Blog Coordinator: Lauren DeGaine


This year, MalLabel Music celebrated its 10-year anniversary. We decided to reflect on our decade in the biz by asking a group of industry veterans what they think are the biggest changes the scene has seen. Here are the 10 Biggest Changes in Electronic Music in 10 Years!


 1. A Level Playing Field  


“For me, the biggest change has been the pervasive use of social media to promote underground music and events. Before Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, promoters and artists relied on word-of-mouth, grassroots marketing. This severely limited independent artists and gave corporate record companies with massive marketing budgets a huge advantage. With the advent of digital marketing, artists can tremendously improve their network reach. This has levelled the playing field for independent artists, who no longer needed a large scale record label to promote their music.”

 Mal Harper. Label Boss, MalLabel Music.


2. The Rapidly Changing Environment of Tech


“The learning stage of DJing and producing music was a lot more cumbersome 10 years ago. Today’s software programs are friendlier; anyone can confidently dive in, fiddle, record, and perform with good success. Today’s tech allows artists to quickly take their work from the idea stage into digital formats, and then into a playable state. Also, the ability to work with instruments and to collaborate with live musicians and fellow electronic artists is so much better now! I find that the most exciting performances feature folks using new technology to present their work. They’re pushing boundaries and making outstanding music: JPod, G Jones, Defunk, K+Lab, CloZee, Dub FX live, Opiuo, Griz, Gramatik, etc.”

— Jenn Goulet aka JGirl. Head of Footwerk Events and veteran crew member of Shambhala’s Fractal Forest.


3. Genre-Dissolution


“When I got started in the industry it felt like lines were drawn more clearly, and the biggest of those lines was just ‘dub-step.’ Now there’s so many genre-benders and wild little niches erupting that a scene just 100 miles north of another will have a completely different sound, style and culture. The global bass movement has cross-pollinated and reproduced so many times that we’re living in a time beyond limits. This may make the job of music writers much harder, but if diversity is the key to health and longevity, we’ll have a lot to look forward to for years to come.”

— Zan Comerford, Marketing Manager at MalLabel Music.


4. Limelight Status

“A decade ago, electronic music was not in the limelight like it is today. You’d be hard-pressed to see electronic artists play festivals outside of electronic music festivals, which were niche and rare. Festivals are now brimming with DJ’s, electronic artists and producers, arguably rivalling every other genre out there. It’s crazy what 10 years can do!”

Betty and Kora, Vancouver-based music festival bloggers.


5. Discovering Music Has Never Been Easier


“The biggest change in the electronic music community over the past 10 years is social media. From Myspace music player to Soundcloud, Pandora, Spotify, and now Apple Music. Social media has made discovering new music easier than ever before. The internet lets any random person become a household name without needing a major label or record deal in order to do so.

— Pete Domville aka Headphone Activist, DJ and Producer.


6. No Longer a Counter-Culture


“The biggest change I’ve seen in the electronic music industry in the past ten years is the entrance of electronic music fully into the mainstream of American culture. What used to be the exclusive territory of freaks and weirdos is now overrun by normies. It’s good because far more hardworking producers, DJs, and industry pros can make a decent living doing what they love (myself included). But it still feels a bit strange to me.”

— Chris Cox, Mastering Engineer at Bass Music Mastering.


7. Harm Reduction at Electronic Music Events


“Electronic music and festivals have gained popularity with the mainstream and big corporations, influencing most mainstream pop you hear on the radio now. I’m sure you can think of a couple DJ’s your parents have actually heard of. Try doing that 10 years ago! With the growth of the industry, there is more education and knowledge available. There are SO MANY different harm reduction organizations out there, all over the world. Although some of these groups have probably been around for 10+ years, harm reduction is now openly accepted by a larger audience than it ever has been in the past.”

Carissa Gem, Canadian DJ and event producer at Sub Chakra.


8. MIDI Controller Takeover


“One of the biggest changes I’ve seen, at least from behind the booth, has been the proliferation of MIDI controller use. When I first got into the game, it was a huge point of contention, with artists insisting that it was “dumbing down” the art of DJing, but now they are widely accepted as just another instrument or “color” in the palette, and many use them in addition to traditional decks.  The mixing possibilities are endless beyond just beat matching.”

Gustavo Sandi aka El Diablo, DJ and producer.


9. The Music Festival Craze


“Worldwide, hundreds of large-scale events provide opportunities and platforms for electronic music artists. We need to be really intentional about the events we support and the culture we perpetuate. At events big and small, drug abuse, harassment, and toxic behaviour is always a risk. How are we presenting ourselves to the world as a community? How do we support artists and events in creating new paradigms as well as new music!? How do we contribute to a more compassionate and creative future?! These are the questions the scene faces today.”

Lauren DeGaine. Blog Coordinator, MalLabel Music.


10. Innovation in Sound


“The number of genres for Electronic Music has more than doubled in the past 10 years. There are so many hybrid genres that it’s hard to keep up! In my opinion, this is the best thing that’s happened to electronic music. Artists no longer strive to immitate other artists, but rather focus on being different and sounding different. This leads to some crazy beautiful music in which multiple genres are represented in one song, giving it a unique sound. As a producer and an artist, I’m excited to continue to grow and evolve my own music along with the industry!”

— James Wilson aka Peek Levels, music producer and video designer.