Two decades after its emergence, electronic music has taken North America by storm. The question is, why now?
It was a decade ago that electronic music was declared dead — considered anathema by mainstream music marketers.
Case in point: When the Lollapalooza festival relaunched with a rock-heavy lineup in 2003 after a five-year hiatus, organizers blamed the break (and lack of profit) on an “over-reliance on electronica-heavy headliners” in 1997, according to the festival website. Their hate-on for the genre followed popular sentiment of the time that largely relegated electronica to something of a joke, characterized by rapper Eminem’s declaration “Nobody listens to techno” in his 2002 hit Without Me.
Today, Slim Shady has likely eaten those words, along with the Lolla crew, who featured electronic acts like DJ Steve Aoki, Hot Chip, Crystal Castles and Ellie Goulding in prominent position in this year’s lineup, keeping with the trend sweeping populist music festivals across the U.S. and Canada.