Timeline of Electronic Dance Music History

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A comprehensive timeline of Electronic Dance Music history, from its earliest origins to the present day.

Pre-history: from the disco era to the birth of house music

Electronic Dance Music, or EDM for short, has a long and storied history. Though its roots can be traced back to the disco era of the late 1970s, it was not until the early 1980s that EDM began to take on its modern form. House music, the first true EDM genre, was born in the clubs of Chicago in the mid-1980s. From there, EDM would go on to influence a wide variety of other genres, including techno, trance, and drum and bass.

1970s: disco music and the rise of electronic dance music

The 1970s saw the rise of disco music, which was genre of dance music that was developed in nightclubs in the United States. This new style of music was influenced by a number of different genres, including soul, funk and Latin. Disco became extremely popular in the United States, Europe and Asia during the 1970s.

During this time, a number of new electronic dance music genres began to emerge. These genres were influenced by disco music, but they also incorporated elements of other genres, such as rock, pop and jazz. One of the most important early genres of electronic dance music was called “house music.” House music was created in the early 1980s by DJs in Chicago who were looking for a new sound that would be perfect for dancing.

1980s: the birth of house music

In the early 1980s, disco music was on the decline in the United States. However, a new form of dance music was beginning to emerge in the clubs of Chicago. This new style of music, which would come to be known as house, was a fusion of disco, soul, and electronic music. House music would go on to become one of the most popular genres of dance music in the world.

The golden age of house music: the 1990s

The 1990s saw the explosion of house music onto the global stage. Chicago’s House music scene was at its peak, with the likes of Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries and Marshall Jefferson spinning records at nightclubs such as the Warehouse and the Music Box. Detroit’s techno scene was also flourishing, with artists such as Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson helping to pioneer the genre.

The rise of techno music

In the early 1990s, a new style of dance music called techno was developed in Detroit, Michigan. Techno is a form of electronic dance music that is typically characterized by repetitive beats and synthesizer-generated melodies. The early techno sound was often influenced by apocalyptic or futuristic themes, and it soon became associated with the underground rave scene in Europe. In the mid-1990s, techno music began to achieve mainstream success, with artists such as The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers achieving commercial success with their blend of rock and dance elements.

The birth of trance music

In the early 1990s, trance music began to emerge as a new genre. Trance music is characterized by its use of repetitive beats and melodies, often with a hypnotic or dream-like quality. The genre became increasingly popular in the 1990s, with many trance songs becoming hits on the dance charts. By the late 1990s, trance music was one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music.

The new millennium: the 2000s and beyond

In the early 2000s, electronic dance music (EDM) became more mainstream with the help of commercialization. This was the era where music festivals like Coachella and Tomorrowland started to become popular. The 2010s saw the rise of electronic music genres like house and dubstep. In the present day, EDM is more popular than ever with artists like Marshmello and Illenium topping the charts.

The rise of EDM

The new millennium: the 2000s and beyond

The early 2000s saw the rise of electronica and digital music production, which led to the birth of electronic dance music (EDM). This new genre incorporated elements of house, techno, trance and drum and bass, and quickly gained popularity in clubs and dance festivals around the world.

EDM soon began to dominate the mainstream pop charts, with hits like “Sandstorm” by Darude and “Get Down” by Eminem. In 2004, the Grammy Awards introduced a new category for Best Dance Recording, which was won by French duo Daft Punk for their song “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”.

The 2010s saw even more success for EDM, with artists like Avicii, Calvin Harris and David Guetta achieving massive commercial success. In 2012, Skrillex became the first EDM artist to win a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album.

Today, EDM is one of the most popular genres in the world, with billions of streams being listened to every day on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

The birth of dubstep

The new millennium saw the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) and the various sub-genres that fall under its umbrella. One such sub-genre is dubstep, which originated in the early 2000s in the UK.

Dubstep is characterized by its heavy bass, often described as “wobbling” or “sub-bass”. This sound is achieved by using a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) to modulate the pitch of a bass synth. Additionally, dubstep often contains elements of grime and garage music.

In the 2010s, dubstep began to gain mainstream popularity, particularly in the US. Skrillex, a dubstep producer from California, won several Grammy Awards for his work in the genre. Today, dubstep continues to be popular among EDM fans around the world.

Similar Posts