I recently wrote my own follow up to A-Trak’s article on the “button masher” debate, but in typical fashion, the EDMSnob has released his own beautifully written editorial on the scene, which he calls ButtonGate. This is a must read!
I’ve had about enough of the most recent EDM controversy dominating headlines worldwide. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, let me provide some background.
It all started when Deadmau5 admitted his shows boil down to essentially hitting “play.” No fancy improvisation, just a press of a button, and the performance basically takes care of itself.
I posted a response taking issue with his lumping all DJs into such a category. The mau5 doesn’t like me, so he said “Fuck EDMsnob” and publicized other editorial responses instead which didn’t really address his argument.
Then Bassnectar chimed in, and later, Armin van Buuren gave an interview with the best response I think anyone has given so far. Better late than never, A-Trak recently posted his take on the issue. So, there has been a whole lot of talk about what I have dubbed: ButtonGate.
The problem is this: Everyone, so far, has been wrong. I was wrong too.
I don’t mean to imply that what they said is incorrect. Simply, everyone is arguing around each others’ points like ships passing in the night, rather than responding directly. So, The Snob is here to help.
A-Trak, Bassnectar, and even Armin all encounter the same problem in their responses. While they are each fantastic live performers with a lot of insight to provide, their descriptions of the creativity involved fall flat. They are the exceptions in what has generally been a culture of total performer apathy.
The truth is, EDM performers have given up. Over the last few years, I have seen enough sloppy mixing, lazy song selection and rehashed performances to leave me feeling completely disgusted with the vast majority of EDM performers. It’s shameful. Even Alesso, arguably one of the best new producers on the scene, has recycled so many sets, he should be named DJ Magazine’s “Greenest DJ of the Year.”
At first, I was angry at Deadmau5. How dare he collect millions from fans for live shows when he knows he’s not earning it? But now, I understand. Fans aren’t paying to see something new. They’re paying to see a famous musician they like, alongside other fans like themselves. This way, they all enjoy the music together.
On the one hand, this attitude really irks me. This allows performers to get away with the most horrible shows and still get paid thousands of dollars across the globe.
It also means a producer has to be famous BEFORE he goes on tour. An artist used to go on tour to promote their album and impress people with their show. Now, producers release music for free and use shows to cash-in. This has killed any motivation artists have to really perform on stage. Oblivious fans will pay to see you no matter how hard you trainwreck, so who cares?
On the other hand, this translates to a lot more shows and a lot more listeners. I am cautiously excited about this trend. Promoters are able to put on more shows because, frankly, people don’t care who is performing as long as they vaguely recognize the name. A lot of people will buy tickets even if they don’t LIKE the artist’s music. Hey, it’s a show right? You’ve got to be cool and go.
EDM snobs like me have gone through this stage, even if we don’t like to admit it. That’s how we developed our taste.
Eventually, the novelty of the EDM show will wear off, and this new generation of fans will develop taste, too. By then, performers will have to bring a little more creativity to the decks on tour instead of being human jukeboxes, equal parts greatest hits album and Beatport Top 20. There will once more be a demand for producers to pour out a small piece of themselves on stage.
But until that happens, let me broadcast a fair warning: The new generation of fans might not be able to express it, but deep down, they know when they’ve heard a great live performance from a DJ reading the crowd. Once they’ve had that feeling, the lackluster performances won’t cut it. Artists that lack creativity are in trouble.
I’m also making a personal promise. I am not afraid to use the popularity of this blog. Artists and labels are already telling people to ignore me because I won’t just blindly post their press releases like some EDM blogs do.
Newsflash: it isn’t working. I get hundreds of thousands of pageviews per month. Stop hating and embrace a little constructive dialogue, even if it’s critical. So, if you are an artist that disrespects the fans with prerecorded sets, lazy mixing and sloppy performances, take note:
I am watching. If you keep it up, I will find out, and I will expose you as the unimaginative, unoriginal frauds that you are. You’ve been warned.
The fans now have a voice on their side, and it’s loud and clear.