Electronic dance music is a set of percussive music genres that largely stem from the production methods of disco music, techno music, house music, and trance music. Such music was popularized via regional nightclub scenes in the 1980s, the warehouse party scene of the late 1980s, and the early rave scene of the acid house movement in the late 1980s. The term electronic dance music was used in America as early as 1985, but didn’t catch on as a genre name until the second half of the 1990s, when it was embraced by the American music industry and in academic writing. The term’s use surged in the US in the late 2000s with the mainstream appeal of hybrid styles which were increasingly disconnected from EDM, relatively underground roots, but remains largely unknown in the UK, where genres of electronic music for dancing are collectively referred to as “dance music”.
EDM were constructed by means of electronic instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers, and these genres generally emphasized the unique sounds of those instruments, even when mimicking traditional acoustic instrumentation. Some of the most widely used synthesizers in electronic dance music include the Yamaha DX7, Korg M1, and Roland’s Jupiter and SH-101. By the early 2000s, computer software for audio synthesis and sound manipulation allowed for bedroom EDM studios to become completely computer-based. Currently the music is now mostly made using software that contains sequencing, sampling, synthesizers, effects, and multitrack recording features. The ability to produce and create has become much easier economically and physically since producers no longer need to buy large amounts of equipment.
EDM performers (disc jockeys and producers) usually perform on both indoor and outdoor dance music festivals called “raves”.
In 2011, Spin magazine reported that the American dance music scene had finally reached critical mass with a “new rave generation” of mainstream consumers having emerged. According to Time Out Chicago, EDM has “become the driving beat behind pop music and product sales, the soundtrack of choice for a new generation.”