s and producers are getting paid more than ever, lets be happy they can do what they love for a living, not angry) but also be sure to not lose our roots. Commercialism isn’t the end of the EDM scene and culture simply a phase.
Born and raised in the Bay Area of California. I entered the rave scene on February 15, 2013 at age 15 with a Tjani, Mord Fustang, and Feed Me show at SF's Regency Ballroom. Since that day EDM has been my true love; I mean all genres of electronic music. You can catch me at events either in the mosh pits, shuffling, spinning poi, and on the lucky occasion doing some d'n'b step. Currently working towards a Psychology major specializing in Psychiatric Journals at California State University Sacramento. Other musical tastes are hip hop, rock, alternative, and indie.