[Forbes] Every so often, the tectonic plates of mainstream musical taste shift. In the 1960s, there was the British Invasion, followed by disco in the 1970s and the rise of glam metal in the 1980s. The 1990s saw the advent of grunge and the resurgence of boy bands, followed by hip-hop’s hegemony in the 2000s. Now, the tables are turning again.
Electronic dance music, better known as EDM, has finally surged from its underground roots and into mainstream consciousness. One need only look at the recent activities of the genre’s most prominent practitioners: last year, Skrillex was one of the main attractions at Coachella; last month, Deadmau5 ended up on the cover of Rolling Stone; last week, Kaskade became the first electronic act to sell out the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I think mainly people were just ready to hear something new,” says Kaskade. “My parents listened to rock and roll; that’s their music. And then hip-hop came along. This is the next generation of music.”
Just as international recognition enriched the likes of The Beatles, The Bee Gees, Aerosmith, Nirvana and Jay-Z, EDM’s practitioners have been cleaning up of late, prompting FORBES to release its first-ever Electronic Cash Kings list. Over the past 12 months, the world’s ten highest-paid DJs pulled in $125 million—more than the payroll of the Los Angeles Lakers.