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Digging For Gold In Dance Music?


“If you’re 15 to 25 years old now, this is your rock ‘n’ roll.” This is what Michael Rapino, the chief executive of Live Nation Entertainment, the world’s largest concert promoter, had to say in regards to large scale electronic dance music events. Check out this article the NY Times put together about the current value of “EDM” in the eyes of investors. We’re obviously at a point where hundreds of thousands of tickets will sell out for a weekend dance festival in a matter of hours, and that says a lot when it comes to the interest of major corporations. While dance music has already been seen on a commercial level for years, it seems like we’re really at a point where outsiders are looking in and electronic artists are becoming much larger figures in pop culture. While I’m not going to express my personal opinion of how I feel about the people representing dance music to the mainstream masses, I will express one thing; and that is how important it is to maintain the roots of our culture no matter how blown up this game gets.

I just read a response to this situation by the legendary Morgan Geist and couldn’t agree more. It goes as follows:

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I want to take this opportunity to encourage any musicians, DJs, music lovers and dancers who have been in this world for reasons more noble than money (creative expression, pushing boundaries, making people dance) to not get disheartened by this article.

Let’s remember a quote from a Detroit techno pioneer (possibly Jeff Mills) that I think of often: At rock concerts, people scream when they hear something they know and have heard before. With techno, people scream when they hear something they’ve never heard before.

When investors start looking to increase they’re wealth by investing in a subculture (or when the NY Times finally covers it), it’s something known. It’s boring. It’s over.

It’s the opposite of what dance music is for me.

Look at what’s happened in New York, where dancing atop or beneath fancy hotels in tiny, expensive lounges built for the rich (Le Bain, Submercer, etc.) or going to a mega-club (Pasha) or a mega-festival (Electric Zoo) constitutes the full spectrum of nightlife. What happened to the excitement of underground dance music, or places meant for sweating and FORGETTING finances and social pressures and investors and commercialism and peer pressure and conformity?

Time for a turnaround. I hope young people eventually recognize that they’re being sold out.

I’m on the same page as Morgan, but I’m pretty confident that the younger generation will become more educated if they truly love music, and hopefully keep the flame burning where it needs to be. This discussion certainly raises a lot of big points in different directions, so I’m definitely interested in hearing what you readers have to say. What are your thoughts? What changes would you like to see made in the business side of dance music?

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