Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Reality Of EDM's Global Popularity

Electronic Dance Music image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 Blog
Depending upon who you listen to in the music industry, EDM (Electronic Dance Music for the uninitiated) is either the next big thing, the biggest trend in the music world right now, or a passing fad (although it's been 30 years now and it hasn't passed yet). Recently EMI did a pretty comprehensive survey of over 750,000 consumers and presented an interesting paper at the Ibiza Music Summit). These were some of their conclusions (taken from their slide show).
● There are 7 high level genres of EDM, 45 detailed ‘sub-genres’. 
● The biggest countries for EDM are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, and the US.
● The US is a special case because Dance/electronic music has only half the passion that Rock music has, even for young people. It has a similar level of passion to Urban music, and it's rivaled or beaten by Country music, even for young people.
● The US has little passion for dance (16th out of 17 countries), but it has the most people who are passionate (1st of 17).
● In the UK, passion for Dance/Electronic music rivals that for Rock music up to age 25. It’s consistently more loved than Urban music. It has no rivals beyond Rock, Pop and Urban.
● In the US, the most passionate age group (16-24) are only half as passionate (57%) about dance/electronic music as they are about the biggest genre. In the UK they’re almost as passionate about dance as they are about the genre they’re most passionate about (87%).
● There is no evidence that dance is ‘older’ or ‘younger’ in the UK or the US. The pattern by age is similar in the UK and the US – it’s just proportionally bigger in the UK.
● In the UK dance is pretty mainstream (less engaged consumers are about 75% as passionate about dance as the engaged consumers are) whereas in the US it’s not very mainstream at all (less-engaged consumers are only about 56% as passionate about dance as engaged consumers are).
● Passion for the different genres of dance music are similar in the US and the UK, except for Drum n Bass, which is more popular in the UK. And except for Techno because the word is often used in the US to describe dance/electronic music overall.
● There is a language problem. The most popular dance genre amongst people passionate about dance /electronic music is … ‘dance’ – they don’t know how better to describe what they like.
● People passionate about dance/electronic music describe it as: Cool, Upbeat, Energetic and Edgy.
● People not passionate about it describe it as: Boring, Annoying, Intrusive, Superficial and Noisy.
● The same artist is often described very differently in different countries. Always as ‘Energetic’, but sometimes as Edgy and Upbeat (France), sometimes Cool (Germany, UK), sometimes Catchy (UK).
I found this to be a great study in that instead of relying on numbers exclusively, it got into the essence of EDM's standing in the music world. Plus, this was very insightful for a major record label to do as well. It would be great if we could see more of this in the future.

The upshot is that the genre is certainly the current trend in that it's getting a lot of press and label attention, but it's still not as large or as passionate as that same press leads us to believe. There's much more to the study, which can be read here.
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2 comments:

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