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What is EDM Music? A Comprehensive Guide, EDM Explained for Electronic Music Lovers.

Kono Vidovic April 16, 2023 775 7 5

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As an great lover and DJ in electronic dance music I am pleased to present this in-depth guide on EDM music. Whether you are a die-hard fan or a music professional, this article aims to provide valuable insights into the origins, characteristics, and commercial success of EDM music. Additionally, we will explore the future of EDM music and its impact on popular culture. So without further ado What is EDM music?

Where does EDM stand for?

The history of EDM.

Origins of EDM Music.

Electronic dance music (EDM) is a broad genre that encompasses many sub-genres, such as house, techno, trance, dubstep, and drum and bass. The origins of EDM can be traced back to the early days of electronic music, which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s with the development of new electronic instruments such as the synthesizer and sampler.

The 1980s saw the emergence of house music, which originated in Chicago and was influenced by disco, funk, and soul music. House music became popular in clubs and underground dance scenes in Chicago and New York City, and eventually spread to other parts of the world. Also read our guide on the history of Deep House.

Techno music also emerged in the 1980s, in Detroit, Michigan. Techno was heavily influenced by house music but had a more industrial and futuristic sound, with a focus on machine-like rhythms and synthesized sounds.

Other sub-genres of EDM, such as trance, dubstep, and drum and bass, emerged in the 1990s and 2000s, and were influenced by various musical styles and cultures.

analog audio mixer for making EDM music

Characteristics of EDM Music.

EDM music is characterized by its tempo, rhythm, and beat. Most EDM music has a fast tempo, typically ranging from 120 to 160 beats per minute. The rhythm of EDM is usually based on a four-on-the-floor pattern, which means that there is a bass drum hit on every beat of the measure.

EDM music also heavily relies on the use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments. The use of these instruments allows producers to create a wide variety of sounds and textures that are not possible with traditional instruments.

Repetition and variation in melody and harmony are also characteristic of EDM music. Melodies and chord progressions are often repeated throughout the track, but with slight variations and developments. This creates a sense of tension and release that is essential to the genre.

hands of a man using a midi controller for making EDM sub genres.

Sub-genres in EDM.

As mentioned earlier, electronic dance music is a broad genre that encompasses many sub-genres. Here are some of the most popular sub-genres in EDM:

  • House Music – House music is one of the earliest sub-genres of EDM and originated in Chicago in the 1980s. It features a four-on-the-floor beat and repetitive, soulful vocals. Sub-genres of house music include deep house, acid house, and progressive house.
  • Techno – Techno music emerged in Detroit in the 1980s and is characterized by its industrial and futuristic sound. Techno music often features complex rhythms, hypnotic melodies, and a minimalistic approach to production.
  • Trance – Trance music emerged in the 1990s and is characterized by its melodic and euphoric sound. Trance music features a fast tempo, uplifting melodies, and repetitive rhythms. Sub-genres of trance music include vocal trance, uplifting trance, and progressive trance.
  • Dubstep – Dubstep is a sub-genre of EDM that emerged in the early 2000s and is characterized by its heavy bass and aggressive sound. Dubstep often features a slow tempo, wobbly basslines, and intense drops.
  • Drum and Bass – Drum and Bass (DnB) is a sub-genre that emerged in the early 1990s in the UK. DnB is characterized by its fast tempo and complex rhythms, with a focus on the bassline and breakbeats.
  • Nu Disco – Nu Disco is a sub-genre that emerged in the 2000s and is characterized by its disco-influenced sound. Nu Disco often features funk and soul samples, with a modern electronic twist.
  • Deep Disco – Deep Disco is a sub-genre that emerged in the 2010s and is characterized by its slow, deep, and groovy sound. Deep Disco often features disco and funk samples, with a focus on a smooth and laidback vibe.
  • Deep House – Deep House is a sub-genre of EDM that emerged in the 1980s and is characterized by its soulful and jazzy sound. Deep House often features deep basslines, piano chords, and a slow, steady rhythm.
  • Electronica – Electronica is a catch-all term used to describe various sub-genres of electronic music that do not fit neatly into any other category. Electronica often features experimental, ambient, or avant-garde sounds.

