On June 18th, 1971, Nixon addressed congress calling drug abuse “public enemy number one”. Since then, there has been an all out war on drugs. According to Wikipedia.org, marijuana in particular “…constitutes almost half of all drug arrests.” Be that as it may, beginning in the early hours of 2014, people lined up for blocks to legally (state, not federal) purchase marijuana for recreational use in the state of Colorado.
It seems odd that something that has been demonized for so long would be made legal. Much like prohibition before, there can only be one answer, money. A study by The Cato Institute in 2010 revealed that the legalization of marijuana would generate $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenue annually. With pressure to come out of the latest recession swinging, state governments are starting to think outside the box.
While electronic dance music (EDM) is not illegal, it has been demonized for as long as it has existed, in no small part due to it’s common association with recreational illegal drug use. In fact, Democratic Assemblywoman Fiona Ma of California attempted to ban EDM in 2011 only to be thwarted by the US Constitution. As a DJ and supporter of nightlife I feel obliged to educate those less informed on the benefits of this music. Since money, ironically, seems to be the exorcising agent for the powers-that-be, my focus will be on the monetary benefits. Here is a list of economies benefiting from the rise in EDM popularity.
- Travel – Every year the number of EDM festivals around the world seems to grow exponentially. Not only does this mean that headliners are traveling more to meet demand, but people are globetrotting to follow them and connect with their foreign peers. As a result money flows into the coffers of airlines, the hospitality industry, rental companies, and local businesses wherever these events are held.
- Smart phone and tablet apps – It is no secret that the next phase of DJing and live PA will be lead by the rise in touch screen technology and mobile device applications. Apps are being generated to help DJs, producers, and fans alike search for, buy, listen to, and produce new music. If you are looking to go full Bladerunner, just check out DJ Techtools’ list of “The Killer List of 14 iOS Production Apps” to get started.
- DJ / producer hardware – With retro being the word on the tips of so many producer’s tongues, hardware is surging. Korg released the Volca Series offering affordable synth and drum machines for entry level producers, Rane Corporation is constantly merging new DVS innovations with their DJ mixers, and Moog is trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Festivals – Previously clandestine parties, better known as raves, these post-rave EDM parties have embraced corporate business models and mutated into a multi billion dollar industry. According to a study by the management consulting and advisory firm Massive Advisors, the “major players” in the global festival market achieved $4.5 billion in sales for 2012.
- New clubs / venues – Clubs are back. In New York alone, I have witnessed a mass exodus of people flocking to new nightlife spots including, but not limited to, Sankeys, Output, Bossa Nova Civic Club, The Panther Room, Tokya and Le Bain within the past few years. It is true that the communal days of the Limelight and Paradise Garage are over, but at least people are dancing again.
- Vinyl survives – Between 1993 and 2013, Nielsen Soundscan reported the rise in vinyl album sales from 300,000 units to just over 6 million units with a jump of 32% between 2012 and 2013 alone. More and more DJs are playing vinyl, fans are buying it, and the production of a 12” still remains as a significant cultural milestone for those producing dance music, even in this digital age.
- New fashions – With clubs back on the rise and ravewear = the new sportswear, old and new companies are tapping the market while it lasts. A few notable companies making waves include: Into The AM, Hous, Nghtbrnd, Bassdrop and Little Black Diamond.
- The club crawl tour bus – No longer content to stay in one spot all night, the attention deficit disorder generation has opened the doors for a new EDM economy, the club crawl tour bus. Companies like Las Vegas’ Nite Tours and the San Francisco based Party Bus Tours pick up and drop off patrons from club to club throughout the night. This frees revelers from driving under the influence, and helps keep the streets safe.