As the year begins to wrap up, we here at EDM Sauce are taking a look back at the moments which influenced the dance music industry the most over the last year. Over the last year, there have been some incredible highs and deep lows in the world of dance music. Let's take a look back at some of the moments and trends which will live on in history as landmark moments in EDM.
When 2018 is brought up in the future, one event in dance music will be mentioned before any other. On April 20, 2018, the world lost one of the most musically talented individuals it had ever known. After a series of promising comeback releases and positive life choices, Tim Bergling, better known as Avicii seemed to be doing better than ever.
It was inspiring to see the young artist return to former glory after struggling with mental health, addiction, and exhaustion related issues. Then suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere the news of his death broke. Avicii took his own life in a hotel in the Middle Eastern country of Oman. In the wake of his passing, artists created moving tributes ranging from unique songs to memorial services.
Tim's passing was not in vain though. His untimely death sparked the conversation of mental health in the dance music industry. As time continues to pass, one thing has become more evident than anything else – Avicii will live on forever through his music. Rest in peace to a true icon, of not just EDM, but music as a whole.
In March of 2018, accusations of rape against the dubstep producer Datsik came pouring out on social media. The sheer volume of stories and alleged victims painted a grim picture of the iconic dubstep producer. Within 24 hours of the first accusations breaking, the artist's career was effectively over.
An anonymous source close to artist confirmed to EDM Sauce the behavior that was described in many of the victim's stories. As the movement grew, more individuals came forward with accusations against artists including Riff Raff and Gas Lamp Killer.
While many of the accounts were not brought to court, 2018 marked the entry of the #MeToo movement into dance music. As more reports continue to surface it seems that it could not have come soon enough.
In March of 2018, Swedish House Mafia officially reunited at the 20th anniversary of Ultra Music Festival. The set marked the first time the three members of the group took the stage together in over five years.
The reunion was heavily anticipated. Once Ultra 2018 got underway, the appearance was confirmed by street art featuring iconic brands in the pattern of the group's signature three horizontal dot logo.
After Ultra 20, the group stayed relatively quiet as rumors started to slip out that they were planning a world tour. In October, in a press conference, Steve, Seb, and Axwell confirmed they had officially reunited are producing new music while planning a world tour.
This trend is not meant to be one of fear-mongering, but as an industry, we have found ourselves at a crossroads where action needs to be taken. Throughout the festival season, fentanyl-related deaths have been reported at Lost Lands, Firefly, Bonnaroo, and many more. Several events saw fentanyl-related incidents including Electric Forest, Shambhala and Camp Bisco.
The dangerous and insidious new trend of using the hyper-powerful opiate as an adulterant for ecstasy and pharmaceutical drugs which are regularly sold and consumed at music festivals has become a severe public health concern.
This epidemic is attempting to be combatted by individuals like The Bunk Police or DanceSafe who tried to set up drug testing stations at festivals. Unfortunately, thanks to outdated legislation known as the RAVE act, these nonprofits are commonly shut down before they can reduce harm.
As 2019 begins, the music industry as a whole is now facing one of the terrifying health crises it has ever seen. The question which remains is whether governing officials will do anything to make it possible to help reduce harm.
Since about 2014, the country has seen a massive increase in music festivals. Small regional festivals exploded with popularity over the past several years. In 2018, it seems that the “music festival bubble” has popped.
In my home state of Texas, countless smaller festivals saw unexpected cancellations after promising prior editions. These include Day For Night, Free Press Houston, Euphoria Music Festival, Sun City Music Festival, Middlelands, and a few more.
In the heat of the summer, we reported seemingly every week on another festival going belly-up, sometimes only days before they were slated to start. It is not yet clear if the issue is over-saturation or inexperienced event producers. One thing is for sure – the major players in the music festival world: LiveNation, Insomniac Events, AEG, and C3 are making a push are buying up smaller events before they can get in the way of their profit margins.
Will this trend continue as 2019 gets underway? Only time will tell, but we have to imagine the regional festival is on its way out of style.
From about 2013 forward, dance music saw an explosion of original, new and exciting styles. These include the sound that would become known as Future Bass, as well as genre-bending productions with rap and folk vocalists.
After many of the biggest names in the industry worked tirelessly for years at creating the “hot new sound” it seems that the cycle of experimentation from big-name producers has gone full circle.
Artists like Nicky Romero and Alesso have once again begun producing progressive house.
Underground genres such as techno and house are more in demand than ever before.
Swedish House Mafia is reuniting, spurring interest in the 2008-2012 golden era of EDM more than ever before.
I am not saying that boundaries are not being pushed every single day by thousands of artists, but as a whole, it seems the trend in EDM at the moment is to return to the sounds that are known to work.