With 2014 coming to an end, it's quite apparent that the electronic dance music movement has majorly influenced cities around the globe. The culture has slowly been making its way into the modern world since the late 1970s, and in recent years, EDM has completely taken over. In the world we live in today, electronic music represents the sound of a generation, and its diversity in sound stems from its growing popularity in over 100 countries worldwide.
EDM.com investigated the top 5 cities that are most influenced by electronic music today, and we’ve highlighted key factors from each city that illustrate the varying EDM scenes across the globe.
1) Los Angeles, California - USA
History of Electronic Dance Music:
The rave scene hit Los Angeles in the 1990s, only to gain popularity in the late 2000s. The versatility in the LA music community can be accredited to the diverse music roots that the city has experienced over the years. The punk rock movement in the 80s and the heavy impact of rap and hip-hop in the early 90s have both deeply influenced electronic dance music, especially in LA. Los Angeles is one of the most important communities in the music industry. Back in the late 1990s, clubs and bars were considered a commercial destination for electronic music, where as warehouse raves held over a thousand attendees only being advertised through flyers. Now, LA circulates mostly around “new age music,” as the scene promotes a wide variety of sub-genres under the electronic umbrella.
Definitive Genre in the Area: Trap
3 Major Artists of Los Angeles:
One of moombahton’s fountainheads, LA native Dillon Francis, is one of EDM’s most innovative artists. Recently, Francis has gained popularity through his original moombah sound, ultimately leading up to the release of his first studio album Money Sucks, Friends Rule. MSFR was released via Mad Decent and Columbia Records in late October.
Sonny Moore, formally known as the king of dubstep, is killing it right now in the EDM scene. Also hailing from LA, Skrillex has proved to be one of the biggest producers of all time due to his undying diversity and powerful beats. With influences from his late post-hardcore band From First To Last, Skrillex is well versed with the music industry as a whole. The dubstep patriarch is always on tour and collaborating with various artists of different genres.
Although Henry Steinway of RL Grime initially produced music under the electro house alias Clockwork, he now represents the current sound of trap. Steinway recently released his debut studio album Void that became the #1 electronic album in three different countries. RL Grime is also a native of LA, proving this city’s substantial contribution in the EDM culture.
Top 3 Venues:
Although this 1,500 capacity, 4-level venue in LA has been around since 1929, it only became a music destination after a major renovation in 2008. The name behind Exchange LA derives from the historical building it used to be, the Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building; the building became unoccupied around 1986 and remained that way until it was rennovated to become a nightclub.
Create originally started as Qtopia Events with its inception dating back to 2002. After being rebranded as Vanguard Hollywood, the venue was acquired by SBE Entertainment Group in 2009; in 2013, SBE renovated the venue and partnered with Insomniac Events, forming the Create we know today. This nightclub holds a total capacity of 1,400 attendees.
Previously known as The Hollywood Playhouse, this historic EDM venue opened in the late 1920s. Although Avalon was originally designed for theater purposes, this venue slowly introduced musical acts and eventually electronic music. After several revamps, Hollywood Entertainment Partners purchased the building in 2002 and renamed the venue Avalon. Avalon is one of Hollywood’s most historic landmarks, holding a total capacity of 2,000 attendees.
HARD Presents hosts several electronic events, however HARD Summer is one of the company’s prevailing events, and is operated by DJ/producer and music executive Gary Richards. Richards doubles as one of the industry’s most influential members as well as techno house producer Destructo. HARD Summer hosts over 10,000 attendees since it’s inception in 2008. The annual event is held early August and features an action-packed line up of electronic music’s finest including Axwell, Justin Martin, Flux Pavilion, Rudimental, Diplo, Jack Beats, and many more.
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
Although Coachella is held just a few hours out of LA in Indio, California, this monumental festival has established itself as California’s premier festival and one of the most well-known music festivals in the world. Dating back to 1999, Coachella offers an extremely diverse line up with artists ranging from Flume to MGMT to Girl Talk to Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at the festival. Presented by Golden Voice, a subsidiary of AEG Live, Coachella is one of the few two-weekend festivals in the world. Attendance in 2014 broke an all-time record and exceeded 570,000 attendees.
