EDM has well and truly blown up over the last decade in ways we would never have dreamed. The genre has moved from underground to the mainstream, with plenty of noteable moments along the way.
Billboard have released a list of the Top 100 EDM moments of the 2010s, covering the and fall of Avicii, Swedish House Mafia's One Last Tour, Skrillex's launch of American dubstep, Baauer's viral sensation 'Harlem Shake' (oh god we forgot about that...) and so much more.
The 2010s truly were the decade of EDM. Here are the Top 10 moments. You can check out the rest over at Billboard.com here.
10. SFX declares bankruptcy
"Not even the greatest of parties last forever. The same can be said of Robert Sillerman’s SFX: The conglomerate that brought DJs to Wall Street at the peak hour of EDM with its 2013 IPO, couldn’t fight the drop two years later. Facing a series of cashflow crises and the inevitable decline of a trend, SFX’s eventual chapter 11 filing in 2016 was the unceremonious turning on of the lights every raver knows all too well," says Billboard.
9. The Las Vegas residency wars
"Before Britney Spears and Lady Gaga made Las Vegas residencies cool again, an international stable of top international DJ-producers put Sin City back on the map for a new generation -- and changed the financial game for EDM as a whole in the process. That value wasn’t lost on casino owners, who, beginning around 2010, poured hundreds of millions into building a slate of decadent, spectacle-loaded new nightclubs (Marquee, Hakkasan, XS, Light... the list goes on.)"
"The ultimate draw, of course, would be the talent. Enter an unprecedented bidding war to lock down the likes of Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Afrojack and many more, to the reported tune of eight figures per contract (and between six and seven figure per night), even compelling top acts like Tiësto to ditch their Ibiza residencies completely in pursuit of that sweet, sweet Vegas dollar,"
8. Live Nation buys Cream Holdings, Insomniac Events and HARD Events (2012)
"This power play by the live event giant would mark a sea change for the EDM and concert industry, crystallizing not only dance music’s mainstream popularity but the transformation of a subculture into a lucrative business model. The move would usher in Live Nation’s market takeover, spiking competition, skyrocketing DJ fees and changing the scope and experience of festivals as a whole,"
7. "Harlem Shake" goes viral (2013)
"In February 2013, nearly a year after Baauer released “Harlem Shake” on Mad Decent imprint Jeffree’s, the song took on a life of its own. A YouTube user, DizastaMuzik (a.k.a. comedian Filthy Frank, real name George Miller, now known as the recording artist Joji), uploaded a video of himself and some friends dancing outlandishly to the song’s drop. By mid-month, more than 40,000 spin-off videos, each more wacky than the last, were created -- including those by firefighters, NBA players and late-night TV personalities -- putting “Harlem Shake,” its creator and experimental electronic music on the map,"
6. Deadmau5's 'We All Hit Play' post (2012)
"Deadmau5 lifted the veil from DJ culture with an infamous tumblr post, in which he broke down just how easy it was for DJs to perform live shows, even if they wanted to pretend otherwise. 'I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of Ableton and music tech in general could DO what I'm doing at a deadmau5 concert,' the artist born Joel Zimmerman write, going on to say that 'beatmatching isn't ever a f--king skill.' The post caused loads of discussion, and suspicion, in the scene about who was actually playing live and who was just hitting play. The post has since been deleted,"
5. The emergence of Disclosure’s “Latch”
"Where were you when you first heard 'Latch'? Maybe it was during Disclosure’s 2014 Coachella debut, when a still largely unknown Sam Smith popped out for a surprise feature. Maybe it was on the radio, after the song stormed the Hot 100 chart. You’ve probably heard it at the grocery store. The point is, somewhere between its 2012 release and 2014 sleeper hit success in the U.S., 'Latch' became ubiquitous, a symbol of both EDM’s firm arrival in the U.S., and the genre’s crossover into mainstream pop consciousness as a whole,"
4. Skrillex launches American dubstep
"Dubstep was created in South London in the early 2000s and popularized by producers such as Skream, Benga, Coki and Mala. But for Americans new to the EDM craze, dubstep was synonymous with a Los Angeles-based producer named Skrillex, who skyrocketed to fame in late 2010 with his My Name is Skrillex EP. His early catalog is on almost every YouTube compilation of sickest/filthiest/best dubstep drops, and his chaotic, head-thrashing take on the genre, often labeled 'brostep', yielded a generation of copycats -- and for Skrillex, six Grammy awards,"
3. Swedish House Mafia's One Last Tour (2012-2013)
"In 2012, arguably no dance music group was bigger or more bombastic than the mighy Nordic trio Swedish House Mafia. Together, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello had helped define the maximalist ethos of EDM through their explosive and massively popular live shows and their litany of hits including "One," "Miami 2 Ibiza," "Greyhound" and "Don't You Worry Child." In 2011, they sold out Madison Square Garden in under ten minutes. In 2012, they made history by becoming of the first EDM acts to ever play the Coachella mainstage,"
"Then, two months later and at the height of their popularity, they broke up. In a savvy marketing move orchestrated by the group's manager Amy Thompson, this news came with the announcement of their massive One Last Tour, 53 gigs that would allow them to say goodbye to their millions of fans around the globe, while making millions of dollars in the process. The shows were hugely successful and highly emotional, spawNing the 2014 documentary Leave The World Behind,"
