Where Does Electronic Dance Music Come From?

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Electronic dance music has been around for decades, but where did it come from? And how did it become so popular?

Early beginnings in Chicago and Detroit

Electronic dance music (EDM) is a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals. It is generally produced for playback by DJs who create seamless selections of tracks, called a mix, by segueing from one recording to another.

EDM producers also perform their music live in a concert or festival setting in what is sometimes called a live PA. In Europe, EDM is more commonly called ‘dance music’, or simply ‘dance’.

The early history of electronic dance music is often traced back to the formation of the Chicago club warehouse in 1977, which gave birth to the influential acid house sound. The iconic track ‘Nude Photo’ by Detroit techno pioneers Model 500 was released in 1985 and helped to pioneer the techno sound that would emerge from the city in the late 1980s.

The influence of Jamaican soundsystem culture

In the late 1970s, Jamaican immigrants introduced the sound system parties to the United Kingdom. These parties were characterized by their massive sound systems, which were used to play Jamaican dub and reggae music. The sound system parties served as a basis for the development of the UKgarage and jungle scenes in the 1990s.

The word “rave” was first used in the UK in reference to an all-night party featuring this type of music in 1987. By the early 1990s, the term “rave” had come to refer specifically to events featuring electronic dance music. In 1992, a new subgenre of rave music called “hardcore” emerged. Hardcore was characterized by its faster tempo and more aggressive sound.

The popularity of rave culture in the UK led to the development of similar scenes in other countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, and the United States. In the early 2000s, a new style of electronic dance music known as “electroclash” became popular in Europe and North America. This style combined elements of various genres, including techno, house, disco, and 1980s pop music.

Today, electronic dance music is enjoyed by people all over the world. It has exerted a significant influence on popular culture and has even been featured in mainstream films and television shows.

The birth of house music

The origins of electronic dance music are often traced back to the 1970s, when disco and funk began to be mixed with electronic instruments. One of the earliest examples of this cross-pollination was Giorgio Moroder’s 1975 track “I Feel Love,” which featured a synthesizer bassline. In the 1980s, Chicago DJs began to experiment with mixing these genres with each other, and the resulting sound came to be known as house music. House music quickly spread from Chicago to other major American cities, and then to Europe. By the 1990s, it had become a global phenomenon, with producers and DJs creating new subgenres and fusions all the time.

The rise of techno in Europe

Techno is a genre of electronic dance music that emerged in the late 1980s. It is characterized by a repetitive four on the floor beat and often has a synthesizer-heavy sound. Techno is often thought of as being a product of Europe, particularly Germany, but the truth is that the genre has its roots in the African-American community in Detroit, Michigan.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a group of African-American musicians and producers, including Juan Atkins and Derrick May, began experimenting with synthesizers and drum machines to create a new kind of music. This music, which came to be known as techno, was influenced by a variety of genres including disco, funk, and electro. Techno quickly gained popularity in Europe, particularly in Germany, where it became the soundtrack to the underground club scene. Today, techno is one of the most popular genres of electronic dance music and continues to evolve and change with each passing year.

The popularity of EDM in the US

electronic dance music, or EDM, has exploded in popularity in the United States in recent years. But where did this genre come from?

EDM has its roots in the disco music of the 1970s. DJs would often play extended versions of popular songs, which dancers would enjoy for hours on end. This led to the development of remixes, which took specific elements of a song and combined them in new and interesting ways.

As technology progressed, DJs began to produce their own original tracks, combining various elements from different songs. This resulted in the birth of EDM as we know it today.

The US was a late adopter of EDM, with the genre only really taking off here in the early 2000s. Since then, however, it has become one of the most popular genres in the country, with festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival attracting hundreds of thousands of fans each year.

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