Hosted by LA's own Insomniac Events, Nocturnal Wonderland dates back to 1995. Nocturnal is held in San Bernardino, California, at the end of September and hosts over 50,000 attendees. Insomniac expanded the festival into a two-day event in 2011 and hosts artists including Dash Berlin, Mat Zo, Borgore, Sebastian Ingrosso, Kaskade, and many more. Insomniac is widely known for its beginnings in the rave scene in the 1990s, resulting in strictly EDM star studded line-ups.
LA Based Record Labels:
OWSLA: Created by Skrillex; Includes releases from What So Not, Alex Metric, Seven Lions, The M Machine, & more.
Mad Decent: Created by Diplo; Includes releases from Major Lazer, Baauer, Trippy Turtle, Paper Diamond, & more.
Dim Mak: Created by Steve Aoki; Includes releases from Keys N Krates, The Bloody Beetroots, Dirtyphonics, Felix Cartal, & more.
2) Miami, Florida - USA
History of Electronic Dance Music:
Although Miami is by far considered the capital of EDM within the state of Florida, the scene heavily influences the entire South Florida area as well. The City of Miami itself is a mix of many cultures, which is very prevalent in its music scene, and Miami is also known for its strong roots in production. Following the disco era in the 70s and with clubs slowly appearing in the 80s, Miami maintains a strong foundation for the future of electronic music within the city's roots. Some clubs in Miami are now open 24 hours a day as a result of the high demand for EDM. Miami is primarily known for its mainstream EDM sound, VIP lifestyle, and overall adheres to the bigger stars in electronic music. The city also hosts Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival, two significant electronic music events in today’s industry.
Definitive Genre in the Area: Progressive House
3 Major Artists of Miami:
Miami native and professional cake tosser Steve Aoki has established himself as one of the current top DJs, having ranked #10 on this year’s DJ Mag Top 100. He also founded LA-based record label Dim Mak Records in 1996 and is currently in the midst of releasing his two-part album Neon Future.
Born in Puerto Rico, Robbie Rivera now resides in the City of Miami and is the founder of record label Juicy Records. Rivera also hosted his own Juicy Beach parties every WMC at the Nikki Beach Club. He is currently finishing off 2014 with his Get Juicy tour that is to visit Chicago, Panama, Las Vegas, and Lima.
French DJ/producer Cedric Gervais is more often than not found in Miami’s finest nightclubs throwing down ‘til the early morning. Most commonly known for his remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness,” Gervais is one of the leading DJs in Miami. Having moved to Miami at the age of 15, he has played at nightclubs ranging from Club Space Terrace to LIV Nightclub.
Top 3 Venues:
Located inside the Fontainebleau Hotel, LIV is one of the world’s most elite nightclubs. If you’re looking for a genuine Miami experience, there’s really only one answer as far as which nightclub you should be attending. With a total capacity of 900 attendees, LIV hosts the ultimate nightlife experience held by Miami Marketing Group in just 18,000 square-feet.
Story is another MMG creation, also serving as an elite, high-energy nightclub in the heart of downtown Miami. The venue has a capacity of 500 attendees with 27,000 square-feet, and features a lavish circus-style setting every night. The nightclub is fairly new, with it’s grand opening in late 2012.
Operated by The Opium Group, Mansion is another exclusive nightclub in downtown Miami. Mansion is particularly unique due to its 360-degree custom lit LED panels and features a Funktion One sound system, ultimately showcasing one of Miami’s most technologically advanced nightclubs in current existence.
Ultra Music Festival
Ultra Music Festival held its inaugural one-day concert as apart of WMC 1999. Since 2001, Bayfront Park has been home to the widely successful electronic festival; UMF is denoted as the conclusion of WMC, although the festival expanded into a two-weekend event in 2013. The festival transformed into a three-day extravaganza by 2010 and since then it has been identified as one of the most popular electronic festivals in the world. Ultra 2012 held over 165,000 attendees in the small 32-acre Bayfront Park, also channeling over $79 million into the local economy.
