The History of EDM

In recent years Electronic dance music (EDM) has increasingly gained popularity in mainstream media.EMC-1.jpg

EDM consists of a collection of subgenres such as House, Drum n Bass, Dubstep, Trap, and Hardstyle. The genre had been dormant in the nightclub scene since the 1980s, however in recent years the demand for EDM has taken over commercial music by storm. 

In the early 20th century, composers began redefining the concept of instruments and organized sound, in turn redefining music, with modernism, futurism and post modernism, ultimately leading music into a new era. Delia Derbyshire was arguably the first electronic music producer and synthesist of her time. Her revolutionary “Doctor Who” theme and seminal album of 1969;  “An electronic storm” are recognized by many. The bulk of her production material and influential sound for television and radio programs is still in the BBC Sound archives, but due to BBC copyright, she was never properly credited for her work. 

Moving onto the 70s and the birth of Disco, the first wave of club dance music was born. Also known as Euro dance (Euro trash), Disco saw the mix of Funk, Soul and smooth jazz-fusion with electronic aspects. There was now a demand and popularity that came with clubs employing DJs, as it had turned into a club must-have.  Giorgio Moroder contributed the use of electronic sounds and constant percussive beats that initially started the repetitive rhythms we hear in electronic music today. Electronic artists such as Kraftwerk and Donna Summer incorporated early electro and house, using Roland TR-808s, TR-909 drum machines and the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer.


In the 80s and 90s, House, industrial, freestyle and Techno, sub genres began gaining popularity. Acid house and the early Rave scene were trending in Germany and the UK, and with them came warehouse and underground parties that were dedicated to the growing EDM culture. Club goers were faced with a 2 a.m. closing time in the UK, and would seek after-hour refuge at all-night warehouse parties. In1989, approximately 10,000 people at a time would attend commercially organized underground parties that were eventually labeled as “Raves”. EDM achieved limited exposure in America during the 90s, when it was marketed as "electronica". Electronic music acts from the UK, such as The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, became associated with the "American electronica revolution". In 1998 Madonna's Ray of Light brought the genre to popular music listeners. 

By mid-2000s, dance music was a part of popular culture. Social media such as YouTube and SoundCloud assisted in fueling interest in electro house and Dubstep, popularizing Skrillex with his harsher production style called “bro step”. 

EDM became heavily influenced by live events. Promoters and venues realized DJs could generate larger profits than traditional musicians. EDM festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Defqon grew in size, emphasising visual experiences, such as video and lighting effects. Major acts like Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, were holding concert tours at large arenas rather than just nightclubs. In 2011 “Spin”, announced a "new rave generation" led by David Guetta, Deadmau5, and Skrillex. In January 2013, “Billboard” introduced a new EDM, Dance/Electronic Songs chart, tracking the top electronic songs based on sales, radio airplay and online streaming. 

This years EDM Conference 'EMC' is Jam-packed full of popular, influential Artists. 
Carl Cox, a house and techno Dj and producer, is a veteran of the EDM evolution. As the king of Ibiza, his long-lived career inspires each and every new DJ and Producer around the world.

As the ambassador of the Australian hardstyle scene, Toneshifterz has a high status on main stage at Defqon.1. In 2009, he was signed to ‘Fusion’ records and produced the official 2011 Defqon.1 festival anthem ‘Psychedelic Wasteland’, Toneshifterz is set to continue leading the Australian Hardstyle scene and representing it internationally. 

Yolanda be cool is the Australian duo extraordinaire, made up of Sylvester Martinez (aka Andrew Stanley) and Johnson "Durango Slim" Peterson (DCUP). Scoring an international chart-topping hit with the house smash "We No Speak Americano" in 2010 they have continued to release top hits one after the other with tracks “Sugar Man” and “Soul Makossa”. With a critically acclaimed album and two decades of DJing experience, this dynamic duo is an inspiration to many young Aussie producers. 

Recently EDM genres have started evolving and merging with other styles and many new DJs and producers are popping up everyday. 

- Written by Caroline Grigoriev

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