"Rumors went that the guys simply weren't getting along, and neither Angello or the duo of Axwell and Ingrosso were able to replicate their success in the wake of their breakup. A 2018 reunion show at Ultra Music Festival came with news of their reunion, but neither a tour, nor any new music have yet to materialize,"
2. 'EDM' becomes dance music shorthand, and not without controversy
"In the mid-2000s, electronic music producers Justice, Boys Noize, MSTRKRFT and others blended punk energy, metal riffs and hip-hop rhythms into high-energy songs that fit more with the indie dance set than traditional mix-in house and techno. It sparked a revolution that influenced Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Porter Robinson and countless others. In 2009, you saw the Americanization of dubstep, the rise of Deadmau5, the launch of Major Lazer. Pop stars Lady Gaga, Kesha and Katy Perry brought electronic vibes to their hits,"
"By 2010, electronic music began to crossover to mainstream ears, and by 2011, record industry executives found a way to distill this trend into a quick-and-easy three-letter acronym. What once was just an energy without a name became 'Electronic Dance Music' or 'EDM'. While the acronym’s exact moment of origin is unclear, by the end of 2011 it had become the blanket term for all things with a heavy electronic sound and steady beat. Nu disco, dubstep, Dutch house, trance - it was all EDM now, which made it easy to identify with and flock to for a new, wide-eyed generation,"
"But many raised their eyebrows at the catch-all term, wary of how it collapsed such a rich and disparate genre into an easy -- and easy to commercialize -- term. Indeed, with the unifying descriptor came both cultural identity and commercial opportunity for the corporate entities arriving to the scene along with all the kids. From liquor companies, to car companies, to cigarette companies, many saw money in 'EDM'. Clothing companies popped up to sell festival-going men and women'EDM' appropriate neon tanks and daisy bras. Live Nation founder Robert Sillerman infamously declared he'd invest $1 billion into the 'EDM' event marketplace, acquiring large stakes in Life in Color, Tomorrowland, Electric Zoo and Beatport. Las Vegas' put star 'EDM' DJs on nightlife pedestals, and by 2016, everyone was talking about the 'EDM bubble' and when it might burst. For many, the term was thus anathema, representing what some considered an oversimplified paint by numbers sound heard on festival mainstages and the suits who had arrived to get a financial piece of a formerly underground scene,"
"Today, Latin music and hip-hop outshine the genre, and while 'EDM' in many ways has been absorbed into pop, the acronym itself remains a definitive 2010s dance scene creation and defining characteristic,"
1. The rise and fall of Avicii
"Avicii represented the heights of the scene, with his massive hits, massive paydays, high-flying lifestyle and global fanbase, which altogether created the template for EDM superstardom. Critics may have called his music cheesy -- 'They were the one percent,' said Avicii's one-time manager Ash Pournouri. 'I’d tell Tim that we were making music for the 99 percent, for the people who really loved and appreciated it.' But the millions of fans streaming Avicii tracks like "Levels" and "Fade Into Darkness" knew that the Swedish producer born Tim Bergling was making the defining anthems of the EDM youth movement. The songs were huge, joyous, melodic and unabashedly pop-oriented, ushering in the EDM era on a wave of glowsticks and serotonin spikes,"
"But Bergling, just 21 years old at the time he blew up also showed us the dark side of the dance world. His relentless touring reflected the grind artists were forced into to achieve and maintain fame, while his ongoing health issues -- he famously canceled his set at Ultra 2014 in order to have gall bladder surgery -- showed us the physical depletion that occurs when the party never really ends. Meanwhile, his mental health issues -- exacerbated to the extreme by his lifetyle -- illuminated a problem experienced by many in the scene who experience the thrill of the stage followed by the quiet of a lonely hotel room. Despite quitting touring to focus on music in 2016 and, by accounts from his closest friends, rebounding into a place of excellent physical and mental health, Bergling couldn't escape his demons, dying by suicide on April 20, 2018 at a resort in Oman,"
"The news sent shockwaves around the world, with four million tweets mentioning "Avicii" lighting up Twitter on the day of his passing. ('If in some miracle you can see this,' Skrillex wrote, 'I hope you know that as long as human beings are alive on this planet, you will forever remain an inspiration.') Meanwhile, bars in his native Stockholm settled into shocked silence when the news hit town,"
"While critics had long debated when the EDM bubble would burst, arguably nothing represented the wane of the EDM era more than Bergling's death. By 2018, tastes were shifting away from maximalist EDM and more "underground" towards house and techno, while DJ paydays were falling and hip-hop and Latin were rising to become the prevailing genres,"
"But the success of Avicii's 2019 posthumous album Tim demonstrates that the Avicii legacy and the decade he defined does indeed endure, with thousands of hands still rising into the air whenever one of his tracks drops at a festival. That Avicii's music, and the sound he helped forge, will live forever is little consolation, but it remains undeniable nonetheless,"
What a crazy decade it's been in the world of EDM. Can't wait to see what the 2020s have in store!