Miami Music Week/Winter Music Conference
Created in 1985 by former DJs of the industry, Louis Possenti and Bill Kelly, WMC has been an electronic music event unlike anything else in the U.S. for almost 30 years now. This event offers an overwhelming array of events ranging from events, parties, seminars, and workshops; over 1,900 electronic artists participated in almost 400 events at 110 venues in downtown Miami. Artists who participated in WMC 2014 include Avicii, Wolfgang Gartner, Feed Me, Dirty South, and pretty much anyone else you might think of. WMC is recognized as one of the largest EDM-centered expo’s in the industry and is primarily intended for DJ/producers, record label reps, producers, promoters, and the media.
America’s largest art show and the world's premier art platform, Art Basel, brings electronic music events to an entirely new level. As 2014 marks the 13th year of the massive art show, electronic dance music has found both a home in the City of Miami and the festival. Founded in 1970 by Basel Gallerists, the event has transfigured into a celebration of life in the heart of Miami. This year, Art Basel includes a unique roster of electronic artists like Dubfire, Luciano, Chromeo, Soul Clap, Pete Tong, Seth Troxler b2b The Martinez Brothers, Erick Morillo, and even a Fool’s Gold Day Off closing out party.
Miami Based Record Labels:
Basshead: Includes releases from Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, Skream, & 12th Planet.
Slow Roast: A Fool's Gold subsidairy lead by Craze & Kill The Noise.
3) Chicago, Illinois - USA
History of Electronic Dance Music:
Chicago is appointed as the birthplace of house music, more so accrediting DJ Frankie Knuckles. The term “house music” originates from The Warehouse with Knuckles, a genuine pioneer in not only the house genre of EDM but music history as a whole; Chicago house refers to the earliest style of house that existed in underground warehouse parties in the 80s and 90s. Although, Chicago has unfortunately experienced a rough history with EDM; In 2000, the City of Chicago instituted an “anti-rave” ordinance where owners, promoters, and DJs would be subject to a $10,000 fine for being associated with illegal dance music events. This put EDM in the underground again, resulting in much of Chicago’s electronic sounds to be developed in the underground scene, and lead to a strong anti-commercial appeal. This past summer, the City of Chicago banned all EDM events at The Congress Theater.
Definitive Genre in the Area: House
3 Major Artists of Chicago:
DJ Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles is an underground legend within the dance music community. Not only is he the original source of house music, but electronic music would fail to be where it is now without him. Originally born in the Bronx, New York, Knuckles brought his style to Chicago in the 1970s. In 1997, he signed with Virgin Records, paving the path for DJs and major record labels. Unfortunately, Knuckles lost his battle to a diabetes-related illness at the age of 59 in March 2014.
Josh Young and Curt Cameruci of trap duo Flosstradamus hail from Chicago, Illinois. The HDYNATION boys have successfully created a strong fan base having released music through prominent record labels including Fool’s Gold, Mad Decent, and Ultra Records. Floss has put out EDM classics including “Rollup,” and their remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don.”
Being formed back in 2007, Krewella has built an exceptionally loyal fan base. Originally, Krewella was a trio consisting of the Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf as well as Kris “Rain Man” Trindl, however, the group recently parted ways after an unexpected lawsuit. The girls of Krewella recently released their first single as a duo, “Say Goodbye,” another unexpected move as the track is relatively drum & bass.
Top 3 Venues:
Located in the Meatpacking District of Chicago, The Mid is primarily known as a central hub for EDM events in the city. The Mid opened back in 2010, has a capacity of 800 attendees, and overlooks the skyline of Chicago. This venue serves as a bridge between the new and the old music scene, causing an overall attraction for the new age of club-goers.
For anyone looking to get back to the underground, Smart Bar is the way to go in the City of Chicago. This venue dates back to 1982, although the club underwent renovation in 2008 and now features a Funktion One sound system. The venue is housed underneath the main floor of Metro, fundamentally designed to host underground talents such as Paul Oakenfold, Richie Hawtin, and more.
