Remember after the second Transformers movie hit theaters, actress Megan Fox went to the press to call director Michael Bay “Hitler”? Fox’s foot-in-mouth approach seriously cut into her career, and these days, she’s better known as being Brian Austin Green’s wife than actually doing anything.
So what does this have to do with dance music? Aside from the mainstream comparisons of success, Fox’s fall exemplifies one point everyone should take note of: You shouldn’t criticize what has made you successful. After all, before Transformers, Fox’s acting experience boiled down to roles in Olsen Twins and Lindsay Lohan flicks.
But one trend we’ve noticed when it comes to mainstream dance music producers and DJs is to go after the EDM machine – be it the culture, the growing commercialism behind it, or the sound.
The latest appears to be Diplo, in an August interview for Billboard. His statements criticizing the industry and his contemporaries follow Deadmau5’s extensive hate parade (the Miami New Times even compiled a list of the top 10 things the Canadian-born producer dislikes about EDM), and older performers like Tommie Sunshine, the Chemical Brothers, and Sasha disparaging the genre.
But in all of these instances, the “hater” fits a similar profile. For one, he believes that his music somehow differs from the mainstream, be it Deadmau5 thinking he’s above progressive/hardstyle/dubstep/anything popular, Diplo going back to his hip-hop and dance hall records, or the older guys believing they started it with something innovative.
Two, he has a substantial following. This could be anywhere from Diplo’s and Deadmau5’s extensive social media followers to people who actually read the tweets, statements, and blog posts from older artists or someone like Seth Troxler, who trolled the International Music Summit this year to criticize Team Avicii. They know that someone will listen to them.
Three, they directly benefit from the mainstream. This could be Diplo’s extensive pop star producing (he came up with M.I.A., has done mixes for Usher and Chris Brown, and is now working with Madonna), or was a harbinger of the stadium-filling dance music performance, like the Chemical Brothers and Sasha did in the ‘90s.
Does that combination of being successful yet “different” yet well-known shield these artists from hurting their careers? As EDM is still relatively new to the mainstream musical landscape, we’ll have to wait and see. For the time being, here are the reasons artists meeting these three qualifiers should carefully consider what they say to the press.
Criticism Feels Phony
A major point (and one Billboard emphasized with dollar figures through Diplo’s interview) is that EDM nets these top DJs a lot of money.
The DJ/producer born Wesley Pentz might not have made Forbes’ list of top-earning DJs for 2014, but Billboard estimates he took in close to $12 million last year. The magazine further points out that his DJing gigs command a price from $100,000 to $250,000 and a remix or production for another artist at $40,000 to $50,000 for a track.
Diplo, of course, isn’t alone, but how seriously do you take your craft and how much do you respect your fan base when you badmouth the genre and methods that brought you success?
As well, Diplo seems to flip-flop on embracing EDM. A year ago saw him harping on major record labels for chasing after the trend, and last month, he said to Billboard: “