Last year, electronic dance music, as a global industry, was worth $4.5 billion. Now a follow-up report from the International Music Summit in Ibiza reveals that figure grew nearly 50 percent over the past year, now bringing the total to $6.2 billion.
With figures coming from the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), the facets examined include festival revenue ($1.03 billion), global club shows ($2.4 billion), and money earned from Soundcloud ($140 million), as well as from Las Vegas venues ($800 million), traditional music sales ($800 million), streaming audio and video ($600 million) and DJ hardware and software ($60 million).
So with such a large jump year to year, what’s fueling electronic dance music’s growth?
Where Sales Are Coming From
It’s no secret that dance music’s profile continues to grow in the U.S., be it albums and singles ranking higher on the Billboard charts, Las Vegas attracting more talent and clubbers, and more festivals in varying degrees cropping up on both coasts and in the Midwest.
Just as last year, dance music was the only genre to have positive growth in the U.S. with digital sales: According to the International Music Summit’s report, five percent came from tracks and three percent from albums. All other major genres – rock, pop, country, R&B, and hip-hop – saw sales decrease from 2012.
But what’s surprising is growth in the U.K. and India. Last year’s report showed a small uptick in U.K. music sales, but for this past year, growth was far greater – reaching levels seen back in 2005 and 2006. Specifically, the report cites, 12 of the top 100 records in the U.K. were dance artists – up from five in 2012.
India’s dance music scene has steadily grown since the late ‘00s, now attracting some of the world’s top talent. While the country’s figures are still comparatively small to the U.S.’s, more festivals, like Sunburn and Supersonic, and arena gigs bring in large crowds and the world’s top DJs and producers.
“Wake Me Up”
It’s a song few admit to truly liking, especially dance fans – considering it strange and clunky but nonetheless still sounding different from most EDM out there.
But Avicii scored a mega hit with this track, and perhaps its top 40 status in multiple countries and significant YouTube and Spotify plays turned it into an industry-defining force.
According to the International Music Summit report, “Wake Me Up” was the most streamed track in Spotify last year, reaching 200 million streams and continuing to garner more. As well, the track earned another estimated 600 million plays on YouTube.
Social Media’s Still a Major Force
We’ve talked about social media’s power in creating EDM culture, generating production talent, and creating better engagement between the DJ/producer and fan base, and it continues to keep dance music relevant and growing.
On the fans’ end, engagement in dance music across multiple platforms tends to be greater than for other genres:
• 11 tweets per day, than the average music fan’s 1.85;
• One-third of all social media posts are about EDM, which is 52-percent greater than for the average music fan;
• One-quarter of all posts are about dance music events, with 30-percent more talking about the events; and
• Four times as many dance music fans, compared to fans of other genres, tweet about the music they listened to.
DJs further felt the power of increased fan bases over the past year, especially younger performers. As the report pointed out, younger producers ranking toward the top of the DJ Mag list in 2013 – particularly Hardwell, Nicky Romero, and Zedd – experienced explosive growth with their fan bases. Hardwell, especially, saw his followers increase by 400 percent over the past year. Average, however, hovered around 77 percent growth.
On a similar note, the festivals where these DJs perform have greater social media power. While fans tweet and send pictures or videos during the event, the festivals remain engaged with fans after, providing movies and updates throughout the year.
There’s More Money to be Earned
You could blame it on Las Vegas, but the top-earning DJs and producers raked in significantly more in 2013 than they did in 2012.
One surprise was Calvin Harris – the top earning DJ/producer who, because of songwriting contracts it has been pointed out, now has earnings on part with Jay-Z’s. While Harris was ahead of most other dance music performers with $46 million earned in 2013, others didn’t do too poorly, either, with Tiesto, Afrojack, David Guetta, and others amassing tens of millions over the year. In total, the top DJs’ salaries practically doubled from $114 million to $225 million.
At the same time, these guys need gear, and DJing and production software labels continued to see a fifth year of growth, particularly Native Instruments and Ableton. Country by country, most brands saw sales increase, with the exception of the Japanese market.
For 2012’s reports, corporate growth and acquisitions weren’t significant enough to mention – but what a difference a year makes.
As we pointed out on multiple occasions in 2013, an umbrella of stocks, nearly-identical events, and costs over culture pervaded everything from Beatport to borderline underground events.
SFX Entertainment appears to be the biggest offender – but, as this report points out, the company made several significant acquisitions over the past year and saw attendance at its events double. As a downside, its stock price dropped 50 percent since debuting as an IPO, which goes to show that no one’s banking on what could be a short-lived trend.
SFX aside, other big brands have dipped into the EDM pool with various endeavors, from songs and soundtracks to albums, including HBO, FIFA, Syco, and Disney, all contributing somewhat to the genre’s growth.
2012 and 2013 both experienced rapid growth, but is it sustainable? It’s estimated that festival growth hit a plateau this year, but with artists continuing to chart highly, earn top-paying gigs across the globe, and have a highly-active fan base, we’ll just have to wait and see where dance music continues to go.