Founded back in 1995, Spy Bar has been in the nightlife industry for almost 20 years now. This underground EDM venue was named one of the top ten dance clubs in the United States by Rolling Stone magazine in 2012. The venue also recently underwent serious renovation in 2012 that cost nearly $1 million.
Spring Awakening Music Festival
REACT Presents SAMF, Chicago’s first electronic music festival, on the historic grounds of Soldier Field. REACT is a Chicago-based entertainment group founded back in 2008 and is also known for producing events at The Mid. The inaugural SAMF in 2012 showcased a star-studded line up including Afrojack, Carl Cox, Laidback Luke, Markus Schulz, and many more, ultimately solidifying itself as one of Chicago’s major electronic events. Spring Awakening has also instituted an 18+ age limit for the first time this upcoming year.
North Coast Music Festival
Annually held over Labor Day Weekend at Union Park, North Coast Music Festival has defined itself as “Summer’s Last Stand.” Being founded in 2010, NCMF completed their fifth year as one of Chicago’s leading electronic music festivals; this festival was created by independent promoters and is designed to showcase a variety of genres. This past year, NCMF hosted over 58,000 attendees with electronic acts such as Bassnectar, Alesso, Dada Life, Paul Van Dyk, and others alike.
Initially a music festival dedicated to alternative/punk rock and heavy metal, Lollapalooza has incorporated many electronic acts into their line-ups in recent years. Lolla dates back to 1991 and has toured several countries worldwide including Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Berlin as of 2015. Over the span of three days, Lollapalooza hosted over 160,000 attendees with a lineup including Above & Beyond, Calvin Harris, Martin Garrix, GTA, and other huge names in the industry. This festival has been held in Grant Park at the end of July since 2005.
Chicago Based Record Labels:
Trax Records: Includes releases from Frankie Knuckles, Jamie Principle, Adonis, & more.
Mitchbal Records: Includes releases from Z-Factor, Libra Libra, Mr. Lee & Kompany, & more.
Broken Records: Lead by house music veteran Jesse Saunders; includes releases from Sound Syndicate, Funky House Tribe, & more.
4) Amsterdam - Netherlands
History of Electronic Dance Music:
Amsterdam is deservingly one of the EDM capitals of the world. This city maintains a long history with electronic music, with frequent raves in the 1980s and becoming even more popular in the early 90s. Amsterdam holds rich social history in its musical roots, primarily referring to the extensive warehouse culture the city has experienced. Up until 2010, squatting was completely legal in Amsterdam; squatting is occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land or building if it has not been in use for 12 months. Because of this, warehouse raves were unbelievably huge in the music industry of Amsterdam, and they are a huge reason why the city is still as influential as it is today.
Definitive Genre in the Area: Progressive House
3 Major Artists of the Netherlands:
Former trance legend Tiësto hails from the Netherlands, and still stands as one of the current top DJs in the industry. Founder of Black Hole Recordings and Musical Freedom Recs, Tiësto has produced music ranging from trance to progressive house. Tiësto also hosts his own Club Life series on Sirius XM. The Dutch producer is now seen headlining any major music festival, manifesting his significant impact in the electronic music world.
Voted #1 on DJ Mag’s annual Top 100 two years in a row, Hardwell is considered to be one of the leading DJ/producers of the century. Hardwell predominantly produces big room, progressive house tracks such as his classics “Spaceman,” and “Never Say Goodbye.” The Dutch producer is also the fountainhead of record label Revealed Recordings, which was founded in 2010; he also hosts his own radio podcast Hardwell On Air that began in 2011.
Armin van Buuren
Armin van Buuren is commonly referred to as the king of trance, mainly due to his widely successful A State Of Trance radio show, but he has also been dabbling in progressive and electro house throughout his career. With the release of his fifth studio album Intense, he gained popularity through his epic single "This Is What It Feels Like." Although some might argue that van Buuren has moved away from his original trance sounds, the Dutch producer recently created a side project under the name Gaia which made their debut performance at Ultra Music Festival 2014 at ASOT. The radio show also announced they would begin a worldwide tour in 2015.
