Clubs and festival main stages are extremely popular, but they are not improving the EDM community. If you don't believe me, read my four reasons why clubs and main stages are killing the EDM scene below.
1) Clubs are all about money
In the year 2013, XS Nightclub, one of the major nightclubs in Las Vegas, reported an income of 95 million dollars. In 2012, the four nightclubs owned by Wynn Resorts (including XS Nightclub) had an annual revenue of 180 million dollars, totaling more than their slot machines made in the same year. This "wynn-fall" of money is coming from booking acts such as David Guetta, Zedd, and Skrillex, and has resulted in a nightly income of around $460,000. When Skrillex first signed with Wynn, he was making $50,000 a night; now he is signing contracts for over 4 times that. In 2011, Calvin Harris signed with Wynn for $40,000 a night, and then “We Found Love” came out. Still under contract, Calvin Harris was "stuck" at $40,000, while Wynn was making almost a million each time he played.
There are a lot of numbers in there, but basically clubs are all about the money. Above is just the income from one resort. The stardom of the giants in the electronic music scene is creating a rockstar-like status which is generating massive revenue for some corporations, and allowing clubs to change the scene. Ibiza has been a destination for tourists to enjoy a vacation of dance music and tanning oil. Now the clubs have switched from being known as playing a certain type of music to searching for the best headliners and becoming a concert venue.
2) Festivals have become bigger than the artists
Deadmau5 said, “It’s another thing I can’t f***ing stand, you know?" he says. "Festivals are being branded bigger than the acts, which is totally backwards in my head. It’s ’cause of those acts that you’re a festival! Who wins? The promoter. The guy who’s throwing this festival that’s branded bigger than you, that you think you’re awesome for headlining. It’s a shame, so that’s why I’m pulling out.”
I couldn’t agree more with deadmau5, but for maybe a slightly different reason. He says “that you think you’re awesome for headlining.” It has become more and more apparent that certain DJs think they are awesome for headlining. As I’m sure many of you remember, one DJ refused to leave the stage when his time was up, and then proceeded to upend a bottle of Grey Goose on the headliner's head.
3) Clubs and main stages feature a lot of mainstream music
Another issue with the whole idea of a mainstage or nightclub is that not everyone there is going to be a huge fan of the artist. We all know that person that might like an EDM song here or there, but will start screaming when Calvin Harris plays "We Found Love," and will further try to show everyone around them that they are both a real fan and that this is the 3rd time that they’ve seen him. Many DJs tend to not play their own music on the mainstage and instead opt to play a collection of the top 100 songs currently trending on the web and topping Beatport. Artists not playing their own music probably stems from the need to make sure everyone at the venue is enjoying the music. When fans aren’t happy, they tend to say evil things, and if a DJ can’t please the crowd, then they won’t get hired, leading to a vicious cycle.
4) Originality is being replaced by uniformity
Deadmau5 said, "Disco had a longer run than EDM has, to be honest about it, and that died in a f***ing hurry," he continues. "EDM is way more susceptible because that was in a time when they didn’t have mass social media and all that shit. It’s not gonna be me saying, ‘OK, EDM’s done,' and the whole thing falls apart, but I think it’ll eventually f**k itself so hard.”
We've scene how artists have changed their sets to accomodate the venue instead of the fans, and its coming to a point where originality in tracklists is at an all-time low. Artists are ousting other artists for overlapping setlists, and the weekly rotation of top-charted acts is becoming stale in the nightclub scene. With the current cash-cow state of clubbing feeding the growing void between headliners and the rest, it's becoming less about the skill of the act, and more about their pay and recycled setlist. As abrasive, rude, and bold as deadmau5 is, he does have a point, and we need to take note on how the growing culture of high-end club life is actually damaging our scene.
Written by Kyle Brown
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.