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Is The Party Over? EDM’s Share of US Record Market Falls As DJ Earnings Slip to Five-Year Low

America's love affair with electronic dance music appears to be waning, with EDM's share of the U.S. recorded music market falling for a second successive year and a sharp drop in the popularity of Las Vegas clubs and pool parties hitting the once thriving scene, according to the latest IMS Business Report. 

For years, a buoyant North American market helped fuel growth in the global electronic music sector with Las Vegas — where superstar DJs continue to command multi-million dollar fees — becoming the unofficial US mecca for EDM fans. 

While it's an exaggeration to say that the party has ended, it certainly appears to be cooling down, judging by the International Music Summit's (IMS) annual economic study, which reports dance music's share of the U.S. recorded music market fell to 3% in 2018, down from 3.5% the year before and from 4% the year before that.

The estimated earnings of the ten highest-paid DJs meanwhile tumbled to $261 million in 2018, the lowest total since 2013, with Calvin Harris topping the list ($48 million last year, according to Forbes data), followed by The Chainsmokers ($45.5 million) and Tiësto ($33 million). 


The proportion of people going to Las Vegas hotel clubs and pool parties has also dropped significantly in recent years, claims the economic study. In 2016, 15% of visitors to the city said they had been to a nightclub during their stay. In 2018, the number was just 7%, while the amount of people going to pool parties during the same period fell from 11% to 4%.   

The picture was similarly bleak in the U.K., where EDM's share of the recorded music market fell from 11.5% to 9.5%, as the number of nightclubs dropped by over 20% in 2018 to 1,673. 

Report author Kevin Watson identified gentrification of urban areas, the popularity of social media and online dating and a move towards health and wellbeing activities among millennials as driving factors. 

Globally the electronic music business — spanning sales, DJ earnings, clubs, festivals and branding — slipped by 1% in 2018 to $7.2 billion, down from $7.3 billion the previous year.

Markets that experienced growth were Germany, where EDM's share of the recorded music market rebounded to 7.1% and Canada, where it climbed to 5.9%. The report does not include financial breakdowns for how much the recorded, live or branding EDM business is worth.


Other points of interest in the IMS report include analysis of the top performing DJs on the international festival circuit. That list was topped by Russian DJ and producer Nina Kraviz, who played 35 festivals last year (as per Festicket data). Amelie Lens ranked second with 27 shows and Armin van Buuren third with 26. Charlotte de Witte and Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike also made the top five. 

The report also looked into the mental health of independent musicians across all genres (not just dance music), 73% of whom said they have experienced negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and or depression in relation to their career. 

According to IFPI survey data, dance and electronic music is the world's third most popular genre listened to by an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide.