As time goes by, people have a tendency to reflect on change. With music, it’s common to hark back to the days of vinyl, $15 concert tickets, actual music videos on MTV, etc. Well, here’s one that new to me that I stumbled upon during my attendance at the 2014 Winter Music Conference that recently took place in South Beach.

There are countless stories how musicians got their initial inspiration…icons like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and Prince each got guitars at a very young age (the 2 latter each inspired by the former). But traditional instruments are no longer necessarily the earliest musical endeavor.

Currently some of the biggest names residing on the pop charts are DJs like Avicii, Calvin Harris, David Guetta and Afrojack. So nowadays, these EDM superstars are inspiring future artists who, instead of getting a guitar, are getting DJ equipment as their first “instrument.” Young, twenty-something attendees were remarking how they got their first DJ software or hardware and, instead of jamming in a garage, they were firing up their Macs and headphones in their bedroom. And rather than strumming their own version of “Stairway To Heaven”, they are remixing or adding beats to a Daft Punk track. Online classifieds are full of ads selling used equipment so one can cobble together a nice setup for a relatively modest sum. There are even DJ mixers for toddlers that I suppose will replace those little keyboards that everyone had growing up. There is now an expectation of EDM in playlists that feature Top 40…Mood Media clients and their customers are comfortable with dance and beat-driven music. Much like rock & roll yonder, EDM tracks have been edited down to three to four minute radio-friendly tracks where the original might have been six minutes plus.

The current explosion of popularity that has pushed EDM to the mainstream belies the fact that electronica has been around for a while with groundbreakers such as Moby, Paul Oakenfold, Armin van Buren and one of my personal faves, Paul van Dyk, reestablishing their skills, reputation and talent. I was lucky enough to chat with Paul and gain some insight on his DJ philosophies while he was on a WMC panel promoting one of the many causes he’s involved with. Being a DJ myself, I listened with great interest, much as an aspiring composer would have listened to W.A. Mozart. Some things never change…it’s terrific to be a professional in the music biz but it’s also awesome just to be a fan.

Paul van Dyk

Check out more about Paul van Dyk.

– Submitted by Eric Martinez, Music Design