The global EDM business had a value of $6.9 billion last year, up 12 percent from $6.2 billion in 2013, according to the IMS Business Report 2015. North America alone is estimated to represent roughly 29 percent, or $2 billion, of the global market.
EDM's growth has slowed considerably, however. Overall market revenue grew 37 percent in 2013 compared to 12 percent last year. Similarly, the Electronic Cash Kings' earnings growth slowed last year to 12 percent from 43 percent in 2013. Dance's share of U.S. track sales was flat at 4.6 percent (Nielsen doesn't use the EDM genre name).
In building its estimate, IMS includes a wide range of EDM-related categories, from live revenues to DJ product and software sales, and uses sources as diverse as The Economist and Nielsen. The report was released during the annual International Music Summit held May 20th to 22nd in Ibiza.
There are two easy ways to gauge the popularity of EDM: look at what events people attend, and what musical gear they buy. EDM isn't known for its sales numbers, and branding information can be hard to obtain.
EDM festivals are hot in the United States. Capacity at EDM festivals remained flat at 1.4 million -- IMS blamed it on this year's single-weekend Ultra Music Festival -- but has increased tenfold since 2007. EDM's popularity has created successful festivals that have attracted the interest of large promoters. As the report notes, Live Nation continued its EDM buying spree last year by acquiring a majority stake in Stureplansgruppen, the Swedish promoter behind the 100,000-capacity Summerburst Festival. In addition, AEG made a foray into EDM by launching the CRSSD Festival in San Diego.
In 2013, the United States accounted for 40 percent, or $139 million, of the $350-million market for DJ products sales and grew 19 percent from $120 million in 2013. Some other categories have gone the other direction recently. The 2014 edition of the National Association of Music Merchants' global report -- the most recent one available -- says sales of DJ gear in the United States grew 16 percent in 2013 while instrument amplifiers and stringed instruments fell 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Percussion sales dropped 4 percent.
The ten most popular DJs earned $305 million last year, according to Forbes' Electronic Cash Kings list, cited in the report. These 10 DJs earned a total of $252 million, up 12 percent from 2013. Calvin Harris tops the list with an estimated $66 million, or nearly 1 out of every 100 dollars generated in last year's $6.9 billion market. The rest of the top 10, from David Guetta to Steve Angello, earned a total of $186 million.
Even so, companies are looking for growth opportunities in underserved areas. Look for large nightclubs arriving in cities like Charlotte and Baltimore, nightclub veteran Dave Grutman said at last month's IMS Engage conference. "Second-tier markets are going to become A-tier markets for us."