Electronic dance music is a universal language that connects the globe, often without words, in a shared culture. It should come as no surprise that scenes from all over the world have contributed to the sea of styles that have thrived over the past four decades. Billboard takes a look back at the cities that have shaped the current climate, from historical hotbeds to modern meccas.
A disco capital during the ‘70s, Canada’s music mecca has been fulfilling its dance music promise with standout clubs (Stereo, École Privée), and music festivals (Osheaga, Ilesoniq).
Overshadowed by many of its club-strong European contemporaries, the French capital has produced some of electronic music’s most important institutions — Daft Punk, Justice and Ed Banger Records to name a few.
13. Buenos Aires
Argentina’s crown jewel is a colorful melting pot where artists fuse electronic elements with traditional cumbia and folkloris music to inspiring effect within its bustling and bohemian creative scene.
12. São Paulo
While Brazil’s clubbing capital has recently become the epicenter for international festival expansion (Tomorrowland Brasil, EDC Brasil) in Latin America, it already boasted a thriving scene full of famous venues (D-Edge, Warung Beach Club).
Home to event brands like Elrow and the forward-thinking Sonar festival, the vibrant Catalan capital has been a consistent force in dance music (particularly tech house) for decades.
The host of Ultra Music Festival and Winter Music Conference has a rich house music history, and remains a clubbing hotspot where high-grossing nightclubs like LIV and Story coexist with more underground spots like Space.
9. Los Angeles
While its clubs may not compete with the big leagues, the City of Angels produced industry-shaping event brands like Insomniac and HARD, and has recently experienced a renaissance as a creative mecca for modern dance artists.
Many of dance music’s top acts hail from Holland, and the Dutch capital is also home to renowned festivals (Awakenings, Dekmantel), top clubs, and the scene’s most important global conference in Amsterdam Dance Event.
7. Las Vegas
Sporting six-figure DJ residencies and cutting-edge club production, Sin City has emerged as the most financially significant city in modern dance music
The U.K. capital has it all — from fertile niche scenes that have produced styles like U.K. garage, drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and grime to some of the world’s most iconic and enduring club brands (Fabric, Ministry of Sound).
5. New York City
New York’s storied rave scene spawned the modern dance club (Paradise Garage) and “garage,” delivered iconic residencies at venues like Tunnel and Twilo, and weathered the Giuliani-era crackdown to help the Big Apple emerge as most clued-in city in modern-day America.
One of the world’s undisputed clubbing capitals, the White Isle has historically been a bellwether for emerging music styles like Balearic Beat and acid house, which would later explode in Europe after being touted by pioneers like Paul Oakenfold.
Boasting legendary venues (Berghain, Tresor, Bar 25), top-tier talent and lax regulation allowing parties to run for multiple days nonstop, Berlin has officially inherited the “world techno capital” title from its forbearer Detroit.
The Motor City’s global electronic music impact cannot be overstated, giving birth to techno’s futurist art form championed by seminal artists like Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May.
House music’s hometown gave the world trailblazing artists (Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Ron Hardy), legendary venues (The Warehouse, Power Plant, Muzic Box) and a genre that remains the backbone of modern dance music.