What is EDM?

JD Rinehart

Updated on:

what does edm mean

Have you ever been to a club and heard electronic music blasting through the speakers? If so, then you have experienced electronic dance music (EDM).

In this guide, we’ll discuss the history of EDM, its various subgenres, and some of the biggest players in the scene today. We’ll also give you a few tips on where to start if you’re interested in checking out this type of music.

So read on for everything you need to know about electronic dance music!

What is EDM?

EDM is an acronym that stands for electronic dance music. It is a type of music that is produced using electronic musical instruments and equipment.

This includes things like synthesizers, drum machines, and computer software. EDM is typically associated with club culture and the rave scene.

rave scene

The History of EDM

The origins of EDM can be traced back to the 1970s when electronic music artists like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder began experimenting with synthesizers and other electronic instruments.

In the 1980s, techno and house music emerged as popular subgenres of EDM. These genres were characterized by their use of repetitive beats and basslines. Perhaps you’ve heard the song “Take on Me” by a-ha (it’s a classic):

“Take on Me” and 80s classic

The 1990s saw a renewed interest in EDM, particularly in the UK where the rave scene was thriving. Notable EDM artists from this era include The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, and The Chemical Brothers.

“Firestarter” by The Prodigy

In the 2000s and 2010s, EDM became increasingly mainstream, with artists like David Guetta, Skrillex, and Calvin Harris achieving global success.

“Titanium” by David Guetta and Sia

What Makes a Song EDM?

There are a few elements that are typically found in EDM songs.

1. Electronic Instruments and Equipment

First, there is the use of electronic instruments and equipment. This can include synthesizers, drum machines, and computer software.

2. Repetitive Beat

Second, EDM songs often have a repetitive beat that helps to create a sense of rhythm and movement.

3. Distorted or Processed Vocals

Third, EDM songs often feature distorted or heavily processed vocals. This is often done for aesthetic purposes, but it can also help to create a sense of energy and excitement.

Why is EDM Popular?

EDM is popular for a number of reasons.

1. It’s Fun and Upbeat

First, EDM is generally fun and upbeat. This makes it perfect for dancing and partying. There are even specific dances for EDM shows such as shuffling and “cutting shapes.”

“cutting shapes”

2. It’s Innovative

Second, EDM is always innovating. There are always new subgenres and trends emerging. This keeps things fresh and exciting for fans of the genre.

3. It’s Accessible

Third, EDM is quite accessible. There are a number of ways to get into the genre, whether it’s going to a club or festival or listening to songs online.

How Do I Get Into EDM?

If you’re interested in getting into EDM, there are a few things you can do.

1. Listen to Songs Online

First, you can listen to songs online. There are a number of streaming platforms that offer EDM, such as Spotify and Apple Music. You can also find many EDM songs on YouTube.

2. Attend a Concert or Festival

Second, you can attend a concert or festival. This is a great way to experience EDM in its natural environment. Many festivals specifically cater to EDM fans.

3. Talk to Other Fans

Third, you can talk to other fans. This is a great way to learn about new artists and subgenres. You can also get recommendations for songs and concerts.

Subgenres of EDM

There are many different subgenres of EDM, each with their own distinct sound and style. Some of the most popular subgenres include:


House music is characterized by its 4/4 beat and deep basslines. It often includes elements of other genres, such as disco, funk, and Soul.


Techno is a fast-paced and often dark genre of EDM that originated in Detroit in the 1980s. It is characterized by its repetitive beats and minimalistic style.


Trance is a type of EDM that is designed to induce a state of euphoria. It typically features a 4/4 beat and soaring melodies.

Drum and Bass

Drum and bass is a high-energy genre of EDM that features breakbeats and heavy basslines.


Dubstep is a type of EDM that originated in the UK in the early 2000s. It is characterized by its heavy basslines and use of dubstep wobbles.

EDM Festivals

EDM festivals are a great way to experience this type of music in a live setting. Some of the biggest and most popular EDM festivals include Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Electric Daisy Carnival.


These festivals typically feature multiple stages with different DJs playing a variety of genres of EDM.

Popular EDM DJs

There are a number of popular EDM DJs. Some of the most famous household names include:

EDM Songs

There are thousands of popular EDM songs. Some you may have heard on the radio include:

“Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers feat. Daya

“Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ

“Faded” by Alan Walker

“Animals” by Martin Garrix

“Levels” by Avicii

“Stereo Love” by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Who Listens to EDM?

EDM is popular with people of all ages. However, it is most popular with people between the ages of 18 and 34.

This is likely due to the fact that this age group is more likely to go to clubs and festivals where EDM is played.

I’m not saying that people only between those ages listen to it, because I know a few people 50+ who still regularly go to shows. Those are the true EDM fans if you ask me.

Popular EDM Lingo

Some popular EDM lingo you should know include :

  • BPM: Beats per minute. This is a measure of the tempo of a song.
  • DJ: A DJ is a person who plays pre-recorded music for an audience.
  • Euphoria: A feeling of intense happiness or well-being.
  • Festival: A musical event typically lasting multiple days and featuring multiple artists.
  • Genre: A category of music with similar style or sound.
  • Producer: A producer is a person who creates music, typically in a studio setting.
  • Rave: A rave is an all-night party featuring electronic dance music.
  • Subgenre: A subgenre is a smaller category of music within a genre.
  • PLUR: Peace Love Unity Respect. This is a mantra often associated with the EDM scene.
  • Bass face: When someone makes a face as they feel the bass vibrate through their body.
  • Drop: The drop is the most exciting part of an EDM track, when the beat suddenly changes and the bass kicks in.

Is EDM Pop Music?

EDM has become increasingly popular in recent years and as a result, some people have begun to classify it as pop music.

However, EDM is its own distinct genre of music with its own unique sound and style. While it may be influenced by pop music, it is not the same thing.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, EDM is a genre of music. It is popular with people of all ages. If you’re looking to get into EDM, be sure to check out some of the popular songs and DJs listed above. And just remember, there’s no better time to get into EDM than now.