Sun | Sep 23, 2018

High Expenses Threaten EDM Craze

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2016 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
Contributed Diplo of Major Lazer floats across the massive crowd
Diplo of Major Lazer and Tarrus Riley (right) hanging out at a Major Lazer and Friends event
DJ Delano Thomas of Renaissance Disco

According to an article recently published in the Miami Herald, the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) craze is slowing down in some places. The genre which is said to have been widely influenced by Jamaican music and musicians, had developed a huge following over the last five years, however, critics are now saying that EDM will continuously decline if certain fundamental issues are not addressed.

The Herald claims that several U.S., based clubs that are EDM driven, have closed their doors in recent times. While some event organisers have pulled the plug on their events, citing high production costs, DJs have also been overpricing their brands.

Adding to that, the 2016 edition of the Tomorrow World Festival in rural Georgia was cancelled this year, while other event organisers have struggled to sell their VIP tickets.

The article further postulated that many of the music-loving club-goers which are the genre's core audience, have been alienated by spiralling ticket and drink prices that push prices to well over US$100.

Adding to that, critics also believe the genre is not very dynamic as it relates to its catalogue of performing acts. The Herald also name Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Diplo and Skrillex as some of the acts who have been overbooked, while explaining that some fans of EDM are yearning for new faces.

dipping deep

Furthermore promoters who wish to book top flight acts, have been dipping deep in their pockets, since appearance prices for artistes/DJs may range from US$150,000 to as much as US$400,000. This explains why EDM festivals tend to attract hefty admission fees, as promoters seek to at least try and break even.

Notably, Major Lazer's highly publicised concert recently held at Mas Camp, saw patrons paying more than J$3,000 at the gate and liquor was not inclusive. Similarly Jamaica's first three day EDM Festival - Paradise Lost, advertised tickets ranging from US$159 to over US$400, and again, there was no mention of food and drinks being inclusive.

Paradise Lost was eventually postponed and a new date is yet to be announced. The Gleaner, also made several unsuccessful attempts to get a comment from the organisers.

Popular producer/promoter Delano, told The Gleaner, that "every genre has its time. I don't think for the next 10 years, people will be that crazy over EDM, because something else will come around. EDM is banking on the producers, DJs and the acts. The promoters and club owners have always been taking advantage of the ride, I have always wondered how clubs manage to pay a DJ US$100,000 and up, and still manage to make money. I think some of the clubs only do it to hype the brand of the club since the DJ might be popular, but on the night, they don't really make any money," he said.

DJ Delano also said dancehall went through the same process of having ups and downs.

back on a rise

"It's just a fad and every genre has its fad. Dancehall was just climbing with Shabba and everybody and then it just went downhill. I think dancehall is back on a rise, but everything has its time. Some promoters are already feeling it and they are bashing it and it will cause an epidemic," he told The Gleaner.

Also a promoter of events like Renaissance Anniversary and Renaissance All White, DJ Delano says pricing can affect the support of patrons.

"As a promoter your price can affect turnout. But if patrons happen to go to your event, pay the high price and they have a crazy good time, then they will be saving from that time until the next event comes. I don't think one person will do that for five years, but as you go along, a next generation will come by and happen to like that type of music. If the party is high priced and boring, then persons won't be going back, because people tend to go to events that they think is worth it," he said.

Despite the decline in some areas of around the world, EDM continues to blossom in places like Belgium, Latin America, Europe,China, Singapore among others. Several Jamaican acts have also begun to release EDM inspired music - Busy Signal and Sean Paul having already achieved success with songs produced by EDM DJs.