These sub-genres are just a few examples of the diverse and evolving musical landscape of EDM. Whether you prefer the soulful sounds of deep house or the aggressive drops of dubstep, there is a sub-genre of electronic dance music to suit your taste.

DJ Culture in EDM.

DJ culture is an integral part of the EDM scene. DJs play a vital role in creating and performing electronic dance music, using various techniques such as mixing, scratching, and beatmatching to create a seamless and dynamic experience for the audience.

The rise of superstar DJs such as Calvin Harris, David Guetta, and Tiesto has brought EDM music to mainstream audiences and has helped to popularize the genre worldwide.

Commercial Success of EDM Music.

EDM music’s mainstream popularity and crossover appeal have led to its commercial success. The influence of Electronic Dance Music on popular music and culture is evident in the rise of electronic-infused pop songs and the incorporation of EDM elements in various musical styles.

Critics of EDM’s commercial success argue that the genre has become too formulaic and lacks the experimentation and innovation that characterized its early days.

However, despite these criticisms, EDM music continues to dominate the music industry, with several artists achieving mainstream success and packing out arenas and festivals worldwide.

One of the most significant contributors to the commercial success of EDM music is the rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, which allow fans to easily access and discover new music from all over the world. This has allowed EDM artists to reach wider audiences and gain more recognition than ever before.

Another factor that has contributed to the commercial success of EDM music is the rise of music festivals, such as Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Daisy Carnival. These festivals have become a staple of the scene, attracting massive crowds and showcasing the biggest and best names in the genre.

In addition, EDM music’s commercial success has led to the rise of EDM record labels, such as Monstercat, Spinnin’ Records, and Armada Music. These labels have helped to promote and distribute the genre to a wider audience, as well as providing a platform for new and emerging artists to gain recognition and support.

Despite the criticisms of EDM’s commercial success, there is no denying the impact that the genre has had on popular music and culture. From the rise of electronic-infused pop songs to the incorporation of EDM elements in various musical styles, EDM music has left an indelible mark on the music industry and continues to shape and influence the sounds of today and tomorrow.

people at concert

Future of EDM Music.

Despite criticisms, the future of EDM music looks promising. Advancements in technology have enabled producers and DJs to push the boundaries of what is possible in music production and performance.

The rise of virtual and augmented reality technology has also opened up new possibilities for immersive and interactive music experiences.

The role of EDM in shaping future music and culture cannot be underestimated, as it continues to inspire and influence musicians and music fans worldwide.

Moreover, EDM has also become a platform for social and political commentary, with artists using their music and platform to address issues such as climate change, inequality, and mental health.

As the EDM scene continues to evolve and expand, there is a growing focus on sustainability and social responsibility, with festivals and artists working to reduce their environmental impact and promote positive social change.

The future of EDM music also lies in the diversification of sub-genres, with artists experimenting and blending various styles and influences to create new sounds and experiences, something that we excel at here at Dirty Disco. From the rise of future bass and trap to the resurgence of disco and house music, the EDM scene is constantly evolving and adapting to new trends and tastes.

Another promising aspect of the future of EDM music is the increasing collaboration and cross-pollination with other genres, such as hip-hop, R&B, and pop. This has led to the creation of exciting new sounds and styles that appeal to a broader audience and push the boundaries of what is possible in music.

The future of EDM music is bright and promising, with advancements in technology and a growing focus on sustainability and social responsibility driving innovation and experimentation. As it continues to inspire and influence musicians and music fans worldwide, we can expect to see exciting new sounds and experiences emerge in the years to come.


EDM music is a vibrant and evolving genre that has captured the hearts and minds of music lovers and professionals around the world. Its origins, characteristics, and commercial success make it a genre worth exploring for anyone interested in music production, performance, or just enjoying a good dance party.

As EDM music continues to evolve and influence popular culture, it is important to appreciate its roots and the creativity and experimentation that has characterized the genre from the beginning. Whether you are a longtime fan or new to the scene, The popular genre offers an exciting and dynamic musical landscape to explore and enjoy.

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights and information on EDM music, and we encourage you to continue to explore this exciting genre and its many sub-genres. Make sure to tune into our weekly podcast to stay updated on the latest and forthcoming music. Keep dancing and keep the music playing!

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Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco

Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

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