Many of the EDM’s biggest names are nominated for a Grammy this year and will no doubt be attending the industry’s biggest bash this Sunday. With Skrillex leading the pack with five nominations, deadmau5, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and Duck Sauce all up for something themselves, everyone is in good company.
It is not without surprise that Diplo, A-Trak and Skrillex line the cover of February’s issue of Billboard Magazine. In case you weren’t sure whether or not dance music really has caught on here in the US, some might say infiltrate, I’d call this further evidence.
Can’t forget about house music’s boy wonder Avicii, and his hit single “Levels.” It was featured in a thirty-second ad that aired during the Super Bowl for Anheuser Busch’s new addition to their beer roster, Bud Light Platinum. I’m still not in the mood for a Bud Platinum, tho. It just sounds oxymoronic.
This all happening just weeks before what’s widely seen as the genre’s biggest time to shine here in the states…Winter Music Conference, Miami Music Week (why two?), ultimately culminating in Ultra Music Festival. Mark your calendars, March 12 and March 19 respectively.
Soak in what I said above and it sounds like there’s a story to tell and even more dots to connect. It is happening. If the take over isn’t official it’s about to be. I’m a believer. What else would I need, it’s right in front of me on billboards, magazine covers, the Super Bowl and most notably…
Seeing Skrillex next to names like Nicki Minaj, J. Cole and Bon Iver for Best New Artist, a Grammy, is a statement all its own. Explicating how large of an influence dubstep’s face has had in promulgating a genre. However, Skrillex’s remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema” may be his best shot for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. He is also up for Best Short Form Music Video for “First of The Year (Equinox)”, Best Dance Recording for “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and Best Dance/Electronica Album for his album of the same name. You can see the full list of nominees for these categories, along with winner predictions below.
Head-to-head in three categories, it will be interesting to see if Skrillex can outdo the force partially responsible for helping him get his career to this point by taking him under his wing at mau5trap Records, deadmau5.
Who missed the cut this year? Tiësto and Kaskade
It’s a big deal that some of EDM’s biggest names made the cover of Billboard, usually featuring the biggest names in pop music. Is that ironic? Are these guys today’s pop music? We’re used to artists like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, Britney Spears or Adam Levine of Maroon 5 taking the cover spots. To quote a Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” In the video attached to the story on Billboard.com, Wesley Pentz, who many of us more commonly know as Diplo explains the immediacy of feedback available from the web, “The entire Internet is our focus group at this point.”
Once a video or track is put out, artists can see if people like it right away through social media channels.
Here’s what the DJ/producers, who have seven Grammy nominations among them, had to share along with some other interesting highlights from the article which can be found in full here.
"But despite the lack of pomp, inside the room stand three of the most powerful—and arguably, revolutionary—figures to hit pop culture in years, let alone the music business. They've come to liberate fans and artists from hierarchy, conformity and general boringness."
Diplo, on their success:
I know one thing—the major labels, the A&Rs, are very frightened right now. They see that things are in our hands in a lot of ways.
A-Trak, on the music industry right now:
It’s a time where all of us are able to rewrite the rules. Not to sound too cocky, but it’s like there are no more rules. There is a captive audience, and it’s hungry. It’s our time to be creative in how we feed it.
Skrillex, on being recognized by the Recording Academy:
I never would’ve thought that would ever happen in my whole entire life, ever, because of the music I make. I still don’t understand. I play in Las Vegas and there are guys spending $50,000 on tables to see me. What I do is just weird music.
Last year at this time, these three were doing what DJ/producers always did: Putting out off-the-dial music for small audiences, trying to get gigs and graciously taking occasional calls from the mainstream's parallel universe. Now, they form a powerful consortium: Together, they boast more than 1.2 million Twitter followers; 3.9 million on Facebook; seven Grammy nominations in 2012; the run their own trendsetting record labels with rosters that major-label A&R reps relentlessly scout; they get love and support of powerful brands and influential friends and collaborators who look to them for what's next.
These individuals arent just terrific DJs, producers and hitmakers, theyre curators. Cultural trendsetters and musical pacesetters who have an ability to spot talent, as well as build brands that are meaningful to consumers, and speak to a really special and unique point of view. When you buy into them as a DJ or label head, youre peeling away layers of an onion, revealing other facets of their strengths and talents, because their tastes are akin to why you like them in the first place. Their ability to be breeding grounds for new talent is a fascinating side to this new space. -Craig Kallman, chairman/CEO of Atlantic Records Group
Here’s a full list of the categories dance music artists are nominated in at this year’s Grammys, along with my predictions:
Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
"Cinema" (Skrillex Remix) | Benny Benassi
Collide (Afrojack Remix) | Leona Lewis
"End of Line" (Photek) | Daft Punk
"Only Girl (In The World)"(Rosabel Club Mix) | Rihanna
"Rope" (Deadmau5 Mix) | Foo Fighters
Best Short Form Music Video
"Rolling In The Deep" Adele
"Yes I Know" Memory Tapes
"All Is Not Lost" OK Go
"Lotus Flower" Radiohead
"First Of The Year (Equinox)" Skrillex
"Perform This Way" 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Best New Artist
The Band Perry
Best Dance Recording
"Raise Your Weapon" Deadmau5 & Greta Svabo Bech
"Barbra Streisand" Duck Sauce
"Sunshine" David Guetta & Avicii
"Call Your Girlfriend" Robyn
"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" Skrillex
"Save The World" Swedish House Mafia
Best Dance/Electronica Album
Nothing But The Beat David Guetta
Body Talk, Pt. 3 Robyn
Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites Skrillex