Electronic dance music (sometimes referred to as EDM, or in the UK simply as dance music) is electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered in dance-based entertainment. The music is largely created for use by disc jockeys and is produced with the intention of it being heard in the context of a continuous DJ set; wherein the DJ progresses from one record to the next via a synchronized segue or “mix”
Electronic dance music is a set of percussive music genres that largely stem from the production methods of disco music, techno music, house music, and trance music. Such music was popularized via regional nightclub scenes in the 1980s, the warehouse party scene of the late 1980s, and the early rave scene of the acid house movement in the late 1980s.
In the latter half of the 1970s, the disco music scene began to shift away from its traditional orchestration (acoustic orchestras) on its recordings. For example, in 1977, producer Giorgio Moroder worked withDonna Summer to produce “I Feel Love”, a dance/discothèque hit made using synthesizers and drum machines. In 1979, the pair collaborated again on Donna Summer’s highest-selling album, Bad Girls, which incorporated similar production techniques. This sound became a feature of many disco records in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.
In the mid-1980s and into the early 1990s, disco’s popularity waned, but electronic production dominated new popular dance music styles, such as electro, Industrial, freestyle, house and techno. By the mid-1990s, the presence of electronic dance music in contemporary culture was noted widely, and its role in society began to be explored in published historical, cultural and social science academic studies.
The term electronic dance music was used in America as early as 1985, but didn’t catch on as a genre name until the second half of the 1990s, when it was embraced by the American music industry and in academic writing. The term’s use surged in the US in the late 2000s with the mainstream appeal of hybrid styles which were increasingly disconnected from EDM’s relatively underground roots, but remains largely unknown in the UK, where genres of electronic music for dancing are collectively referred to as “dance music”