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Music video by Rihanna performing Take A Bow. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 66288884. (C) 2008 The Island Def Jam Music Group.
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Music video by Taylor Swift performing Back To December. (C) 2011 Big Machine Records, LLC.
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Electronic dance music (also known as EDM, dance music, club music, or simply dance) is a set of percussive electronic music genres produced primarily for environments centered in dance-based entertainment, such as nightclub settings. The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set; wherein the DJ progresses from one record to the next via a synchronized segue or "mix".
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Contemporary electronic dance music largely stems from the production methods of disco and its more purely electronic descendants house, techno, and trance, styles which dominated the first wave of electronic dance music in the 1980s and 1990s.
Electronic disco 
In the latter half of the 1970s, recorded disco music began to shift away from traditional orchestration (electric bass and guitar, live drums, and acoustic orchestras), and increasingly embraced electronic instruments. Synthetic sounds from synthesizers and drum machines became a feature of many disco records in the late 1970s and into the 1980s. Notable examples include the 1977 collaboration between producer Giorgio Moroder and vocalist Donna Summer on the song "I Feel Love", a groundbreaking dance/discothèque hit with no traditional instruments. In 1979, the pair collaborated again on Donna Summer's highest-selling album, Bad Girls, which incorporated similar production techniques.
In the early 1980s, disco's popularity waned, especially in the United States. Major U.S. record labels and producers abandoned the style, only keeping it as an affectation in the short-lived wave of funky R&B called boogie. However in Europe, pop-oriented forms of disco continued evolving within the broad, relatively mainstream Euro disco scene, culminating in the late 1980s peak of the upbeat Hi-NRG style of electronic disco, dominated by a small cadre of mostly British producers.
Post-disco styles 
Meanwhile, competing forms of dance music, some lighter and some more serious, but all focusing on electronic timbres, took root in the post-disco club scenes, yielding occasional radio hits. Although not as strongly influential as later genres, these styles were mainstays in the 1980s club scene. They include the hazy, studio effects-heavy sound of dub; the strongly New Wave-based, upbeat fusion genre synth-pop; the syncopated hybrid electro-funk (often just "electro"); electro's Latin-pop cousin freestyle; the dark, rigid sounds of industrial dance music, and an unnamed category of commercial, danceable pop and R&B.
Partly to help satisfy the dwindling market for disco-based dance music, some 1980s disco DJs breathed new life into past hits via custom remixes and re-edits on reel-to-reel tape, and then took advantage of newly-affordable electronic instruments and became record producers themselves, combining disco with other contemporary dance music styles. Without major-label backing, their music evolved quickly to satisfy audiences in isolated regional club scenes, yielding, for example, Italo disco in Italy, New Beat in Belgium, Electronic body music (EBM) in Belgium and Germany, and house music in Chicago and New York.
Democratization and recognition 
As alternatives to alcohol-fueled, "meat market" nightclubs, the warehouse party, acid house, rave and outdoor festival scenes of the late 1980s and early 1990s were havens and proving grounds for the latest trends electronic dance music, especially house and its ever-more hypnotic, synthetic offspring techno and trance, some of which fed back into mainstream clubs and radio. These scattered scenes, along with a bustling secondhand market for electronic instruments and turntables, had a strong democratizing effect, offering amateur, "bedroom" DJs the opportunity to become proficient and popular as both music players and producers, regardless of the whims of the professional music and club industries.
By the mid-1990s, the presence of electronic dance music in contemporary culture was noted widely, and its role in society began to be explored in published historical, cultural and social science academic studies.  Commercially at this time, acts like Prodigy and Chemical Brothers, began to get noticed by listeners, music critics, and mainstream music producers. This would lead to mainstream performers work more and more with underground EDM artist, and mainstream music producers experiment with more electronic sounds. MTV produced and aired 2 TV shows that played EDM, Amp and The Grind. Both played and aired a large amount of EDM each episode. They also released albums with EDM on them named after those shows.
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. In the late 2000s, the term's use surged in the U.S. with the mainstream appeal of hybrid styles which were increasingly disconnected from EDM's relatively underground roots.
The related term club music, while broadly referring to whichever music genres are currently in vogue and associated with nightclubs, has become synonymous with all electronic dance music, or just those genres—or some subset thereof—that are typically played at mainstream discothèques. Sometimes, club music used more broadly to encompass non-electronic music played at such venues, or electronic music that is not normally played at clubs but that shares attributes with music that is.
What is widely considered to be club music changes over time, includes different genres depending on the region and who's making the reference, and may not always encompass electronic dance music. Similarly, electronic dance music sometimes means different things to different people. Both terms vaguely encompass multiple genres, and sometimes are used as if they were genres themselves. The distinction is that club music is ultimately based on what's popular, whereas electronic dance music is based on attributes of the music itself.
