What’s the confusion?
“EDM” can mean different things to different people. But according to one entry on Urban Dictionary, “EDM refers to the 128 BPM “big room” rage stuff from the likes of Tiesto, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Gareth Emery, etc.” EDM is the initialism for Electric Dance Music, which most academic resources would say describes a compilation of electronic music subgenres and started in the 1970s with Disco. While that may technically be accurate, Urban Dictionary is the most precise – enter the controversy. EDM and the rest of dance music are not all the same. The exact etymology of the term EDM isn’t precisely known, but this article on Cuepoint going in detail on EDM’s origins describes: “What is known is that it was in use as early as 1985, as a corporate term used to envelope the disparate sounds into one easy-to-market department.” In other words, a widespread effort to “rebrand” dance music to make it marketable. But marketable to who? Green Velvet investigates on Twitter:
“Don’t say House & Techno are EDM…”
This kind of tweet seemingly out of the blue from one of the most popular House producers is going to incite knee-jerk reactions. What exactly is Green Velvet asking? ” Don’t say House & Techno are EDM… they were before EDM. Do ur research & discover the first time the term EDM was used.” Indeed, there is a distinction being made even in common vernacular. Ultra Music Festival, which has music festivals across the planet, even goes as far to differentiate it’s House/Techno offerings under the “Resistance” sub-brand. In a follow-up tweet, he seeks to calm the waters with a clarification:
To be fair, 2020 is here and that’s a good 50 years since the 1970s – it isn’t exactly reasonable to expect young listeners to know the originators. But that’s taking the question too literally.
Doing too much?
In the grand scheme of things, this probably seems a silly thing to argue about. But to many, it’s a big subject; it’s even in the namesake of this site. The origins of what dance music is today makes this relevant. Tons of resources explore the subject, including this cool, not overly academic and boring one from VICE. As with everything controversial, it’s always good practice to do as Green Velvet suggested: your own research.
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