Electronic dance music has conquered the charts and blossomed into a $6.2 billion global industry, lifting DJs from obscurity to stardom and redefining the role of technology in the music space. Billboard has compiled a list of the Top 30 EDM Power Players, which will be revealed in the cover story out Friday, June 12.
From influential artists and kingpin executives to pioneering promoters and trusted tastemakers, inclusion and ranking on Billboard’s second annual list were determined by an internal panel of experts, who looked at business influence and impact, money earned and overseen, chart performance, touring performance and cultural influence over the past 12 months.
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Swooping in from the pop world, Scooter Braun, the savvy manager behind Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, has doubled down on dance music with new clients Steve Angello (of Swedish House Mafia fame), and 19-year-old wunderkind Martin Garrix, all of whom made the EDM Power Players list.
Braun reflects on dance music’s current cultural relevancy, as well as how Bieber’s performance at Ultra Music Festival could be a career-defining moment. “It’s like Bob Dylan: He pissed people off, but whenever he switched, he reinvented himself in a way that made him who he is today,” he says.
Garrix was actually tracked down on a family vacation by Braun, who cold-called his hotel room after hearing an early demo of breakthrough hit “Animals.” “Now I know it’s a total Scooter move to call me in the hotel, but at that point I was in shock,” recalls Garrix. “He pretended he was from my school and that it was an emergency.”
And Angello, the seasoned veteran, dishes on his split with Swedish House Mafia and Columbia Records, as well as his desire to challenge himself by creating something timeless. “Nobody’s going to f—ing remember these same-sounding dance records, because they aren’t evergreen,” he says.
Find out more from the trio and see who else made Billboard’s Top 30 EDM Power Players list when the issue is out Friday, June 12.