Within the past five years — as I watched waves of young DJs and producers rise to prominence and the ‘EDM’ phenomenon take hold in the US — I came to realize that these contemporary artists have arrived at the optimum business model for the modern music industry. Essentially, one man with one laptop creates the music, distributes the music and performs the music, replacing whole busloads of tour support and entire floors of a traditional record label. These one-man musical armies draw fans by the tens of thousands and command massive paydays (check Forbes ). They’re thriving in a disjointed, fractured business landscape. But beyond the money, DJs have filled an essential creative role — processing all the music data faster than anyone else, affirming their rightful place as the tastemakers and music selectors for the modern music audience.
The current wave of EDM mania among younger twentysomethings is, I believe, the first musical trend that has ever made me feel truly old. Nevertheless, I think he’s onto something here: EDM makes sense as the musical paradigm for the age of the “lean” startup, of social media information overload, of collapsing institutions, of “everyone’s an entrepreneur” and its corollary “no one has a career.”