What is EDM Music?

In recent years, EDM has exploded in popularity within the United States and some are calling it the “New Rock and Roll” (19). But what is EDM music exactly?

Originally, EDM music was understood as “electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered in dance-based entertainment” (20). This goes back to the early days of EDM where it was primarily consumed in nightclubs and at raves.

But today, EDM has come to encompass something much broader. It means something different to each individual but generally refers to percussive music genres which are meant primarily for dancing or are derived from dance-oriented styles (20). Some examples of EDM genres include electro, house, techno, dubstep, trance and trap. Further subgenres exist like deep house, eurotrance, and progressive house.

The term EDM has been used in America since 1985 but wasn’t popular until the later 1990s when academics and the American music industry began to embrace it. While the term is well-known today around the globe, in the UK EDM music is still largely referred to as dance music (20). Furthermore, the term EDM used to be synonymous with club music but has since diverged. While both can still encompass a variety of genres club music is based on what is popular while the term EDM is rooted in the structure and attributes of the music, not its popularity or method of consumption (20).


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