The 1990s: A Decade of Electronic Dance Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The 1990s was a decade of incredible electronic dance music. From the early days of rave culture to the explosion of techno and trance, the 1990s was a truly groundbreaking time for EDM. In this blog post, we take a look back at some of the defining moments and tracks of the decade.

The Birth of Electronic Dance Music

The 1990s was a decade that saw the birth of electronic dance music. This new genre of music was created by DJs and producers who took elements of various genres and combined them to create a new sound. Electronic dance music became popular in clubs and dance venues around the world, and it continues to be one of the most popular genres of music today.

The early days of EDM

In the early 1990s, electronic dance music was still in its infancy. The genre was just beginning to take shape, and there were very few established artists or scenes. This all changed in the mid-1990s, when a new wave of artists and producers began to emerge. These artists helped to define the sound of EDM and establish the genre as a major force in popular music.

Some of the most influential figures in EDM emerged from the UK rave scene. Producers like The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim helped to pioneer the big beat sound that would come to define much of EDM in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, other UK producers like Leftfield and Underworld brought a more experimental sensibility to the genre, fusing it with elements of dub, techno, and ambient music.

In Germany, meanwhile, a similar scene was beginning to take shape. Producers like Paul van Dyk and Sasha began to bring a more Trance-influenced sound to dance music, helping to create what would become one of the most popular subgenres of EDM. This German sound would come to dominate global dancefloors in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The birth of EDM was also influenced by changes in technology. In the early 1990s, affordable home computing equipment allowed producers to create electronic music with greater ease than ever before. At the same time, new DJ technologies like CDJs and turntables made it possible for DJs to play this music in clubs and parties. These developments helped to make EDM more accessible and popular than ever before.

The rise of rave culture

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rave culture was born in the UK. This was a subculture of young people who enjoyed going to all-night dance parties called “raves.” These raves were often held in illegal warehouses and were known for their hedonistic atmosphere. Drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD were widely used at these parties, and the music played was mostly acid house and techno.

The Golden Age of EDM

The 1990s was a decade of many firsts in the world of electronic dance music. This was the decade that saw the birth of the now-legendary rave culture, as well as the rise of the first superstar DJs. The 1990s was also a time of great experimentation in the studio, with producers pushing the boundaries of what was possible with electronic music. In many ways, the 1990s was the golden age of EDM.

The birth of trance

The early 1990s saw the rise of a new style of dance music known as trance. Originating in Germany and the Netherlands, trance was characterized by hypnotic rhythms and melodic synthesizer lines. The genre quickly gained popularity across Europe, with early hits like Robert Miles’s “Children” and ATB’s “9pm (Till I Come)” becoming club anthems. By the mid-1990s, trance had begun to make inroads in the United States, with DJs like Paul Oakenfold and Sasha spinning at major nightclubs and festivals.

The rise of house music

In the late 1980s, a new style of dance music emerged in the clubs of Chicago. This new style, called house music, was a fusion of elements from the existing Disco and Funk genres. House music quickly gained popularity in Chicago and then spread to other parts of the United States. By the early 1990s, house music had become one of the most popular genres of dance music worldwide.

The Dark Side of EDM

The 1990s saw the rise of electronic dance music, or EDM. This new genre of music was based on synthesizers and drum machines, and it quickly became popular among clubgoers and ravers. However, there was a dark side to this new form of music. Some people believe that EDM can lead to drug use, and this has caused the genre to be controversial.

The drug epidemic

In the 1990s, electronic dance music (EDM) exploded in popularity, particularly among young people. The fast-paced, energetic nature of the music and the often-raunchy atmosphere of the clubs where it was played appealed to many young people looking for a good time. However, along with the rise of EDM came a rise in drug use, particularly among young people.

The most popular drug used in conjunction with EDM is ecstasy, also known as MDMA. Ecstasy is a synthetic drug that produces feelings of euphoria and intimacy. It is often taken in pill form, but can also be snorted or injected. Ecstasy use rose sharply in clubs and rave parties in the 1990s, as young people sought to enhance their experience of the music.

However, ecstasy use comes with serious risks. The drug can cause dehydration and overheating, which can lead to hospitalization or even death. In addition, ecstasy can cause anxiety, depression, and paranoia. These effects can be magnified if the user takes multiple doses of the drug or mixes it with other drugs or alcohol.

Despite the risks associated with its use, ecstasy remains popular among EDM fans. If you choose to use this drug, be sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks often to avoid becoming overheated. And if you begin to feel anxious or paranoid, tell a friend or seek medical help immediately

The death of rave culture

In the late 1990s, the media began to turn on rave culture. In Britain, tabloids dubbed ecstasy “the devil’s drug” and claimed that raves were “gateways to hell.” In the U.S., Congress held hearings on the dangers of rave culture, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a report linking Ecstasy to crime and violence.

Rave culture was also associated with an increase in drug-related deaths. In the UK, for example, the number of drug-related deaths increased from 29 in 1997 to 70 in 2000. In the U.S., Ecstasy-related deaths increased from 11 in 1999 to 55 in 2000.

The media coverage and negative portrayal of rave culture had a significant impact on the popularity of electronic dance music. As a result, many clubs and promoters stopped hosting raves, and attendance at raves decreased dramatically.

The Resurgence of EDM

In the 1990s, electronic dance music (EDM) saw a resurgence in popularity. This was largely due to the popularity of rave culture and the rise of DJs who played EDM music at nightclubs and festivals. The 1990s also saw the emergence of EDM subgenres, such as trance and techno. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at the 1990s EDM scene.

The rise of festival culture

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw the rise of festival culture, with events such as the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Ultra Music Festival becoming increasingly popular. This was a significant development, as it allowed EDM to reach a wider audience than ever before.

In the 2010s, EDM experienced something of a resurgence, with artists such as Skrillex, Avicii, and Calvin Harris achieving mainstream success. This was largely due to the increasing popularity of electronic dance music festivals, which allowed DJs and producers to reach a wider audience than ever before.

Today, EDM is more popular than ever, with festivals such as Tomorrowland attracting tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world.

The new sound of EDM

In the 1990s, electronic dance music (EDM) experienced a resurgence in popularity after being pushing to the sidelines in favor of other genres in the 1980s. A new generation of artists emerged who were influenced by the early pioneers of EDM, as well as by other genres such as hip hop and house. These artists began to experiment with new sounds and technologies, resulting in a new sound that would go on to dominate the mainstream in the 2000s.

The new sound of EDM was characterized by a heavier reliance on synthesizers and drum machines, as well as a more aggressive and energetic style of composition. This sound was often accompanied by expressive and visually-stunning live performances, which helped to make EDM one of the most popular genres of music in the world.

Some of the most popular EDM artists of the 1990s include:
-The Chemical Brothers
-Fatboy Slim
-The Prodigy
-Daft Punk
– Underworld

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