Although electronic dance music is treated as a genre, itself, music journalists and fans alike also further delineate an ever-evolving plethora of genres—named styles and sub-styles—under the EDM umbrella. The broadest categories include house (including its electro house variation), techno, hardstyle and dubstep, among others.
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In the 1980s, many genres of popular electronic music, including 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. In addition, the most widely used bass synthesizer is the Roland TB-303, while the most widely used drum machines are Roland's TR-808 and TR-909.
The introduction of MIDI interfaces allowed personal computers to be used as sequencers to control the instruments, and by the mid-1990s, computers were fixtures in multitrack recording studios, augmenting or replacing dedicated recording and editing equipment. 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. It sometimes encompasses music not primarily meant for dancing, but derived from the dance-oriented styles.
Venues and performances 
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In most modern music, the artist/producers will perform in front of the audiences, but EDM artists are heard mostly through DJs in dance clubs. In the '70s to '90s, clubs would occasionally hire artists/producers to perform live, but on most nights when people went to dance venues they would be listening to DJs. Night clubs and discos such as Paradise Garage and Studio 54 in New York City, or The Warehouse in Chicago would employ DJs for every night they were open, and have their sound system prepared more for DJs than for a live act. By the late '80s to early '90s the DJs themselves were the main attraction. Nightclub attendees began to enjoy the abilities of DJs in how well they could keep the crowd dancing and the groove going. DJs, although not producers, began to produce more of their own material while trying to match the groove or beat already set by what they were playing. This led to DJs making remixes. These remixes made it possible for DJs to extend songs or make a previous non dance song danceable. Thus, DJs began to experiment with artist and singers to create material. Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" remix by the DJ duo DNA and DJ Jellybean Benitez working with very early Madonna demos are a prime example of this. Eventually the recording of DJ sets became highly sought after by nightclub attendees. The DJ would sell the tapes or CD and earn a few dollars in its sale, the sound quality of the DJ set recordings were usually fair to poor, since many of them where recorded using normal commercial tape records. As this practice grew, more and more nightclubs began to properly produce DJ sets. Clubs and venues such as Ministry Of Sound, Limelight, and Groove Jet would frequently release full CDs of the DJ sets and have them commercially available in record stores throughout the country. All of this would create a popularity for DJs that would elevate them to the status of a performer or producer. EDM performers (disc jockeys and producers), by the '90s, would start to perform at both indoor and outdoor dance music festivals called "raves". As the '90s drew to a close, more and more DJs and performers/producers branched out and performed on traditional music festivals either "spinning" a DJ set, or actually perform live. More currently however the EDM world has become much more mainstream, with DJs pulling in crowds of 20,000 or more on a daily basis. These concerts are different from raves as they are legal and held in legal and public venues. The concerts are often still referred to as raves. Most legal electronic concert ticket prices can be found to be $30 or more.
Mainstream appeal in the United States 
Electronic dance music achieved limited popular exposure when it was marketed as electronica in America during the mid-1990s. At that time, a wave of dance music acts from the UK, including the The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Underworld, had been prematurely associated with an "American electronica revolution." But, instead of EDM finding wider mainstream success, it was relegated to the margins of the industry. Despite the domestic music media interest in "electronica" during the latter half of the 1990s American house and techno producers were still forced to travel abroad if they wanted to establish their careers as DJs and producers.
Some 15 years later, 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. Both domestic and foreign artists no longer viewed America as the "final frontier" when it came to EDM and the market was now wide open. Today it has become common for established Top 40 artists and producers to infuse elements of popular EDM styles in their music. 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."
In June 2012, media executive Robert F. X. Sillerman, the original founder of what is now Live Nation, announced that he would be would be establishing a company known as SFX Entertainment to invest into the EDM industry, with plans to spend $1 billion US in acquisitions in its first year alone. In a similar manner to his past venture, it has acquired several regional promoters and festivals, along with Beatport and two major nightclub operators in Miami. The company also received a $10 million investment from the communications services and marketing company WPP.
On October 1, 2012, an article from MTV was published; titled "EDM Invasion: How the Rave Wave has conquered America" states that EDM music is currently conquering America and the EDM craze in America is in full swing. The article continued to state that EDM is becoming much more mainstream. Most EDM listeners think of Miami, New York City and Las Vegas as the EDM capitals of America.
On December 20, 2012, WHBA, a Class-A FM owned by Clear Channel Communications and serving the Boston metropolitan area, flipped from an Adult Hits format to a dance format with the moniker "Evolution 101.7," claiming to be "the first real EDM station in the country;" the station soon changed its call letters to WEDX. The station was an extension of Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform, also named "Evolution," and has brought BBC Radio 1 personality and influential EDM icon Pete Tong on board to produce programming and content for the format.
