An Idiot’s Guide to EDM Genres

confused scratch An Idiots Guide to EDM Genres

While the term "EDM" has been a buzz term for the last few years, electronic dance music has been here for decades. And no matter how you slice it, we can't see the term EDM and lump every style and artist into one pot. It does a disservice to the individuals making the music, and the people who have been documenting the music. We're at a crossroads, though; we are documenting the EDM scene, but want people to know that the world of electronic dance music is more than just the DJs on the Ultra main stage.

You can't really blame the outside media for any confusion with the term EDM, though - if no one is giving them a simple guide to differentiate dubstep from hardstyle, how can you get so cross when they mess a term up?  The onus is on us to provide them with some guidance. And while this guide isn't a complete beginning-to-end picture of each genre, we've provided snapshots of each of the more popular styles of EDM for those seeking guidance to explore. In this guide, you'll find some of the most well-known genres in EDM today, with a listing of notable subgenres, artists, and labels within each, as well as examples (both old and new) of each genre's sound.

Click to start the list
  • b.

    u forgot broken beat, drum & bass, jungle.

    • khal

      broken beat isn’t as huge of a genre, and we had a section on dnb.

  • Armani

    what about baltimore club music, developed from house music. sub genres: jersey club, philly club,

  • gcm1

    no jungle?..tsk, tsk.

    • gcm1

      even as a d-n-b sub-genre

      • bad booooy ina landan

        I feel you bro
        if anything dnb is a jungle sub-genre lol



    • Andrea Ball

      ahahhaha, someone has to teach them

    • stahp

      most of these genres came from America, get over yourself

      • smsonksen

        Nah man, the best of most of the sub-genres of EDM come from over in UK and Sweden. (opinion)

      • scum

        fucking idiot.most of electronic music come from EUROPE and no one here calls it EDM.fucking idiots it’s not EDM.IT’S ELECTRONIC MUSIC.

      • jpe

        the root of the music is breakbeat (USA 1970′s) house (chicago 1980′s) and techno (detroit 1980′s). That is derived from disco which is USA 1960′-70′s. disco is from funk (USA 50′s) soul (USA 50′s). Indeed it came out of America. I don’t care where the pizza was made – it’s always going to be italian food. and if you can dance to it, you can call it EDM. That said, what Euro did with electronica is great (i.e. trance and DnB)

      • Kornilov Oleg

        Electronic music occurred in the 60′s with the birth of the first electronic keyboard. One of the pioneers is Jean-Michel Jarre (France), the other one is Kraftwerk (Germany). Electronic music nowadays has roots in many countries like Jamaica, UK, Sweden, France, Brazil, United States, Holland, but genres like Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Garage, etc. are always appear first in the United Kingdom and perpaps France. What comes from America now is only a commercial success of definitely not the best taste of electronic music. EDM is primarily a United States term that refers to the electronic music that has conquered American mainstream.

        • khal

          “What comes from America now is only a commercial success of definitely not the best taste of electronic music.” SMH guessing you’ve never heard of footwork.

        • dfsa

          I’m pretty sure house music is from Chicago

          • D.J. Shade Chylde

            It is, I grew up there.

        • pluria101

          Why can’t we all just rage face together in 2014 instead of being elitist snobs? lol

    • Tanner Bottineau

      lol whatever happened to plur

    • D.J. Shade Chylde

      You can’t even be troubled to hit caps lock and spell out the word “Though”. Do the world a favor and fall on a knife you racist wanker.
      Seriously THOUGH.

  • cmn

    Guetta, Avichii & Swedish House Mafia isn’t real house music it’s shit pop. How dare you promote this shit!

    • GETTUM

      Just because it’s pop doesn’t mean it’s shit. D: If electro house hasn’t gotten big these past few years, I wouldn’t have even seen your narrow-minded post. ;p

      Go listen to your “real house” in your basement alone if you hate the mainstream so much.

  • Kyle Cannon

    If this is what constitutes as house music (excluding Daft Punk), then I guess I’ve been misleading myself about the genre the whole time. And I guess acid and disco aren’t hip enough to be included either…?

    • khal

      this list was designated for genres that are current. some producers have acid and disco influences in their work today but i’d hardly say they are genres that are thriving like they once were.

  • EaterOfCorpses ©

    I am missing Hardcore and Speedcore :( can you add them? These genres may be not as popular in america but in Australia and Europe they are (speedcore is a bit smaller but still more known then moombathon or grime) also happy hardcore relates to hardcore and not to hardstyle, happy hardcore was there before there was hardstyle,

    Regards Eater,

  • Be ytre

    Chicago house music died after 1990 – It was UK and Europe that kept techno and house music alive through the next 20 years – America was into rock rap an dr&b. America never had a techno dance scene until a few yaers ago. Talk about being out of touch – Jesus, you’re 20 years too late

    • khal

      define never having a techno dance scene. are you speaking on it being more widespread/mainstream? there has always been pockets of dance music scenes throughout the US. primarily in major cities but its been there. through the 90s.

