Never in a million years would anyone have anticipated hearing a song sampling Avicii on Hot 97. (a New York Hip Hop Radio Station) House music has truly managed to get a stranglehold on the music industry in the past few years, covertly taking the reins from mainstream pop and hip hop by incorporating the already popular genres into it’s ever-evolving musical style. It is peculiar to note at first, but when one considers strategic collaborations with pop stars by DJs like Afrojack, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris, this rapid ascent to prominence isn’t too surprising.
Indeed, house music always had a popular following, but these fans were typically limited to hardcore ravers and clubgoers in years past. In 2012, we are witnessing a revolutionary house music phenomenon, and you’d be hard strung to find anyone who doesn’t have at least one house song they play on repeat.
From high school students to middle-aged mothers, the sounds of pop and hip hop have slowly taken the back seat as this genre has taken over the charts and continues to prove its relevance in popular music. House music reached extreme popularity in Europe many years ago, but it wasn’t until David Guetta began bridging the gap with America that the United States truly adopted house music into its national playlist.
Suddenly, everyone has become a crazed fan for this electronic style of dance music. Radio stations that have been generally mainstream pop and hip hop-centric are now beginning to adopt EDM into their daily sets as overwhelming demand shifts towards this catchy, melodic music. If you follow Electronic Dance Music concert sales, you’ll note that events and festivals sell out in minutes now. Generally, if you don’t purchase your tickets at the precise moment they go on sale you’re simply out of luck, unless you fall victim to scalpers.
“Dance music has risen to the level where it has been respected and embraced by all genre’s of music and various recording artists ranging from hip-hop, R&B and pop. All I can say is that I am happy we are finally all on the same page and all working together.” -DJ Estrella
Due to the huge uprising in mainstream relevance and overwhelming success of this genre, stars from myriad genres—from metal to hip-hop—are crossing over to work with these DJs, one of the most famous and commercially successful collaborations being “We Found Love” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris.
The world hasn’t seen such a transition of power in the music industry since the rise of hip-hop. Some are calling this a bubble—simply a temporary trend—and remain unsure of how long the popularity can last, but we are positive that House music is here to stay. The combination of an electronic beat and beautiful vocals is so undeniably pleasing for a wide audience that we simply cannot foresee any change in the near future.
Rappers Jay-Z, Kanye West and Pitbull along with pop princesses Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga all released tracks over the summer that incorporated a “dubstep” beat. Pitbull’s career is arguably centered on his ability to rap over a house beat and make people in the clubs go crazy over it. It certainly isn’t his nonsensical babble he calls “lyrics” that is drawing the fans in. One of his strategies was finding chart-topping European and remixing them before they came to the US, a laudable, practical approach to say the least.
“When I talk to my European DJ friends, they can’t believe it. It used to be hard for them to come here and tour, except of course for Chicago and Detroit. But aside from those cities it was always marginal — the average MTV kid was always listening to hip hop or rock, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago where it exploded.” says A-Trak (DJ/Producer).
If the music itself taking off wasn’t enough, the shows and performances are increasing in popularity at an utterly astronomical rate. Ultra Music Festival, the greatest festival the United States has to offer, brought in more than 150,000 fans and generated millions of dollars in revenue. Coachella, a festival that’s typically rather diverse, featured so many EDM artists in its lineup that some fans were angered, claiming that the festival had “gone mainstream.” These music festivals were always popular in Europe, but now the US has taking a significant liking to it as well.
Events like the Cosmic Opera have expanded America’s generally simplistic EDM concert experiences into revolutionary “extrasensory experiences.” Clubs are even booking these DJs to play for them and charge a minimum of $20,000 a table just to listen to them. The craziest part? Fans are actually loyal enough to pay this lofty fee.
These world class DJs are booked frequently in various metropolitan areas around the globe. Their asking price to play a set, might you ask? A whooping 100,000-250,000 depending on the DJ. Swedish House Mafia, who is best known for their breakthrough hit song “One”, has garnered such popularity that they managed to sell out the entirety of Madison Square Garden in an hour of tickets on a PRESALE. That’s right, tickets sold out so rapidly that the Swedes didn’t even get to General Admission.
The advent of social media platforms have aided in this rapid rise to prominence, allowing these DJs to share their music rapidly and provide an intimate connection with fans through Itunes podcasts and Soundcloud releases. Avicii mastered this marketing ploy, posting a plethora of remixes of artists like Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren along with compelling original productions that spread like wildfire. Even Tiesto became a fan of his music!
“A couple of years ago we would never imagine this” said Axwell after the SWH show in Madison Square Garden. Indeed, years ago if you told someone house music would have such an impact on mainstream society, you’d probably garner laughter. Today, however, the only people laughing are these superstar DJs—all the way to the bank, that is.