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Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a genre of music that often leaves the listening wondering “what exactly is this type of music?” and “how did EDM come to exist?” This article will dive into the brief history of EDM including where it first started to burst onto the music scene and how it became popular.

EDM simply stands for Electronic Dance Music. Originally, it was created to use in a nightclub setting or wherever the environment is dance-based entertainment. DJs are typically those that create EDM music. The goal of EDM is the have it be heard in the context of a continuous DJ set. This is where the DJ would work from one record to the next using a synchronized segue or what they call a “mix.”

EDM can be considered more of a “set” of music. It contains percussive genres such as disco, techno, house, and trance music. These types of music really gained popularity at nightclubs in the 1980s and followed into the warehouse party scene in the late 1980s. However, beginning in the late 1970s, disco music started to include synthesizers and drum machines in their orchestrations. This was the jumping off point for what we now know as EDM music. Throughout the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, disco’s popularity began to decrease while electronic production elements started dominated the dance styles of the time. These would have been styles such as electro, industrial, freestyle, house, and techno.

When the mid-1990s rolled around, electronic dance music had become a staple of contemporary culture. Eventually, this presence was studied academically. However, the term “electronic dance music” didn’t really catch on as the “go-to” phrase until the later half of the 1990s when it began to gain popularity in the American music industry.

In part 2 of “The History of EDM”, the change in popularity and appeal of EDM in the American music industry will be explored as well as how EDM has become more than just a niche in the underground nightclub scene.