Several U.S. music awards mention EDM by name:
In 1995, readers of Project X magazine voted for the winners of the first (and only) Electronic Dance Music Awards. In a ceremony organized by the magazine and Nervous Records, award statues were given to Winx, The Future Sound of London, Moby, Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia, DJ Keoki, TRIBAL America Records and Moonshine Records.
In 2005, the Grammy Awards added a Best Electronic/Dance Album category, renamed in 2012 to Best Dance/Electronica Album. Winners of the award thus far are Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers (twice), Madonna, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga, La Roux, and Skrillex.
In 2012, the American Music Awards added a Favorite Electronic Dance Music category. Artists were nominated based on sales & airplay, and the winner, chosen by fans in online voting, was David Guetta.
Several EDM-centric American music festivals are held periodically, including the touring Electric Daisy Carnival (1997–present), the Electric Zoo festival in New York City, the Ultra Music Festival in Florida (1999–present), and the Electric Forest Festival in Michigan (2008–present).
Other festivals, including Lollapalooza and Coachella have increased the number of EDM acts represented. Coachella in particular took an adventurous path giving electronic acts a high profile in a time when they were seldom booked alongside rock bands. Rawley Bornstein, an MTV music and talent programmer, described EDM as "the new rock and roll," as has Lollapalooza organizer Perry Ferrell. Ray Waddell, touring editor at Billboard magazine, noted that festival promoters have done an excellent job at branding.
See also 
- Dance music
- Rave music
- Disco polo
- List of electronic musicians
- List of electronic dance music record labels
- Butler, M.J., Unlocking the Groove: Rhythm, Meter, and Musical Design in Electronic Dance Music, Indiana University Press, 2006, pp. 12–13, 94.
- Numerous examples from 1995 to the present can be found via a search for "electronic dance music" (with quotes) on Google Scholar.
- Bessman, Jim (June 1, 1985). "Anti-War Clip Provokes Network Wrath". Billboard: 38–39.
- Flick, Larry (Aug. 12, 1995). "Gonzales Prepares More Batches of Bucketheads". Billboard: 24. "Josh Wink, Moby, and the Future Sound Of London were among the fortunate folks honored at the first Electronic Dance Music Awards, which were presented July 27 in New York. Produced by Nervous Records and Project X magazine, the evening saw trophies doled out to some of the club community's more cerebral and experimental producers, DJs, musicians and record labels. Winners were tallied from ballots from Project X readers."
- Prince, David (1995). "Rhythm Nation". Rolling Stone (705): 33.
- Yenigun, Sami (Oct. 29, 2012). "Dance Music Looks Beyond EDM And Hopes The Crowd Will Follow". NPR.
- McLeod, Kembrew. 2001. "Genres, Subgenres, Sub-Subgenres and more: Musical and Social Difference Within Electronic Dance Music Communities." Journal of Popular Music Studies 13, 59–75.
- MTO 7.6: Butler, Turning the Beat Around
- N.J. basks in the glow of the brave new rave: Electronic dance festivals go mainstream Newark Star Ledger May 16, 2012
- Beadle, Jeremy (1993), Will Pop Eat Itself?, Faber and Faber, p. 207, ISBN 0-571-16241-X
- Sisario, Ben (2012-04-04). "Electronic Dance Concerts Turn Up Volume, Tempting Investors". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- Sherburne, Philip. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, Spin Magazine, pages 41-53, October 2011, Spin Media LLC.
- Chaplin, Julia & Michel, Sia. Fire Starters, Spin Magazine, page 40, March 1997, Spin Media LLC.
- EDM is taking over the Chicago festival season Time Out Chicago
- "Exclusive: SFX Acquires ID&T, Voodoo Experience". Billboard. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- "SFX Purchases 75% Stake in ID&T, Announce U.S. Edition of Tomorrowland at Ultra". Billboard.biz. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- "SFX Entertainment Gets Funding From Communications Giant WPP". Billboard.biz. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Sisario, Ben (December 20, 2012). "Boston Radio Station Switches to Electronic Dance Format". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- Unknown (November 18, 2012). "American Music Awards 2012: A big night for Justin Bieber". Online news. CBS news. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- Maloy, Sarah. "Lollapalooza's Perry Farrell on EDM and Elevating the Aftershow: Video". Billboard. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
Further reading 
- Hewitt, Michael. Music Theory for Computer Musicians. 1st Ed. U.S. Cengage Learning, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59863-503-4
- Electronic dance music glossary by Moby for USA Today published December 13, 2011