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How did electronic dance music get so popular?

The dance scene emerged around the late 70s and made a few advances during the 80s, only to return underground. Because of its association with drugs and other reputation tarnishing incidents, it was difficult for dance music to gain momentum. In certain cities, one could get fined for having a DJ performing in their own home. The radio remained adverse to electronic dance music unless it was of conventional pop structure. By the 90s, the presence of electronic dance music was making its way into society. At the turn of the millennium, the popularity of electronic dance music surged.

Starting DJs trying to make it into the industry turn to social media as their resource. They will create Twitters, make Facebook pages, their own websites, and perhaps put their songs on Soundcloud. Sometimes starting artists would perform promoting gigs in clubs or small stages in the background of clubs.  As electronic dance music got more popular, larger venues were needed. The big breakthrough came in 2010 when the first Electronic Daisy Carnival was held in 1997. It was so popular and lucrative that similar festivals began launching.

Electronic dance music’s surge in popularity can be explained through the concept of information cascades. In the beginning only a few percentage of the population enjoyed, attending small raves and such. As the music became more mainstream, more and more people started going. This called for bigger venues resulting in festivals such as Electronic Daisy Carnival.  Even if electronic dance music wasn’t your thing, perhaps many of your friends are into it.  For example, one friend might tell you that electronic dance music and the festival is good. That would be a high signal.  Perhaps another friend also said good things about electronic dance music. That’s another high signal. As you get more and more good or “high signals” from more friends, even if you don’t think electronic dance music is a good thing, you might be influenced and convinced to listen or go to an electronic dance music festival yourself. This is an example of an information cascade. A person such as yourself might attend an electronic dance music festival because there are informational effects associated: all your friends are going. The direct benefits associated: you might run into other friends, enjoy the flickering lasers, graphics, and music.



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