Solidarity in EDM Sonic Communities

In my research I am exploring various aspects of electronic dance music (EDM), and how they contribute to the strong sense of solidarity and communal unity often reported the genre’s listeners. These fans often mention feeling an affinity towards complete strangers in the nightclubs, festivals, and partys where this kind of music is being played. Altered states of consciousness coming from some combination of the musical characteristics, the setting, and at times for many, the drugs, are also common within this community. Among other things, our group is focusing on the creation of unity amongst members of a group through their use of sound—Buddhist monks collectively achieve trance states through meditation and chanting; many martial arts utilize sound to coordinate fluidity, discipline, and coordination in their movements and forms; seeing the developing fetus for the first time, via technology which employs high frequency sound waves, brings families together over the shared excitement of an expecting mother and her unborn child.

Many elements present in this video are supportive of the research I’ve been finding, shown on a gigantic scale. There has been recent explosion in popularity of EDM, with massive festivals like Tomorrowland being the result. This simply further supports the idea that EDM creates a community amongst its listeners. The music is also ever-changing, morphing, and being modified, yet the basic sonic signatures that mark the style have remained quite similar throughout EDMs history. This video shows the variety of musical styles within the broader EDM catagory, the crowd energy and participation, the psychedelic nature of the experience, but most importantly from our group’s perspective, the tendency this sonic community has towards amassing enormous crowds of like-minded, freely participating, energetic individuals.

7 thoughts on “Solidarity in EDM Sonic Communities

  1. Very cool topic. Music definitely has an impact on the people that are listening to it and I can see how it could create a sense of connection between people (also can see the drugs having an effect on this). This is almost the opposite of the article we read about the iPod. In the iPod article we saw that having earbuds in gives you a “false connection” or sense of connectivity with others whereas having live music, such as the EDM you are focusing on, gives people more of a “real connection” since the group of people is exposed to the same sounds and frequencies. Interested to see/hear more.

  2. The concert is not a new phenomenon. I think it would be interesting to study how one type of concert may develop a greater unity than another. You seem to have denoted several aspects of EDM festivals that lend well to the community feeling, and I am excited to see the rest of your findings.

  3. I like how you connected the EDM community to religious communities. The differences are pretty clear, but I’d love to hear more specifics about the similarities since these two are not traditionally connected. I definitely see how the repetitive, almost mindless nature of the music could draw people towards each other.

  4. Like Max and Will, I think that this is an exciting bit of research and I’m very interested to learn about your results. I’m also wondering what sort of connection you would draw between EDM and music used in religion (you mention Buddhist monks, which is a good example, and many other religions use music for the same purpose). While EDM concertgoers may have no theological beliefs, I’m curious about what kind of parallels we might be able to draw between the effects and purpose of those musics.

  5. First off, you did an excellent job intertwining your independent research with that of your groups. I love the idea that these festivals are almost physical manifestations of the community and solidarity felt among EDM crowds. Massive outdoor venues where most of the economic activity that occurs does not conform within the normal standards for economic transaction, food that abides by no form of regulation, yet there is trust between vendors and anxious customers. I feel you have breached a very interesting topic and I am very excited to see your further research and conclusions.

  6. The various types of EDM sonic communities may be divergent from one another with regard to musical style, but I would agree that they share the striking similarity of fostering a strong sense of solidarity amongst, oftentimes, complete strangers in a live venue. Individuals become listeners, together forming a crowd: an entity with far more power than any division of its constituent components. I’m interested to see where you go with EDMs relevance to other instances involving unification via sound.

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