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.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ 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

  • SERIOUSLY DOE

    AMERICANS PLEASE KILL YOURSELVES FOR MAKIN THIS WEBSITE

    • 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.

        • Reesy Piecey Risa Harvey

          EDM is an abbreviation for electronic dance music…. which is electronic music…which you can dance to.

      • 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

          • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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

    • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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.

  • http://twitter.com/lyle_shannon 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…?

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ 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.

  • http://twitter.com/EaterOfCorpses 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

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ 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

      • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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
        Resuscitation.

        • http://gettumm.tumblr.com/ 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.

      • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

        Makes sense.

    • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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.?

    • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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: http://doandroidsdance.com/features/the-20-best-trap-remixes-of-non-edm-tracks/ —–Check out my blog thebigsteezy.com 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.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      LOL

    • InPsyDeep

      The america sluts help everything flourish.

      • Brenton

        gold

  • http://wildrosemarket.webs.com/ 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

    • http://www.facebook.com/d.j.shade.chylde 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?

  • http://godz-clan-dukezap1.webs.com/ 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

      • http://godz-clan-dukezap1.webs.com/ dukezap1

        Wut

  • k11yle

    where the fuck is deep house?

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  • Jerry

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

  • FUCK EDM

    ” 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.

    GO LISTEN TO TRANCE BEFORE 1998, NO BUILDING UP, BREAK DOWN MELODIES like Rank 1 – it was AMBIENT TRANCE from 1993-1997.

  • 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?

  • FUCK EDM

    I love how the mainstream USA now thinks they were into Electronic music since the late 80′s like the UK was. What a JOKE, and I’m from the USA. Detroit Techno found its way overseas and BLEW UP during the Acid House explosion in the UK, meanwhile in the USA it was RAP RAP RAP RAP, nobody gave a flying FUCK about Electronic Music in the American mainstream. NOBODY. I only found out about Electronic Music in 1994 through fucking College Music Journal (CMJ) and opened my mind up by taking a chance on various Techno compilations I could find. Nobody covered it until URB got more distribution in the mid 90′s and even then you couldn’t find URB at many places.

    This site cracks me up. It is a fucking MAINSTREAM “EDM” SITE. Yet the people running it think they were part of the US underground in the 1990′s, most of you were still in diapers. Yes Electronic Music was alive and well in the USA in the 1980′s and 1990′s, but it was in the fucking UNDERGROUND – you mainstream Brtiney Spears, Lady Gaga Pop Music EDM losers were NOT part of the underground. PERIOD.

    I will say this: If Electro House or this Brostep shit came out in the 1990′s the magazines & top DJ’s would have given so many 1 Star reviews the genre would have been DOA for being so cheesy. There used to be CRITICISM in Electronic Music for being CHEESY. Not anymore because the great magazines are gone replaced by shitty internet sites like this one that don’t’ have a fucking clue.

    so stop talking like you actually know what happened in the 1990′s. I lived it in my teenage years and in that time the music industry in the USA said FUCK YOU to Electronic Music until 1997 and then after a few years said FUCK YOU once again until “EDM” appeared on Spin Magazine. I hate you EDM Fuckheads, you think you were a part of OUR UNDERGROUND??? and you have the audacity to talk like “Electronic Music comes from the USA!!! So there!!!” like you actually KNOW what happened in the 1990s? You don’t shit, you simply READ about it on Wikipedia.

    I will give you the short form:

    yes USA created Techno and House, and then those forms dominated overseas and became a part of European culture (UNLIKE THE USA) then after all the genres were ESTABLISHED the USA mainstream bored of Emo, Alternative, and Pop Shit finally caught on to the music that was made in the FUCKING 90′s like it was some NEW music. “EDM” “OOOOOH!!! SO new So Fresh!!! SPIN Magazine says its good and Put SKRILLY on the front!!! He has 62,000,000 hits on YouTube it must be GOOOOOD!!!!” Yet it all is the RESULT of what happened in EUROPE some 20+ years ago.

    add Pop Stars who look like GQ models with Lady Gaga and Britney Spears and Rhianna getting in on it, and you get WATERED DOWN Electronic Music for the masses that every 12 year old will enjoy with lame sing song vocals, “drops” that nobody gives a shit about except morons on YouTube who go “SICK DROP BRO!!!! I Just came!!!” and my ultimate favorite NOBODY EVER SHITS ON THE MUSIC! In the 1990′s there were some crappy artists out there who made cheesy ass shit like Aqua and Vengaboys, but NOBODY on YouTube ever says anything like “this songs is cheesy” no its always “DUDE THIS IS THE BEST SONG I’VE EVER HEARD!!!!!!” over and over in every FUCKING video.

    FUCK EDM

  • greg

    Oh good God, who cares where it originated or who kept it alive, we should be living life that it’s out there and thriving. On a truly serious note, exactly how many sub-genres does House actually have?