Why I Can't Take "EDM" Seriously

Categories: EDM

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Eric Gruneisen
I love electronic music. I love the sound, the artists, the parties, the people, the scene -- in fact, I'm into pretty much everything about this particular genre of music. But there's one thing about electronica that I'm really, really not into. At all.

It's the term "EDM." I hate it.

Some of this sentiment might be attributable to old-school sentimentality. I am yelling at the kids to get off my lawn. I acknowledge that.

But there are reasons for my dislike that transcend the fact that I'm a crotchety old raver. 1) It's inaccurate. 2) It's really only used in the United States. 3) It's used mostly by people outside the scene to describe music they don't really understand.

I started listening to electronic music in the late '90s. Back then, people used another blanket term for electronic music: techno. This wasn't a sustainable descriptor, mostly because techno is a specific sub-genre of electronic music -- it's kind of like referring to all rock music as "metal."

Those of us who were listening to it, though, typically didn't refer to it as "techno." We used the names for the specific sub-genres -- house, drum-and-bass, garage, trip-hop, etc. -- or we talked about music in the context of a specific event.

Sometimes, you'd hear people talk about "dance music" when discussing the rave scene during that point in time. This is how Europeans were referring to electronic music, and it was considered self-evident that the dance music in question was electronic -- what other kind of dance music was there, really? In Europe today, most people still use the term "dance music," and they consider the "EDM" term to be uniquely American (and, judging from how different European artists have used the term when I've talked to them about the scene, they also seem to think it's rather quaint).

Things changed as the genres gained popularity in the United States. A few years ago, around the mid-2000s, electronic music became much, much more popular, and a new blanket term to describe it was generated: EDM, which stands for "electronic dance music."

You might be wondering by now what my big issue with the term is. After all, EDM isn't that far removed from "dance music," and we have to call it something, right?

Continue to page two.


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17 comments
HOuse
HOuse

what about lady gaga's association with it? that makes EDM even worse, like,

empty dumb miming....


aaronmccoy242
aaronmccoy242 topcommenter

you can call it whatever you want..............it's still shit.  It steals people's attention from music that is created by people who spend a lifetime crafting their skills as a musician.  Lets put a quarter note bass drum track on every song in our entire genre.... OK... Man, I sound like an asshole

amanda.public.safety
amanda.public.safety

You have high hopes for a country that calls the international sport of football soccer. 

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

I stand by my original comment. And also, FIRST!

James David
James David

Hi Nathan Watson! Those people in the photo look like they're dancing to me. Don't call it dance music though, it's so much deeper than that.

Faryn Rose Dugas
Faryn Rose Dugas

Stupid. It's an abbreviation of the umbrella term for the genre....get over it.

Dan Porter
Dan Porter

I am now going to refer to punk music as "TAM" Teenage Angst Music.

Chris Mueller
Chris Mueller

EDM is a pejorative term. I call it that because I'm not a fan :)

Dan Porter
Dan Porter

I think electronic music has been around long enough we can just call it "Pop..." I am sure everyone would just be fine with that... ;0

PrncetonReverb
PrncetonReverb

I never thought I'd hear anyone who actually used, in earnest, the words trip-hop, downtempo, and chill-out, with a straight face get all persnickety about that acronym (EDM). This is The Onion, right?

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Oh boo hoo. Now you know how the punks feel.

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