Mainstream EDM Vs. Underground- War goes on!

Are Brand Deals & Top 10 Commercial Radio Spots hurting the EDM community? Or just a propaganda war out of Jealousy?

How it All Started

This war started since EDM became the cool kid of the block. From the time Electronic Music was born, the creators never got the respect & fidelity they deserved. Slowly after few decades of banging their head in the studio & playing in gloomy nightclubs, commercial money started flowing in.  Many artist’s music were more appealing to the mass started promoting themselves into the commercial world and many of them started writing music which was intended to take the Top 10 radio spots. From making songs that suit the peakhour radio broadcasts to hitting billboard charts. Slowly came brand deals like Avicii & Ralph Lauren to Hardwell & Vredestien . The rage of the war became more furious when Music Festivals like Ultra & Tomorrowland became big & their headliners were all the Mainstream “commercial” artists. Many artists who were still supporting the underground culture of EDM got infuriated.

About The War

Most of the new kids who came to know EDM as just Skrillex, the mop haircut guy or Hardwell, who closes the UMF mainstage every time or even that Snake guy who made Turn Down for What & doesn’t have a picture without his sunglasses on will not know that this war started long time before all these publicity stunts started happening in the EDM scene. Just because there was no online social media where that dead rat could publicly trash another artist for some publicity doesn’t mean that the underground guys went around hugging the mainstream guys of that time.
People will often argue that if someone’s music suddenly becomes a radio/mainstream hit which he/she never intended to be one then shouldn’t he improve & make more music which will be appealing to the mass just like his old one?
Well yes, for few cases that is story behind it but a great song out of nowhere becomes a global hit only once in a blue moon. Most of the time a hell lot of work goes behind the scene for a release to become a hit that the mass audience are not allowed to know of. Great songs are pushed hard to become a global hit. Still no one knows the actual recipe to make a hit. For sure though, most of the time, just an amazing song won’t cut through.

Many people think that this war is just a propaganda of the underground guys as they couldn’t reach the stardom, so out of jealousy they hate the stardom of other artist. Well yes, sometimes out of jealousy, artists do hate one another but most of the time that’s not the case. The main reason of conflict is that most of the underground artists think that commercialization destroys an artform. The scene becomes stagnant to a certain level as more & more artist are inclined to please the mainstream audience. Sometimes that happens but still the scene grows. Or as one should say, it evolves. The EDM scene is the most versatile form of music out of any other. Each & every day the culture is changing, people’s taste are changing. As a whole, the scene is evolving.Just few years ago those big hardstyle inspired kick were killing the radio even though they were made for the club for example Animals and now the radio’s & the audience’s taste has changed. Who knew, from that hippie, drug abuser, drunk culture to a multi billion dollar industry. Thousands of people are employed just because some lonely guy is pressing his computer keys in his small attic making weird noises.

…. Will Go On!

It all boils down to what you, as an artist, want to become. If you want to be that guy who just wants tours around the world, playing in different clubs & mainstage venues, meeting new people everyday then sure go on that path. However if you want to become a proper Electronic Dance Music artist who creates each and every song on his own, knows how every plugin works, knows a lot about the scene, knows how to make the clubber move their feet to how to make a set of 50,000 people arena go crazy then sure pursue that option too. Both has it own pros & cons. Whatever you are doing, you just need to work  hard and smart. Just hard work isn’t gonna crack in today’s day & age. For as long as EDM stays in the spotlight of commercial media, this war will go on. If the artist is happy staying underground & doing what he loves & is happy about it then other’s opinions will not bother him. And even if life in the limelight seems attractive to you, do know it comes at a cost.There have been a lot of cases among musicians where an artist got frustrated of the spotlight & suffered nervous breakdown as it also takes its toll on the physical health of an artist. So to end it, I will say if someone has to hate you he/she will, no matter what. As the saying goes, if someone is hating you for no reason give that gentleman a reason.


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About The Author
Sayantan Chakraborty