Top 3 Venues:
Heineken Music Hall has been centralized around the motto “Life will never be the same!” since its inception in 2001. The venue holds a total capacity of 5,500 people, and surpasses 600,000 visitors each year. HMH prides themselves off their unparalleled sound that has earned the venue several nominations for the Pollstar Awards as the best international concert venue; architect Frits van Dongen especially designed the venue for amplified music.
What used to be a 18th century church has now evolved into one of Europe’s most famous venues. Once the church was abandoned, hippies squatted the venue in the late 1960s and transformed the building into a music hall. Paradiso offers a unique layout with the DJ in the middle and bars covering the walls of the venue. Paradiso holds up to 1,750 people and is located near the Leidseplein in Amsterdam.
Melkweg, a former dairy factory, has existed since 1970. The infamous venue holds up to 2,500 attendees and is known as one of the epicenters of electronic music in Amsterdam. The building offers various rooms for much more than just music including photography, film, and theater. Melkweg can be translated into “Milky Way” and is an experience truly out of this world.
Amsterdam Dance Event
Amsterdam Dance Event is universally recognized as one of the leading dance music events in the world. Consisting of 300+ events and including over 2,000 electronic artists, ADE is arguably the biggest international club festival in the history of music. The event spans over five days in over 80 clubs and venues with an attendance surpassing 300,000 people. ADE Playground is comprised of film screenings, music hardware presentations, art exhibits, and talk shows. Amsterdam hosts the event annually mid-October, dating back to 1996.
Held at the Amsterdam ArenA, the largest stadium in the Netherlands, Sensation is one of the biggest indoor electronic events out there. Although Sensation now tours worldwide, the legendary event originated in Amsterdam and remained so until around 2005. The event is organized by ID&T and has evolved from strictly trance music to incorporating a lot of the house music and artists that exist today. Sensation has branched off into Sensation White and Sensation BLACK, primarily as a way to separate the various sub-genres EDM has to offer. Generally, there are 40,000 to 50,000 attendees every year and is hosted the first weekend of July.
5 Days Off
Inspired by Belgium’s 10 Days Off, Amsterdam has held their own version of the event since 2001. 5 Days Off is held at the beginning of March with a roster full of underground talents including Hot Since 82, Noisia, Koan Sound, SBTRKT, and even the fabled electronic duo Daft Punk. This event was the first multi-day indoor event in the Netherlands, and usually hosts over 20,000 attendees annually. 5 Days Off was originally held in Melkwig, however, has expanded into both Paradiso and De Balie as well.
Amsterdam Based Record Labels:
Armada Music: Created by Armin van Buuren; Includes releases from Aly & Fila, Andrew Rayel, W&W, Audien, & more.
Spinnin’ Records: Includes releases from Don Diablo, Ummet Ozcan, Sander Van Doorn, Oliver Heldens, & more.
Revealed Recordings: Created by Hardwell; Includes releases from Dyro, Dannic, Paris & Simo, & more.
5) Berlin - Germany
History of Electronic Dance Music:
Berlin’s historical ties with the electronic dance music movement are far more involved in the actual history of the city than any other city in the world. Electronic music ultimately served as a source for reuniting East and West Berlin, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 proved to be the beginning of the infamous clubbing scene that exists in Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall sparked creativity and inspiration within the City of Berlin, and since then, music has acted as an effective tool for social reform. Berlin has been noted as the unofficial techno capital of Europe, as well as a central hub for music since the 18th century. In the mid 90s, Detroit DJ/producers found a home across the sea in Berlin inside the unparalleled scene that lies in the German history of nightlife. With most clubs existing in Mitte, the central district of Berlin, the nightlife industry is incomparable to that of any other countries worldwide.
