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2015: EDM's End Of Days

Dance music's dayglo moment has passed

  • Words: Marcus K. Dowling | Illustration: Patch D Keyes
  • 18 December 2015
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We also can't talk about EDM in 2015 without mentioning the utter shit-show of a film We Are Your Friends. Grossing $1.8 million in its first few nights, the film had one of the worst opening weekends of a major studio release in Hollywood history. To provide some historical clarity here, do note that when comparable disco-film-as-pop moment Saturday Night Fever opened in 1977 it grossed $2.538 million in its premiere weekend. Adjusted for 2015, that's $10.152 million, which means that John Travolta's iconic disco ode was 82 per cent more successful as a film than this year's Effron EDM flop.

The failure of We Are Your Friends pales in comparison to the $295 million debt accrued by 2015 by Robert Sillerman's SFX Entertainment. The mogul barrelled into the EDM scene in 2013 via a series of high profile purchases including iconic festival brands, dance music retailer Beatport and several industry-quaking personnel hires. However, by 2015, a myriad of issues including a lack of development in these purchases as revenue streams has proven so difficult that Sillerman himself has attempted and failed three times to buy back the initial public stock offerings and take the company private while attempting to right SFX's sinking financial ship.

Sinking as well is the build-drop and turn-up template of EDM music itself. Scene stalwarts Swedish House Mafia, Avicii and Calvin Harris became ubiquitous pop stars when they cracked Billboard's Top 10 between 2012-2014 with radio-to-festival ready hits 'Don't You Worry Child', 'Wake Me Up' and 'Summer'. At 2015's International Music Summit-Asia Pacific, SFX Live's Director of Special Operations for Asia Richie McNeil outlined the bust that accompanied EDM's boom. "There's been a shift in numbers. The big moment for dance music, according to the numbers, was probably two or three years ago. The growth has flat-lined in some territories. It's interesting times."


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