    • GETTUM

      You mean EDM has been underground in the U.S. since 1990. But it is true that mainly Europe has kept the industry/genres alive the past two decades ;p

      • D.J. Shade Chylde

        Keeping it alive and being ground zero for the start of a genre are two different things. i agree with your statement, but this topic refers to the ORIGINATION not the

        • GETTUM

          True true

    • Z

      I guess you’ve never been near Detroit.

    • Jeremy B.

      Funny, that wasn’t my experience in Colorado during the 90s. It was alive and well but got stifled by the crackdown on raves in most states.

      • khal

        Makes sense.

    • D.J. Shade Chylde

      I was partying and raving here in the U.S. OVER 20 years ago. Have you ever even BEEN to the U.S.?

    • D.J. Shade Chylde

      The scene was VERY much alive in my hometown until the LATE 90′s. Had about Six years downtime, then re-surged. No one in the Chi listened to a damned thing labelled “House” from across the pond out in the clubs, I can PROMISE you that.

  • USH

    This genre breeds new energy into tracks that would be confined to the archives if not for their uplifting remixes. Examples: —–Check out my blog to stay updates with life changing content

  • astahesta

    This is painfully wrong on all levels of wrong.

  • Willie G.

    Indie Dance / Nu-Disco??

    • khal

      we plan on adding to this in the near future.

  • jb

    not bad, except for the exclusion of Camo & Krooked in the notable DnB artists. I’d like to see you try this for EBM…

    • khal

      Camo & Krooked are great, and are a part of the Hospital family. it’s not a slight, but look at that list. Camo & Krooked haven’t eclipsed any of those artists…yet.

  • dj.m

    Happy Hardcore has nothing to do with Hardstyle, their from two different genres

  • hi

    like omg lets make it a competion. shut the fuck up. no one gives two fucks about who kept it alive. especially when the term alive refers to barely breathing. guess whos helped it flourish? america sluts.

    • khal


    • InPsyDeep

      The america sluts help everything flourish.

      • Brenton


  • Kyasarin

    That Bluetech song is great. I just had to download it. Although I’m mostly a fan of Armin van Buuren, Alex Morph, Paul van Dyk, Above & Beyond, ATB and Paul Oakenfold, it’s nice to add variety to my playlists.

  • KYRO

    This post was made in 2013 and Tiesto is filed under a Trance Artist. smh

    • Someguy

      Tiesto has always been a trance artist. Also listed that way on wikipedia – trance is what made him famous. Most accomplished artists are a little genre-bending though.

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  • Kris

    Man I am glad all genres are in my books such narrowmindedness, it sad that everyone is just straight doggin on what everyone likes and doesnt like. All of it has a place in the EDM scene and I sure as hell dont care where your from or what you listen to all music is good for the heart and soul. Chew on that for a bit then keep hacking at each others throats about your differences!!! Buahahaha is all I have to say

    • D.J. Shade Chylde

      I refuse to pigeonhole myself as a DJ. I like and PLAY a lot of everything, and all of nothing.

  • ZRetikuli

    Everyone just shut the fuck up and turn up the music!!!!

  • I question my life now…

    Are people seriously getting upset about the NAME of this beautiful thing we call Electronic? Calm your tits children.

  • I question my life now…

    Oh, and STS9 is where it’s at.

  • Wayne

    Since when has angerfist made hardstyle?

  • dukezap1

    Who ever made this article doesn’t know that deadmau5 is the greatest House artist in history. Not David Guetta, or Zedd.

    Also deadmau5 should have been listed under Trance as well

    • jai

      ya think? thats sad for you

      • dukezap1


  • k11yle

    where the fuck is deep house?

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  • Jerry

    “Notable artists.. David Guetta, deadmau5, Avicii” – die, please just die.


    ” trance is known for repetitiously building up and breaking down huge melodies. That’s the long and short of it”

    SINCE 1999 ONLY you mean.


  • jai

    I live in Toronto and I don’t know where you all hail from but I agree with some posts; like how house started in Chicago. I feel bad for most of you though since you still don’t know what’s what and what’s good! Sorry for your luck. Wish you all the best.

  • Bob Army

    Happy hardcore is a sub-genre of hardstyle? Nope.

  • Dude

    Cant half tell another idiotic american wrote this.

  • Ignis

    Electro much?

  • Davey Dave

    How can you have Hardstyle and not Hardcore?