EDM Fans vs. Other Music Fans [STUDY + ANALYSIS]

EdmbangersNow that North America has widely embraced electronic music, it’s become the scene to watch and capitalize on for
brands and marketers. Taking that into account, online ticketing platform Eventbrite conducted a study comparing
the behaviors of “EDM” fans versus fans of “other music” genres polling 1,019
U.S. adults. The study revealed – perhaps unsurprisingly – that electronic music fans are much more engaged socially both online and off. While observing
the data is insightful, I'd like to take the stats and compare them with some first-hand comparative analysis.

North America's on-and-off-again acceptance of electronic music is quite ironic, considering the roots of the genre are found deep in the underground scenes of New York, Chicago and Detroit in the 70s and 80s. With today's "EDM" explosion, America is basically being fed back the scene they created by Europe. If you're unfamiliar with how this came to be, I recommend watching this documentary on the impact electronic and house music had on clubbing in the U.K. and the rest of the world. Today, there's no denying the movement has arrived, and it's getting bigger every year.

Let's take a look at the fans supporting it.

Some context: Since late
2012, I’ve been overseeing the digital marketing and management efforts behind some
of the world’s most prolific electronic musicians/DJs with Fame House. I’ve toured the world with major techno DJs, and for the past several months, I've been living and working on the island of Ibiza, Spain – widely considered the mecca of electronic

The Data

78% of EDM fans are more likely to attend an event if their peers are attending, versus 43% of other music concert

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Here in Ibiza (and many other parts of the world), promo teams flood
the streets looking to rally people into the clubs each and every night. They tend to focus their efforts on large groups of people in the
streets and will rarely approach a single person. They’ll always (without
fail) approach a group of three or more and offer them discounted entry
to the night’s party.

Given this context, the
word “party” needs a closer look here. Rare is it that these events are ever described
as “concerts” or “shows”. They’re marketed and seen as massive parties… and they really are! The data then makes perfect sense – who wants to go
to a party alone? Of course you’re going to rally your friends.

Let’s not forget about the
ever-popular festival circuit. Electronic music festivals are much more an
experience as opposed to a music concert. Fans are
hit with high decibel ranges, bright and dynamic lights,
creative visuals, and intense movement on the dance floor. Who would want to
take in all that magic by themselves? Moreover, electronic music festivals like
Electric Daisy Carnival and Tomorrowland have become a right of passage for this generation; a
journey with friends that bonds and unites them.

of EDM fans believe the promoter is extremely or very important, versus 10% of “other
music” fans reporting it had the same level of importance.

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It all comes down to trust.

Oftentimes, the entity
putting on the party is all the reason people need to buy a ticket. No line-up
announcement is even necessary. If you’re having an ongoing weekly event (like
many do here in Ibiza), it really only comes down to which week a fan will choose to
make the journey to your night (that's when the line-ups matter). It’s because they trust the curation, the
reputation, the Facebook photos, the YouTube videos, etc. Whether it’s a live events company like ID&T or an internationally acclaimed DJ like Richie
doing the curation, the name has so much to do with what fans can

The promoters even have their own fans, and wisely,
they’re very active on social media. Trusted brands like Elrow in Spain and Insomniac in the U.S. have
their own legion of followers and offer compelling and engaging content to keep
themselves relevant year-round. Promoters will even request to co-host Facebook events
with performers to ensure they see maximum reach and engagement. Clearly, they get it.

In other genres, however, promoters and artists are
not typically pushed as hard as the provider of their fans’ experiences, which
is perhaps why those fans don’t see the value in understanding and following
the promoters.

of EDM fans started going to events before they began listening to
the music, and over 28% don't listen to the music but still like going to the

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It all comes back to the experience.

For that
36%, it likely only took one time to feel the energy and get hooked (and they
probably went because all their friends went). It’s very often that new Likes
and followers on social media come from these first time/casual experiencers.
While these people may not be die-hard fans as some of the others, it has a lot to do with why so many popular DJs have above average social media statistics.

For those 28% who don’t listen to the music but
still like going to the events, it comes back to that party aspect mentioned
earlier. They’ll go to have a good time and will likely care less who’s playing
that night – just like you would at any other party.

of EDM fans would pay to see their favorite artist perform an online streaming
concert, compared to 19% for “other music” event attendees.

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While there may not be a whole
lot to observe when witnessing a DJ perform (especially through a computer
screen), there exists another type of electronic music fan that obsesses over staying
up on the last productions from producers. They tend to be highly engaged in
hearing the latest and hottest tracks, identifying those tracks for their wider
community, and keeping up with what’s trending musically in clubs around the

Then there’s the classic
fear of missing out. For many live events (especially the large, less frequent,
and oftentimes distant music festivals), tons of hours go into hosting live
broadcasts for fans to tune in. While they may not necessarily be paying any money to
tune in, these fans set their timers and spread the word to ensure they and their friends don’t
miss a single live broadcast. They're also highly active with other fans in real time while tuning in, whether
that be through Twitter or a live chat feature within the broadcast. If they
can’t be there in person, at least they can engage with others who
also wish they could attend.

73% of EDM fans view friends
attending an EDM event on social media makes them want to attend more vs. 36% of “other music” fans.

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Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 4.07.18 PMOnline, this data rings true when
you observe fan reactions to tour date announcements. In no other genre do I
witness as many fans leave comments on social media simply tagging their
friends to ensure they’re aware of the show or sharing the flyers to their
friends. Facebook Event RSVPs are among the highest of any genre I’ve
witnessed, and within those event groups contain some of the most highly
engaged fans I’ve seen; posting SoundCloud links for track IDs, sharing photos,
inviting friends, sharing gossip, etc. Same goes for Twitter and Instagram;
@mentions of other Twitter handles flood the artist feeds of friends informing,
oftentimes imploring, their friends
to join them.

EDM fans share more on social media
before (67%), during (41%) and after (63%) an event as opposed to “other music”
fans (37%, 21%, 51% respectively).

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Electronic music fans, especially the newest batch of “EDM” fans in North America, tend to skew younger and
are thus much more active on social media. They’re constantly
engaging before the events – requesting set times, reposting flyers, posting mixes to
hype them and their friends, etc. During a live show, these fans are
constantly on their smartphones – posting to Instagram, getting photos of DJs
as they take to the decks, communicating on Twitter to the artists themselves,
attempting to ID tracks using apps like Shazam, etc.

Same goes for after the shows
– posting in the Facebook events photos from the night, eagerly awaiting the
photos to be posted so they can tag themselves, expressing how much they loved
a set, engaging within the mobile application, etc. While these sorts of behaviors are definitely examined in other music genres,
the volume of which it is seen in electronic music is on another level, and the
data shows it.

While the study isn't exactly groundbreaking in terms of gaining any brand new knowledge, it does confirm what those working in the electronic music space witness every single day. It also shows the correlation between the electronic music community and today's online tools, which have helped amplified and expand its growth. Electronic music is more a cultural movement todat than a music one, and today's youth generation has more power than any other before to ensure its survival and continued expansion. Unlike previous years where the scene mildly blew up and quickly returned to the underground, it looks like these fans – and their music – are here to stay. 

Eventbrite's full study is available here. 

Hisham Dahud is the Digital Strategy Director of Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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