There’s a fine line between exclusivity, snobbery and appropriation. And for once, the ‘purists’ and true lovers of dance music have a reason to be defensive about the genre’s authenticity in 2017.
A quick flick through any music sharing group will land you a video from pages like Mr. After Party with videos detailing the events of sunny, outdoor parties on boats or on beaches. While that seems rather harmless and playful, Ibiza party culture has slowly crept up behind dance music and underground culture and caught it by the throat. Instead of the music fuelling the parties, the music is fuelled by the parties.
It’s obvious that more people are getting into dance music, but they’re not necessarily experiencing the ‘underground’ nature of it that got it to where it is.
It’s entirely negative to be overly protective about the genre, and as previously stated that attitude is rife throughout dance music, but as extreme as it sounds it can’t be let fall into the wrong hands. Plenty of promoters in Ibiza and even closer to our own shores are using dance music as a vessel for their own monetary gain by glamourising it and selling it as something it’s not. Paying 50 bucks to watch Maceo Plex play ‘Techno’ at 128BPM isn’t exactly the image people associate with the genre.
This isn’t a bespectacled, turtle neck wearer crying about non-vinyl DJs, but pointing to the living examples of what happens when genres are saturated with people looking to get a piece of the pie.
By appropriating other aspects of underground culture, such as the case with Techno, it demolishes plenty of the aspects that make it an individual genre and culture. In its particular case the cheap, impromptu and stripped back parties, along with more experimental and harsher sounds that don’t exactly fit the money making bill in place in exotic, party-orientated locations.
Even though it is good to have it for a wider audience, it’s even more important for them to like the music for the reasons that it exists, not the reasons that the fat cats decided it should take on.
By having fans that initially care for the music, instead of the parties they fuel, means that the culture itself isn’t as disposable as it would be if it were solely relying on its social and party-based assets.
One can’t exactly then stoop to a level of calling out particular artists, promotors or fans for taking part in glorified money-making schemes. Instead the responsibility lies in showing what’s really great about dance music and all its different branches in comparison to other types of music.
Any artist from Miley Cyrus to Nathan Carter could seem spectacular surrounded by fire dancers, sunny weather and screaming fans, but could they do it in a dingy warehouse with nothing but powerful speakers and blinding strobes? Hopefully none of us ever see Nathan Carter partake in such an action.
The main point is that there is an aspect of marketability and money-making falling into the crevices of Techno, House and electronic music that are endangering each sound’s uniqueness, and it’s up to the artists, fans and commentators to highlight and stamp it out before Techno & Co. start soundtracking Call of Duty videos on YouTube.