A Brief History of ’90s Electronic Dance Music

A look at the origins and history of electronic dance music in the 1990s, including its major subgenres and iconic artists.


Though it began in the late ’80s, the ’90s is widely considered the golden age of electronic dance music. It was a time when the genre truly exploded in popularity, leading to the rise of many subgenres and subcultures that are still going strong today.

The ’90s were also a time of great experimentation, with artists pushing the boundaries of what could be done with electronic music. This led to the development of many new styles and genres, as well as the refinement of existing ones.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important electronic dance music genres and subgenres that emerged during the ’90s, as well as some of the artists who helped shape them.

The Birth of Electronic Dance Music

1990 saw the birth of electronic dance music, or EDM. This new genre of music was a result of the rave culture that had been growing in popularity throughout the late 80s. EDM quickly gained popularity in the underground club scene and soon began to spread to the mainstream.

Chicago’s House Music Scene

The ’80s were a big moment for electronic dance music, with artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Kraftwerk, and Giorgio Moroder helping to pioneer new sounds and styles. But it was in the early ’90s that electronic dance music really exploded onto the mainstream, thanks in part to the rise of Chicago’s house music scene.

Chicago’s house music scene was spurred by the popularity of clubs like The Warehouse and The Music Box, which became hot spots for both local and international DJs. House music quickly gained a devoted following among clubgoers, and by the mid-’90s, it was being heard on dance floors all over the world.

Today, electronic dance music is more popular than ever, with countless subgenres and styles to choose from. But it all started in Chicago’s underground clubs in the early ’90s.

Detroit’s Techno Scene

While the origins of electronic dance music can be traced back to the 1970s, it wasn’t until the ’90s that the genre truly began to take off. One of the biggest driving forces behind this surge in popularity was the rise of Detroit’s techno scene.

Some of the most influential names in techno came out of Detroit, including Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. These producers helped to shape the sound of techno and pushed the genre in new and exciting directions.

The ’90s were a golden era for electronic dance music, and Detroit played a big role in making that happen.

The Rise of EDM in the ’90s

Electronic dance music has its origins in the ’70s disco and ’80s techno scenes. However, it wasn’t until the ’90s that EDM began to gain mainstream popularity. The ’90s saw the rise of famous EDM artists like The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and Fatboy Slim. The ’90s was also the decade when raves became popular.

The Rave Scene

The rave scene of the early 1990s was the precursor to today’s EDM festivals. Raves were informal gatherings held in secret locations, often with DJ-produced music playing all night long. The underground rave culture was closely associated with illegal drug use, particularly ecstasy, and ravers were often seen as a threat by law enforcement. Despite the challenges posed by the illegal nature of the rave scene, it continued to grow throughout the decade. By the mid-’90s, raves were being held in major cities all over the world, attracting increasing amounts of mainstream attention.

The Club Scene

The ’90s were a golden age for electronic dance music, with pioneering artists like The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, and The Chemical Brothers bringing the genre to new heights of popularity. This newfound mainstream success was largely due to the popularity of the club scene, which provided a space for people to come together and enjoy the music.

While clubs had always been popular in Europe, they began to gain popularity in the United States in the ’90s as well. This was thanks in part to the rave culture that was growing at the time. Raves were often illegal parties that were held in warehouses or other hidden locations, and they quickly became known for their hedonistic atmosphere and pulsing dance music.

As raves became more popular, so did the clubs that hosted them. These clubs became gathering places for like-minded people who loved to dance and party all night long. And as the club scene grew, so did electronic dance music. In the ’90s, EDM finally broke into the mainstream and became one of the most popular genres in the world.

The Legacy of ’90s EDM

Electronic dance music (EDM) first emerged in the early 1990s and rapidly rose to become one of the most popular genres of music. The ’90s was a golden era for EDM, with many iconic tracks and artists being born during this time. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of EDM and some of the most influential tracks and artists of the ’90s.

The Impact on Pop Culture

In the 1990s, EDM began to have an impact on pop culture. In America, MTV aired shows like “Clubland” and “AMP,” which featured electronic dance music videos. In Europe, legendary DJ Carl Cox had his own show on BBC Radio 1. And in the U.K., game shows like “Top of the Pops” started featuring electronic dance music tracks in their opening credits.

This increased visibility helped EDM become more mainstream, and in the late ’90s, a new wave of American artists – like Moby, Fatboy Slim, and The Chemical Brothers – began to achieve commercial success with their electronic-influenced tracks. These artists would go on to influence a new generation of pop stars, like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, who would incorporate EDM elements into their own music.

EDM’s impact on pop culture was not limited to music. In the 1990s, films like “The Matrix” and “Blade” popularized the use of electronic dance music in movie soundtracks, and fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen began using EDM tracks in their runway shows. Today, EDM is an integral part of popular culture, with festivals like Coachella and Ultra attracting hundreds of thousands of fans each year.

The Influence on Today’s EDM Scene

In the 1990s, electronic dance music (EDM) experienced a surge in popularity, with a new breed of DJs and producers throwing warehouse parties and raves across the globe. The sounds of ’90s EDM have since gone on to influence today’s scene, with many contemporary DJs and producers citing the ’90s as a major influence on their work.

The ’90s saw the birth of several subgenres of EDM, including trance, drum and bass, and jungle. These subgenres would go on to dominate the dance music landscape for years to come, with trance in particular becoming one of the most popular genres in the world. The sound of ’90s EDM is also credited with popularizing club culture and stirrings of underground music scenes around the world.

Today’s EDM scene would not be what it is without the influence of ’90s EDM. From the sound to the culture, ’90s EDM has left a lasting legacy that can still be felt today.

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