Traditional bands have, and always will, exist. I’m not arguing that. What I am saying is that the environment for the new music industry is far more favorable towards electronic music than it is traditional bands. If we take equal amounts of each type of band, over time we’ll see more electronic groups for all of the reasons listed below.
True, the cash outlay for a decent studio setup is much larger than buying a crappy guitar and combo amp. Much larger. But electronic music doesn’t need to rent out recording studios and engineers to put songs, all of that is part of the studio setup in the first place. Putting out a new single takes much less time and much less money for electronic music than it does traditional bands.
And as unfortunate as it is to say, the less people in the band the more everyone gets paid. The same $10,000 show fee will feed a DJ and two techs a whole lot better than a five-piece band each with their own roadies. Touring is expensive and isn’t always a good idea.
Low variable costs make a big difference. Profit is easier to come by for EDM and Hip Hop.
-Speed of Release
EDM & Hip Hop artists put out many more singles than they do full-length albums. Less production time and more frequent releases keeps the artist in the fans’ mind more easily.
Within a large majority of traditional bands, cross pollination between members of different acts through split EPs and remixes is rare (except for the Mastdon / Feist split, which was excellent).
The exact opposite is true for EDM and Hip Hop. It’s hard to find a new single that doesn’t either have guest artists or remixes of the track.
Cross promotion is a fantastic way to get potential fans of your music to discover that they actually like your music as you’re essentially being endorsed by their current favorite artist. Hearing a new artist work with your favorite artist is even better than a friend’s recommendation since it’s coming from the source of your admiration. It wasn’t until I heard Nas spit on the track Classic that I even considered getting into him. Cross promotion is one of many reasons groups like Doomtree are able to out-hustle and out-last many unconnected artists.
Fans are to be shared, not hoarded.
Electronic music isn’t on mainstream radio yet it can sell out 30,000 person festivals. Electronic music, and to a lesser extent Hip Hop, grew up and thrives through the internet. Friends and bloggers pass music that resonates to one another, there’s not radio spots or billboards hawking the newest Deadmau5 album. The movement is fan-led.
-Electronic Music Is Built Around Giving Away Music for Free
DJs have long since known that getting your track the spins it deserves is more important that making a few extra bucks. Fame comes from people knowing and loving your work. Albums sales, like retweets or “likes”, are indicators of fame, not the totality of fame. It’s much easier for these acts to survive with the “music as a commodity” reality of today than it is traditional bands simply because the architecture for EDM wasn’t built around album sales.
The album is marketing material for live performances now, not the primary product.
Which leads me to my next point.
Now I adore traditional music groups; they account for at least 80% of my listening. But Messhugah’s five piece crushing metal blast couldn’t compete with the spectacle of Skrillex riding a giant, smoke-spewing transformer in front of a throng of ten thousand fans dancing and drenched in the soft light of LED hula hoops.
Maybe I’m jaded from seeing so much live music, but if all a band does is stand on stage and play their album I feel ripped off. If I go to see a performance, I want to see a performer. It wasn’t really until I saw an electronic music show that I began to actually appreciate the genre.