Taggart’s Take: Electronic Dance Music May be ‘Revolution’ Genre for Millennial Generation


Michael Taggart/San Jacinto Times

Tiësto performs at Something Wicked on Oct. 29. He and other EDM DJs generate $7.4 billion dollars in revenue for the music industry.

Trends come and go faster than a quick scroll through your Twitter feed, and the same goes for trends in the music industry. But with music, every generation witnesses something big. Not a trend or fad, but a movement.

Sure, each generation has its own soundtrack, and every so often a new style of music breaks out of relative obscurity and moves into the mainstream. But ultimately, the driving force behind every music revolution is a generation’s youth.

When teenagers and young adults follow a new style of music great changes come about. Changes like the revolution that was Rock n’ Roll in the fifties and sixties, the explosion of Rap and Hip Hop in the eighties and now, the music genre-defining this generation is Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Teenagers and young adults no longer have to go to their local record shops to hear the latest album release; now listening to their favorite artist is as easy as opening an App. In fact, millennials have racked up a whopping 12 billion streams of the EDM genre on Spotify alone. 

EDM artists don’t play guitar or spit out thought-provoking lyrics; all they need is a mixer deck. DJs like Calvin Harris, Zedd, and Skrillex are becoming household names while DJ groups like The Chainsmokers or Major Lazer are dominating the music charts. According to the International Music Summit’s (IMS) annual report, the EDM Industry is now earning $7.4 billion dollars annually; a 3% increase from their 2016 findings.   

Once a showcase for live acts, popular music festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and Lollapalooza now predominately feature EDM talent. Festivals solely dedicated to EDM are some of the hottest tickets around and are growing into the largest music festivals in the world.

The Electronic Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Las Vegas, Ultra music festival in Miami, and the Tomorrow Land festival in Belgium are the premier must-attend events for diehard EDM fans. In Houston, the EDM festival Something Wicked comes with a Halloween-themed twist.

Since its debut in 2012, Something Wicked has grown rapidly bringing thousands of fans to Sam Houston Race Park year after year. This year’s festival, held Oct. 28-29, was headlined by industry legend Tiësto, super group Above & Beyond, and fan favorites Marshmello, Zeds Dead, and RL Grime.

Now, one might argue the emergence of EDM does not constitute a music “revolution” because the “performer” is more producer than musician. But, just turn on your radio or open up Spotify to see what’s trending and you will have to agree, some type of revolution is creeping up on us.

That’s just my take, what’s yours?