Definitive Genre in the Area: Techno
3 Major Artists in Germany:
Alex Ridha of Berlin-based electronic DJ/producer Boys Noize is one of the prevailing artists from Germany. Not only has Ridha been awarded the Best Electronic Artist on Beatport for three consecutive years, but the eclectic producer also established his own record label Boysnoize Records in 2005 as well as a sub-label BNR TRAX in 2010.
Commonly known for their diverse live shows, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier of Booka Shade continue to stand as two influential leaders in the techno scene. Their imprint Get Physical Records was launched in 2002 alongside DJ T and M.A.N.D.Y. With their roots tracing back to their original synth-pop sound, Get Physical provides absolute musical freedom for the techno duo.
Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossems AKA Nic Chagall and Bossi of Cosmic Gate are currently two of the top trance producers in the industry. After coming together in 1999, the German duo has substantially impacted the world of trance; through numerous compilations, remixes, and studio albums, Cosmic Gate recently released their latest album Start To Feel in 2014 and even conducted a summer North American tour.
Top 3 Venues:
Established by German nightlife masterminds Johnnie Stieler, Achim Kohlberger, and Dimitri Hegemann, Tresor still holds the prestigious title as one of the world’s best techno clubs in history. Although Tresor opened its doors in 1991, many are unfamiliar with the extensive history of the fabled nightclub. Before Tresor, Ufo was a dance club for house, future, and techno, operating by the proverb “Join The Dance Revolution.” Ufo closed in 1990, leading the trio to open yet another nightclub just a year later underneath an old department store in Mitte. Since then, the venue has introduced an outdoor area and a second floor; although the club closed in 2005, Tresor was reopened in 2007 in a renovated power plant.
Berghain is accredited as one of the world’s premier nightclubs due to its innovative Panorama Bar on the top floor. The Panorama Bar allows guests to party all night into the morning sunrise, literally; the Panorama Bar overlooks the skyline of Berlin and gives clubgoers an amazing sight. Although the main room is stylized for the deep and dark techno sounds of Berlin, the Panorama Bar offers more house music. Berghain is also notoriously known for its extremely long-lasting parties that generally exceed 12 hours. The venue was opened in 1999 in a transformed power station which adhered to the average style of clubs in that time.
Denoted as one of the most beautiful nightclubs in existence, Watergate is a split-level techno club overlooking the River Spree. Watergate also showcases a breathtaking view of the Oberbaumbrüecke Bridge with huge floor-to-ceiling windows. This 500-person club is famous for its one-of-a-kind rotating LED ceiling installations, as well as its own record label Watergate Records. Founded back in 2002, Watergate stands as both a stylish and elite nightclub in Berlin, Germany.
After its inception in the late 1990s, Fusion Festival has evolved into the leading electronic festival of Germany. Located at the military base Lärz, Fusion has successfully expanded into one of the hardest-to-attend festivals in the industry; now, ticket sales adhere to an arbitrary lottery-style picking that essentially leaves the fate of attendees in the hands of pure luck. Annually hosted at the end of June, Fusion is a four-day long festival with a roster including electronic acts Andhim, Faust, Lexer, and many more.
Located on Pouch Island, Germany, Sputnik Springbreak kicks off the festival season every year in early June. Sputnik has enlisted a line-up full of electronic artists such as David Guetta, Alle Farben, Klangkarussell, The Oddword, and many more. The three-day extravaganza hit 17,000 in attendance in 2012, only to grow another 8,000 in 2013.
The inaugural SonneMondSterne in 1997 hosted over 2,500 attendees. Now, the event hosts over 35,000. SMS is located near Saalburg, featuring two mainstages and four club tents. The event is held mid-August for a total duration of three days and has featured a line-up with huge industry names including deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Robin Schulz, and Fatboy Slim.
Berlin Based Record Labels:
Boysnoize Records: Created by Alex Ridha; Includes releases from Brodinski, SCNTST, Digitalism, & more.
Tresor Records: Includes releases from Blake Baxter, Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, & more.
Watergate Records: Includes releases from Pan-Pot, Steve Bug, Alex Niggemann, & more.