Over the past year or so, a storm involving millions of Millennials worldwide has been brewing. It's one that will surely please many and undoubtedly upset others. Some might not even give a sh*t about it, but that's up to you to decide.
Every pop culture trend in human history eventually finds its time to retire, yet it resurfaces three decades later in some reinvigorated style. In fashion, it's the case with plaid and ripped jeans. In music, it's the case with disco and funk. This cycle allows for creative industries to live and thrive with in the boundaries we humans are constrained by.
Eventually, we hit a wall with creativity. We can only go so far in creating new melodies for music, new ideas for clothes, etc. In the end, we remake or remix what's been done in the ages before us. What's been done had to die for that remake to be successful.
It is the job of a specialist to realize what's going on in the big picture of his or her industry at all times, just as an analyst does at a hedge fund or a farmer does in farming. It's not easy reading past the horizon to see what kind of weather is ahead, but it's necessary nonetheless.
It is the duties of music managers to understand the landscape that relates to their artists. Right now, you hear whispers and see nods of something that is starting to be realized across the music industry. It's the news we all knew would come.
As I type, the Grim Reaper and his minions are beginning to construct a coffin made for a hefty beast. It's a beast that took the music industry and world culture by storm, growing larger than any music trend in history. It truly was the perfect storm. But like any storm, it must die off so that the sun can give life once again.
March 2016 marks the beginning of the end of EDM. Many people are probably truly happy it's coming to a close, but I feel the need to say a few words before I break the other news of a new baby on its way. The year of 2013 marked the peak of EDM, where the producers and DJs that made it were pulling in around $500,000 for a two-hour set.
Corporations got in on the game, and brands couldn't help but join the feast. Aspiring "bedroom" producers flooded music platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube on a quantity over quality basis. It was clear that this was a bubble, and it was bound to pop.
In the midst of all the chaos was something unique that hasn't been seen for nearly three decades. This was the Woodstock of the Millennial generation. The experiences symbolized a common ground that broke down the barriers, boarders, stereotypes and anything else human nature can sh*t up to break the peace.
Ideals of togetherness and humanity flourished, but just as your weekend vacation bender at Ultra had to end, these festivals eventually will too, along with their peace and love culture. But do not fret, my Millennial hippies. With death comes new life, for this is just the beginning of a new age in music.
What people didn't realize while they were so busy with what was right in front of them was that the DJs who started it all got screwed over. The guys in the booth, who share music from all formats and genres to add to their story told through vinyl and turntables, were getting duped. These DJs are the real DJs who were hijacked by corporate EDM culture, yet have been patiently waiting for this exact turning point to come.
Miami Herald reported first on this on the “Eve of Ultra Music Festival,” and all evidence supports a domino effect at play.
Annie Tomlinson, a 22-year-old Ultra attendee, said,
[I]t's not worth it for the money anymore. It's so hyped up and I've already experienced it.
Senthil Chidambaram, CEO and founder of popular EDM website Dancing Astronaut, agreed that there is a growing sense of burnout from fans. People are tired of the same old sh*t, with the same old production value they've already experienced.
The EDM DJs can only throw their hands in so many new directions until it gets old. There's a yearning for something new that will break down the overhyped craze and, in turn, highlight a new age of humble storytelling and music connection.
DJs are here to share these stories of the artists of yesterday, today and tomorrow. They're not here to monopolize on their own music, but to democratize the world of creative storytelling through lyrical phrasing and music sharing. Radio DJs have been true to this duty through out time, and they have been praised by the artists whose life work they bring to the world.
DJing lost sight of this fundamental duty when EDM exploded. The world's stage centered on electronic mega festivals and ignored the opportunity to share the rest of music's storytellers with the world.
Music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Pandora have been doing their best to revive music sharing in the digital age, while still trying to make our artists their lunch money. It's time that live events and world stages catch up to this more fair distribution of music reach, and I believe music festivals such as Coachella, Made in America and many more are doing this.
I do not sit here and preach the death of EDM, and I don't I bash on what it's done for this generation. Although debatable circumstances have occurred, festival goers still had the chance to experience the unity, love and peace that once flourished on the grounds of Woodstock in 1969.
It's important for the new generation to have such experiences, as we will be the ones of great world influence in the decades to come. Understanding that unity and humanity can live as one, even if it's just a short concert length long, is imperative to the growth of mankind as we strive for a better tomorrow.
As this news of EDM's downfall continues spread, a special thanks is in order to the people who were in it to make a positive impact, and none for the Gretchen Wieners. The monopolizing self-interests of executives such as billionaire CEO of SFX Entertainment, Robert Sillerman, did not do any good. His people attached greed to creative fields, and in February, the corporation declared bankruptcy.
As for the new beginning, we should be so lucky to acknowledge it as it begins, for that allows us to truly appreciate the moment and the sounds of this new spring.
The time of the real DJ culture is upon us, and these guys aren't here for the fame and arm waving, but because they love their craft and way of sharing stories. If they were here for the fame, they would have either left when it was hijacked or floated over and followed suit. This breed of artists are loyal to their duty and truly professional about their approach, so you can certainly expect great things from this new horizon.
So as we mourn, or — in many cases — praise the death of the EDM craze, we can put faith back into the future of rhythm, music and culture as we enter a new wave of music that revisits the styles of the '80s and '90s. Much love to the ones in it for all the right reasons and to the music lovers of the world. Live with purpose. Inspire always.